Dirty Game

Mugabe and his boys: Why Zimbabwean refugees are in UK

Robert Gabriel Mugabe, president of the Republic of Zimbabwe, sits in the Plenary Hall of the United Nations (UN) building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the 12th African Union (AU) Summit.


The Zimbabwean crisis might have not drawn as much attention from the mainstream media as other similar cases of clashes between civilians and government, but in London there are clear signs that the problem continues. The first time I saw demonstrators outside the Zimbabwe House in Agar Street, was a few weeks ago, only to realise that it has become a common phenomenon, as every weekend protesters are demonstrating against Mugabe’s government. More than that, Mugabe’s dictatorship as recently denounced by Kofi Anan has forced generations of Zimbabweans to leave their country for better conditions, where violence and human rights violations hopefully are not part of life’s daily routine.

Probably this explains why Zimbabwe finds itself near the top of a list of refugeeproducing countries. The example of Zimbabwe gives us ample food for thought with regards to the meaning of Refugee Week in June. Asylum Seekers are testament to the existence of injustice and impunity around the globe. As long as these problems persist, then more uprooted generations will follow and there will always be something to do about it.

Mr Fatso, a Zimbabwean refugee, explains why the demonstrations still continue.

Every weekend demonstrators gather outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in London, rain or shine. They are there to express their discontent with the ruthless and malicious government that has ravaged the former basket of Africa, turning it into a begging orphan.

When the freedom deprived Zimbabweans shout ‘MUGABE MUST GO, MUGABE MUST GO, they mean it. Mugabe must vacate his position one way or another.

There are elements even within the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) which want to see change at the helm. However, they just follow the rules religiously, considering the experience of Edgar Tekere, Ndabaning Sithole, Duri, Mike Mataure, former Shabani Mine owner- Mutumwa Mawere, James Makamba, familiar names to the Zimbabwean community. There is a circle of greed for power and wealth, people who are taking advantage of the current political situation to enrich themselves at the expense of the masses. They will have to go or face the wrath of law when it comes in the post-mugabe era.

Kofi Anan recently denounced Mugabe as a Dictator, as if he wasn’t aware of that all along. He could and should have acted in a different way when he was still at the helm of the UN. Mugabe should have gone a long time ago. Manicaland Zanu-PF Mike Mataure said, ‘The legs are tired, new pairs of horses are needed to pull the cart’. Since then he has never served in the government again. As things were better at the time, people didn’t take him seriously. Mugabe went from being an aspiring African Father to being called the ZANU PF mobster. He turned governmentcontrolled, yet traditionally non-political institutions into political instruments: the police, army, even some religious groups. The Border Gezi militia, which terrorized, raped, killed and burnt homes, schools and properties of anyone opposing the regime, was formed to strengthen the grip of power. Unfortunately, it was mostly uneducated and unemployed youths who were sent to beat up the opposition across the country, turning schools into torture bases. They were paid with intoxicating substances, so that most didn’t even realise why and what they were doing. Time after time, Mugabe used unconventional tricks to stay in power, aided by those around him. He won back the support of war veterans by printing non-gold backed notes and dishing them randomly, with almost his then full cabinet benefiting – some getting 300% disability benefit. The printing of money brought a steep rise in short-term demand for goods against supply, which triggered the fall of the Zimbabwean Dollar and sparked hyperinflation. As if this was not enough, they sanctioned land grabbing, which kept away even more investors. Zanu PF wants more of these policies, because it will give them more freedom to do deals under the table, such as the forceful acquisition of personal wealth from state coffers. And they will blame everything on the West.

Kofi Anan should be calling Mugabe to the Hague for the atrocities committed against his own people since he came to power. However, this time it will not be in Matebeleland only, but country-wide, with the potential to engulf the whole of Southern Africa. Zimbabwe played a big role in both conflicts before, with the Zimbabwean ministers plundering DRC Diamond in 1998. Mugabe should be stopped to avert the eminent genocide. Many people have died and disappeared under Mugabe’s government. The world is aware of the torture of opposition activists, destruction of the health service which facilitated conditions for spreading diseases, deliberately ignoring the high infant mortality rate. It’s difficult to provide actual figures due to undocumented migration trends but the numbers could be in the millions, more than even the displacement seen in Darfur or Rwanda. Mugabe must go, Mugabe must go. His henchmen should be answerable one way or another.

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