On air: The key questions for Zimbabweans

As Simon’s written, we’re broadcasting from a Methodist Church in downtown Johannesburg where hundreds of people have been taking refuge since the xenophohic attacks in South Africa earlier this year. But is time for them to go home and fight the government they say they hate?  

We’ll be talking to you from one of the rooms where people, belongings, improvised beds and small gas cookers are crammed. Thew question of whether violent resistance is justified is one issue they went to discuss with you. Here’s the rest.

Is apologising the way to move forward after the violence attacks against South Africans against Zimbabweans?  Mark blogged about this this morning.  We want to widen this point out too.  Do you have personal experience of where an apology has helped put the past behind you?  South Africa did with its Truth and Reconcilation Commission. 

Should South Africans accept all Zimbabweans who feel they need to leave their country because of poverty or human rights abuses? Or must Zimbabweans follow the correct procedures if they want to cross the border? Is illegal entry acceptable?

Are Zimbabweans stealing South Africans’ jobs, or is it more the case that they’re just prepared to do jobs that locals don’t want to? Do South Africans have good reason to feel aggrieved at the numbers that have come across the border?

Is it time, as one caller on 702 suggested last night, that Zimbabweans showed a stomach for the fight? Do those in South Africa need to return home and risk their lives to stand up to Robert Mugabe? Do they want change in their country without being prepared to risk their lives for it? And should they be prepared to do that?

Is Thabo Mbeki the right man to mediate between the MDC and Zanu-PF? Is his approach to the crisis the correct one?

That’s probably enough to be starting with.


51 Responses to “On air: The key questions for Zimbabweans”

  1. 1 nelsoni
    July 15, 2008 at 11:47

    *Do those in South Africa need to return home and risk their lives to stand up to Robert Mugabe?

    Robert Mugabe and his private militia will definitely crush any uprising by the people with the international community watching by while playing word games on the issue of Zimbabwe.

    * Are Zimbabweans stealing South Africans’ jobs?

    No. If the South Africans were busy working, their jobs would not be “taken”. This shows that those south Africans complaining about jobs being taken are just a lazy Bunch. I doubt that all those actively involved in the xenophobic attacks are still very much jobless.

    * Is Thabo Mbeki the right man to mediate between the MDC and Zanu-PF? Is his approach to the crisis the correct one?.

    The Answer is obvious. The “quiet diplomacy” has being largely ineffective unless anyone can point out the whole world the positive results the “quiet diplomacy “has achieved.

  2. 2 Chipie
    July 15, 2008 at 11:57

    i think that Thabo Mbeki’s silent diplomacy hasnt helped anything but worsen the situation, by him denying that there is a crisis in Zimbabwe, it has become hard for South Africans to understand why there is a lot of Zimbabweans all over a sudden when there isnt any crisis? locals are having to fight for the little resources that they can find to be split into two, can you say you didnt see it coming?

  3. 3 taremwa constantine
    July 15, 2008 at 13:04

    i think zimbabweans and the world should bear with the silent diplomatic talks of mr mbeki because if they pressure mugabe publically they wont succeed because of mugabes pride of not giving in to reconciliation publically. so morgan should agree to talks and they let mugabe assume his top post more over it wont be for ever and again there wil be peace in zimbabwe. let the zimbabweans not fail to wait for this last years of mugabes rule because honestly although he has lost the way with time,he was a hero to all of us that is the world. and remember sometimes even the heros need to be saved.SO LET A COALITION GOVERNMENT BE FORMED SILETLY IF IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO BRING MUGABE TO THE TABLE because the world has seen that public pressure and intimidation of sunctions have miserabely failed to even make mugabe to think twice about those threats.
    taremwa constantine cossy Mbarara Uganda.

  4. 4 Mohammed Ali
    July 15, 2008 at 13:33

    *Should South Africans accept Zimbabweans?
    South Africa being a rainbow nation and symbol of fighting descrimination must be in the position to accept others be it Zimbabweans or other nationals. More than that, Zimbabwe was one country that actually struggled along with South Africa in the fight against aparthied. I see no reason for the xenophobic attacks against others.

    *Are Zimbabweans stealing South Africans job?
    The question in itself is absurd. I totally agree with Nelsoni on this. If the South Africans were busy working, nobdy would have taken jobs from them. They did not want to the jobs on offer and those offering the jobs want it to be done. In that instance they will have to give the jobs to those willing to do it. I think it is just mere laziness on the part of those South Africans complaining.

    *Is it time for Zimbabweans to show a stoamch for the fight?
    One can fight against dictators when the requisite and appropriate support is given. One must have the support of neighboring countries. Do the Zims have this sort of support to fight Mugabe? The answer is a resounding NO. South Africa which is the power house of the region has it president tacitly supporting the regime of Bob Mugabe. Other African leaders too are. However, I think the Zims should take the courage with whatever little resources and support they have to fight and boot Mugabe out. We did that here in Liberia and suceeded in booting Charles Taylor out.

    *Is Mbeki the right mediator?
    Absolute NO. this is a man who is actively supporting Bob Mugabe. He will do nothing in the right direction to have a balance mediation.

  5. 5 Robert Evans
    July 15, 2008 at 13:37

    What on earth is Thabo Mbeki been doing with the talks which he is holding with the two sides. I really hope that he is removed from his position. This is because he is being criticised by everyone. Personally I would nominate Nelson Mandela who I know is approaching 90 years old. He is the sort of person who can assist the two sides resolve their differences. There are lots of Zimbabweans in South Africa because it is next to Zimbabwe also South Africa is a democacy unlike the current ruler in Zimbabwe. I think it is important that the world assist both South Africa and Zimbabwe. The world should help South Africa because that country can not cope particulary well with this influx of Zimbabweans. The world should help Zimbabweans because the country is in financial and legally ruined because of the current leadership.

  6. 6 Dan
    July 15, 2008 at 13:49

    Asking one to return home to fight for freedom is a very difficult thing to do.
    During the American Revolutionary War it was not the overwhelming majority that wanted to break free from the oppression of King George but a dedicated few risked all that they had, many died.
    It takes true courage to risk ones life fighting a corrupt Government and it is understandable that many people are too fearful.

  7. July 15, 2008 at 14:27

    Of what use is it to go back home and put up a fight against Mugabe’s despotic machinery when no one will come to your succour when the blows start coming down on you? If the AU is ready to step in for the sake of the persecuted then I will advice them to go back. But sending them to return and face Mugabe’s wrath is like asking them to knowingly drink poison!

  8. 8 graceunderfire
    July 15, 2008 at 14:47

    Zimbabweans should keep themselves as safely as possible. Fleeing a brutal and irrational dictator shows good common sense. Especially the best and brightest and most courageous should so restraint. The MDC leadership should dedicate its internal and external resources to forensic accounting activities directed toward Mr. Mugabe and the Zanu-PF leadership. “Follow the money” usually works better than anything else. Even Mugabe’s supporters won’t forgive his proven larceny if they are the victims. Zimbabweans should forget about Mr. Thabo Mbeki and rely solely upon themselves. They needn’t give him yet another opportunity to prove that he is whole lot of “no help at all.”

  9. 9 Shirley
    July 15, 2008 at 14:54

    Nelson has almost perfectly mirrored my opinions. Until the world shows the kind of backbone needed to remove Mugabe and his goons from power, we need to deal with the people who are fleeing his strangulating policies and murderous rampages.

    And as long as we give the kind of power necessary to remove such dictators from office with the UN Security Council and in the hands of a few elite countries who care more about their oil interests in Africa (China) and the Middle East (USA) or who don’t want any criticism launched at their allies (Russia, USA), nothing will ever be accomplished except more military invasions, economic imperialism, and blind eyes cast away from genocide. Dissolve the Security Council, remove the power of the veto from the hands of the few, and give the power of the Security Council to the General Assembly. Perhaps then we will see real progress towards peace in the Middle East, a tangible solution in Zimbabwe, and true jusitce in Sudan.

  10. July 15, 2008 at 15:45

    The situation of Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa and other neighbouring countries is the result of the political situation in Zimbabwe where the economic situation is probably much worse than anywhere in the rest of Africa.

    South Africa itself still suffers from economic and social problems embodied in its poor shanty towns and the high level of crimes. It can’t alone bear the burden of another country’s problems, from which there are refugees in millions.

    Surely the impoverished refugees don’t seek to overstay their welcome in a country where hostility was manifest in atrocious violence leading to death, injuries and confiscation of belonging.

    The international community seems complacent about what is taking place in Zimbabwe, except for France, UK and the USA, which tried to impose economic sanctions on Zimbabwe, but which was vetoed at the Security Council by China and Russia.

    What can save Zimbabwe is that they all should forget about their political differences and start a new approach to the chronic situation which is affecting Zimbabweans in their countries and in the neighbouring countries where they’re taking refuge.

    Thabo Mbeki has failed to broker a deal between MDS and Zanu-PF. Mugabe has escaped Security Council sanctions, which must be a boost for him to continue his grip on power, but this is no boost for the parties to get Zimbabwe out of its current deadlock. MDC has popular support as its weapon. Robert Mugabe has the support of the army. These forces should come together for a peaceful and political agreement to save the country instead of continuing to flex the muscles that just keeps weakening the country to the level of total bankruptcy.

  11. July 15, 2008 at 16:11

    Apology and Forgiveness is the only weapon that the South Africans can use to treat their fellow african-the Zimbabweans!It’s always good to fogive and Forget

  12. July 15, 2008 at 17:05

    Concerning the problems of Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa, it goes without saying that a government can’t solve the problems of another. The political forces in Zimbabwe should be above self-interest and join their heads to find lasting solutions instead of using fists, literally or metaphorically.

    Continuous mistreatment of the Zimbabweans at home and in South Africa will just perpetuate their suffering that will need a long time to heal even after the outcome of a supposedly political settlement.

  13. 13 Katharina in Ghent
    July 15, 2008 at 17:10

    Abdelilah pretty much said it for me. My impression is that a lot of Zimbabweans have left their country by now, and while I have to condemn the violence that has happened against them (and other migrants), it didn’t surprise me, The same thing seems to always happen when there are suddenly large streams of migration.

    What the Western countries should do, since they don’t want to do anything against Mugabe, is to at least support those countries who bear the brunt of the refugees. There is no sense to me to send Zimbabweans back if they can’t support their life there. With 2000000% inflation or something like that and 80% unemployment it’s impossible to live there.

    Eventually Mugabe will be president over an empty country, then he can grow his potatoes himself.

  14. 14 mahamed geeljire
    July 15, 2008 at 17:10

    dear rose
    my name is geeljire in somaliland
    rose, why don,t visit somali rufugee in south africa
    some of them are killed,by south african gunman.
    I think the next programme will be somali refugee
    thank you rose

  15. 15 Luz Ma
    July 15, 2008 at 17:12

    Is apologising the way to move forward after the violence attacks against South Africans against Zimbabweans?

    It is a really difficult situation to solve, since there are political interests that prevent a feasible solution. I think in this case a simple apology would not work. At least, Mugabe should be removed from power.

    Should South Africans accept all Zimbabweans who feel they need to leave their country because of poverty or human rights abuses? Or must Zimbabweans follow the correct procedures if they want to cross the border? Is illegal entry acceptable?

    I do not advocate illegal immigration, however I understand those people who resort to it in order to survive and increase the survival chances of their children. We have to remember that refugees are actually human beings who fleeing extreme difficult circumstances. I think they would like to stay in their country, work there and “do not steal” jobs from others, but actually, they do not have other choice -unless they wanted to die.

    Do those in South Africa need to return home and risk their lives to stand up to Robert Mugabe? Do they want change in their country without being prepared to risk their lives for it? And should they be prepared to do that?

    I think they should be given support from the international community to return to their country and overtrow Mugabe from power. There is such inequality in Zimbabwe that it is not feasible to remove Mugabe from power and restore democracy if they do not have resources to do so.

  16. 16 Katharina in Ghent
    July 15, 2008 at 17:12

    Show the stomach to fight? Mugabe has the military behind him, the opposition has empty stomachs – and hands. It will be just an extremely bloody mess and nothing will change. The only hope would be that then at least NATO or the UN would actually do something about it.

  17. July 15, 2008 at 17:20

    Katharina, you are right. The international community is standing impotent in front of the “potent” defiance of Mugabe who feels protected just by being left alone, behaving in whatever way with impunity.

    It seems that what matters to Mugabe is the survival of his clan. As you implicitly said, the less Zimbabweans he has in his country, the better as his supporters can lay their hands totally on what they should share with all the Zimbabweans, should they have opted to stay in their country.

  18. 18 Barry in Melbourne
    July 15, 2008 at 17:39

    What Mugabe and his cronies are afraid of is retribution and justice. He will do absolutely anything to remain in power to avoid this. Power sharing is certainly not the answer, how can you negotiate with a terrorist? and that is all he is. The only way forward is a military coup de tat……

  19. 19 Will Rhodes
    July 15, 2008 at 17:41

    Are we forgetting that so many of the other African nations back Mugabe?

    It is fine for us to say that we loath him, what rid of a dictator such as he, but while he has support from the outside he will feel his position is perfectly fine. The AU accept him with open arms. What then those who want change in Zimbabwe – where do they go until a despot is removed, or simply dies?

    Do the displaced go to Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana or South Africa? It looks as though many are choosing SA because they looked as if they could have a better life there. As said on the 702 show last night, many South Africans believe that the problems there should be dealt with first then they can help others.

    Those same countries that surround Zimbabwe will not allow an armed struggle ensue from within there borders – so that leaves Zimbabweans with no where to fight unless they are in Zimbabwe, which we know will lead to genocide.

    The AU have to deal with this problem, and while you have external countries like China and Russia falling on the side of Mugabe there is little chance the UN can do more to help.

    The whole situation is sickening because there are so many displaced people who just want to go home to live in peace.

    I hate to say this – but was white rule in Zimbabwe thrown aside too quickly? Would it have been better for a slower process to take place? Some Zimbabweans feel that they had a better life under white rule – and that says more to me than all the empty rhetoric that comes out of the mouths of politicians.

  20. July 15, 2008 at 17:54

    @ Will,
    Was white rule in Zimbabwe thrown aside too quickly? Would it have been better for a slower process to take place?


    The answer is yes. Mugabe was in a hurry to see Zimbabwe all black as if evicting the whites from their farms was for him exorcising himself from a devil that had been haunting him all his life.

    Mugabe could have made a compromise with the white without evicting them from their farms. they could keep the farms and get a certain proportion of the benefits that can be beneficial to all parties.

    Evicting the white from their farms was like throwing an experienced board of a company and leaving the company to workers with no experience in management related to production and marketing.

    Mugabe’s political blindness was probably related to his obsession with the past under white rules that prevented him from seeing the long-term effect of his rush actions.

  21. 21 Vijay
    July 15, 2008 at 17:55

    Has god foresaken Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans in South Africa ?
    Does the ZANU PF run the methodist church in Zimbabwe now?
    Bishop Abel Muzorewa ,rev Ndabaningi Sitohole and Canaan Banana(defrocked) were all prominent figures in the liberation struggle are there any churchmen stepping forward in the new freedom struggle?

  22. 22 Luz Ma
    July 15, 2008 at 18:22


    You said:
    “I hate to say this – but was white rule in Zimbabwe thrown aside too quickly? Would it have been better for a slower process to take place?”

    You read my mind. It is a terrible thought, but it makes sense. Now everything is a mess. The solution of the current solution is crucial, but I think is necessary to take precautions in order to avoid the repetition history all over again.

  23. 23 Kweli, USA
    July 15, 2008 at 18:26

    Thabo Mbeki’s complicity with what’s going on in Zimbabwe has sent a message to South Africans that xenophobic attacks against Zimbabweans is Okay. The South Africans attacking foreigners are those whom the Mbeki administration has failed to provide jobs and services for. Mbeki’s failed both Zimbabweans and South Africans on both sides of the border.

  24. July 15, 2008 at 18:37

    Hi Will Rhodes
    Akbar here in Tehran
    You’ve hit the nail on the head. The entire issue of Rhodesia under Ian Smith rests on the fact that he jumped the gun and declared independence prematurely.
    Here again, the issue of white farms could have been solved long ago with reasonable indemnity being paid to the owners, but wasn’t.
    The extent of the Zimbabwe disaster is alarming, considering Robert Mugabe is ensconced in power, UN sanctions were vetoed by China and Russia at the Security Council and big money is behind Mugabe.
    Please tell me who is who, against who and who would gain in the case of a coup!

  25. 25 bjay
    July 15, 2008 at 18:41

    Should Muslim accept Jews, Serb the Montenegro,
    Belgian the French speaking.
    The Spanish and the Bask? etc.
    Subjugation is the innate consequences.
    YE! If there is a will, that is another story not pertinent here.
    If you got a ship you have to work at it.

    bjay connotation with accent.

  26. 26 steve
    July 15, 2008 at 18:46

    Wow, the employment issue/lower wages is the same exact argument that is made in the US about illegal immigrants working. Rather than admit they are taking jobs from South Africans/Americans the say that the employers are solely to blame for lower wages, and want all the benefits of being legal, despite being illegally there and illegally working there. They say they take jobs Americans don’t want. In reality, they take jobs at wages Americans don’t want. I presume it’s the same in South Africa.

    Also, what incentive does Mexico or Zimbabwe have to fix their domestic problems if it’s cheaper for them to use other countries as a welfare system? Mexico wont fix its problems because it knows the US will provide free healthcare to Mexicans, and money will be sent back to Mexico.

  27. 27 piwai
    July 15, 2008 at 18:48

    An apology from the Zimbabwean-Mugabe regime, Southern Governement or people is not CHANGE. Its just talk. Theres got to be a 180 degree turn to alleviate what the ordinary Zimbabwean person is going through, whether within Zimbabwe or in the diaspora.

    African and the world needs to stop talking and do SOMETHING. Millions are suffering. Africans should no longer wait on their political leaders to do anything for them. We need to move and shake things up by being actively involved in awareness, food aid, disease prevention, monetary aid. Join the many Non-profit seeking to make a difference like AVAAZ.org, Mukuru.com, Amnesty International etc. We all need to start doing something.

  28. July 15, 2008 at 18:49

    It can be easy for the Zimbabweans to forgive the perpetrators of their ordeals once they’re out of them. But it can be hard to forget them as a very large section of the Zimbabweans have been undergoing ordeals they have never seen even under white rules, supposedly a colonial power.

  29. 29 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 15, 2008 at 18:58

    Correct me if I am mistaken, but I have the idea that the U.S. government does not offer easily free healthcare to any of its citizens. I have heard in the news how people are turned down from hospitals for not having money or insurance to pay for it.

    And, although you are right about the passive role of the Mexican GOVERNMENT (not Mexicans, since as a matter of fact, the majority don´t want their relatives and friends going away to work in the U.S.), if you make a survey in the U.S., I bet many people, especially the employers, do not want illegal immigrants being masively deported.

    The source of the problem is those who employ illegal immigrants. If there were not jobs in the U.S. from illegal immigrants, Mexicans without green card would not go there to work. That is for sure, because, as a matter of fact, it cost them money to move to the border and pay smugglers to cross the border, along with the risks that they take.

  30. 30 steve
    July 15, 2008 at 19:30

    @ Luz

    The only people who would be turned down would be the lower middle class, if at all. You could not have a penny to your name, and not speak a word of english, and hospitals will give you free healthcare. Taxpayers wind up paying for it, and lots of hospitals really cannot afford to do it, so many places have been closing down.

    Saying the source of the problem is the employers is like saying that homeowners are to blame for their houses getting broken into becuase they have nice jewlery, TVs, and silverware. The source is the crappy mexican economy and the government not being willing to do anything about it, and it’s cheaper to let the US deal with it. THAT’S the source of the problem. If they had jobs in mexico they wouldn’t be looking for employers willing to illegally employ them in the US. Let’s at least place the blame where it belongs.

  31. 31 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 15, 2008 at 20:20

    I have never denied the responsibility that the Mexican government has in this problem. The well-being of illegal immigrants is not a priority of those who are in office here. Believe me, they only used them in political speaches when they want to blame something on the U.S. You couldn´t believe how illegal immigrants are treated by the authorities here when they come back from the US.

    But please, don´t tell me that the US employers that hire illegal immigrants are not doing a swell business with them. They are also part of the problem and a good amount of blame should put upon their shoulders.

  32. 32 steve
    July 15, 2008 at 20:23

    @ Luz Ma

    Yes, the employers in the US are partially responsible and deserve some of the blame. However in your prior post you said they deserve ALL of the blame, when they do not. The mexican government deserves most of the blame, then the rest goes to the illegal immigrants, then the people that employ them, then the US government for not enforcing its own laws.

  33. 33 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 15, 2008 at 20:43

    I think the employers deserve more blame than the illegal immigrants. About the Mexican government being the first to blame, I am with you on that.

  34. 34 steve
    July 15, 2008 at 20:51

    @ Luz

    nah, the employers are an accessory to the criminal act of the illegal immigrant crossing the border illegally. The employer is guilty like someone who knows they are illegal and offers them a place to sleep, like how you would be an accessory after the fact for helping out a fleeing felon of any other type of felony (ie your brother robs a bank, you know of this, and let him sleep at your place).. The illegal immigrant committed two crimes, illegal entry, and seeking illegal employment, whereas the employer only commits one crime, employing an illegal immigrant (I simplified this by removing tax issues).

  35. 35 Jack Hughes
    July 15, 2008 at 22:39


    What is stopping Mexico from becoming an economic powerhouse ?
    With such a strong economy that it gets flooded with “illegal-anglos” heading south across the Rio Grande to flee the poverty and lack of free healthcare in the US ?

    A kind of central-american Singapore ?

  36. 36 Ogola Benard
    July 16, 2008 at 06:00

    As a matter of fact, i have never seen anything wrong with making an apology or to say sorry as long as one means it.
    In the courts of law,the accused reflect remorse and pray for forgiveness for their wrong doings.
    The purpose for saying sorry is to understand your mistake,ask for forgiveness with a view to reform!
    Everybody is human and there should no shame for a sorry. It does’nt disgrace anybody irrespective of the hierrachy!

  37. 37 Patou
    July 16, 2008 at 06:32

    @ Will and Abdelilah Boukili
    Was white rule in Zimbabwe thrown aside too quickly? Would it have been better for a slower process to take place?

    Here we go again with that colonialist mentality which seeks to prove that Africans cannot take care of themselves. Zimbabwe is a Christian country where citizens (the true citizens who happen to be blacks and not the invaders) believe that man does noe live on bread alone. This is why Mugabe and the “inexperienced” farmers fought to overthrow the racist and facist white minority.

    Your argument is that because there is a socio-political crisis in Zimbabwe supposedly caused by Mugabe (in fact caused by the unjust embargo), black Zimbabweans would have been better off under the apartheid regime. Yes that is exactly what you are saying.

    Where was America after the war of independence? Where was China after its own struggel against the Japanese. Don’t tell me that there were nearly as organized and prosperous after 28 years. Yet, nobody would suggest that those wars did not have their raison d’etre.

    Not all cultures function the same way. You would not expect Africans to be westerners who justify their sole existence by the accumulation of wealth at all cost. Africans do not function that way and certainly not the Zimbabweans who believe that modesty with dignity is better than wealth and a “full stomach” under the abomination of Apartheid.

    The citizens of Cameroon and Ivory Coast do not depend on white farmers for agricultural self-sufficiency and global leadership in cocoa, coffee, banana, etc..

    Please revise your argument if you do not want to sound racist.

    “Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finaly and permanently discredited and abandoned” there is “war” (Words of Haile Selassie popularized by Bob Marley who sang at the Zimbabwean Independence).

    This has nothing to do with food. 5% of whites shall not and must not own 80% of agrarian land in Zimbabwe. I thought this was settled long time ago (1980), unless you do not agree. In which case I would say there are many more Mugabes in Africa.

  38. 38 Pangolin- California
    July 16, 2008 at 06:42

    @ Employers of immigrants- The employers of immigrants are always looking for the great deal they get with illegals. They don’t have to pay prevailing wages. They don’t have to worry about workplace safety, child labor, sexual harrasement or overtime laws. They don’t have to pay the employees at regular intervals and they can make deductions from the immigrants pay packet.

    What’s not to like?

    There will always be some Ann Randian type that insists that if the poor don’t want to work for a bowl of rice, a rotten cabbage leaf and a swift kick they should somehow look for work elsewhere. Or perhaps that they are “lazy.” Rich people LOVE the word lazy when it applys to the poor. Never mind the mystery of how they have the free time to live on the internet while they work so, so hard.

    They always forget that when you push the poor too hard the torches and pitchforks come out and nobody can make any money when wearing a Soweto necklace.

    The powers that be of South Africa are doing nothing about Zimbabwe for the same reason that the powers of the US do nothing about Mexican corruption. They get a great deal out of all the extra labor as they can lower wages on the entire workforce.

  39. 39 Pangolin- California
    July 16, 2008 at 07:14

    I see that people are again arguing that the white farmers should have been allowed to stay on the land and manage the natives, plantation style. This is idiocy.

    The Mugabe regime didn’t just kick the white farmers off the land but also evicted the black farm workers who knew how to farm that piece of land with them. Then the ‘war veterans’ were given the land and apparently most of them don’t know which end of the hoe to apply to the soil.

    The true issue isn’t white vs. black because under white rule there were black foremen and work leaders who knew how to work that land to profit. The issue is that a political faction seized wealth that they could not properly put to use.

    Now the fields fallow, the people starve and everybody stands pointing to the long-gone white farmer as the problem. Well too bad because the midden has hit the windmill and the lot of them better learn some miracle farming mastery real quickly or there will be bones in the sun in another African nation.

    It keeps the vultures happy at least. Wildlife conservation what?

  40. 40 Bob in Queensland
    July 16, 2008 at 07:45

    Pangolin makes a reasonable point.

    It should be remembered that the original Lancaster House Agreement included a workable scheme for land reform that was to be bankrolled largely by the British government.

    Between the LHA in 1980 and 1992 when the scheme collapsed, the British government (or should I say taxpayer) invested more than half a billion pounds in aid to Zimbawe. Of this, £47 million was specifically earmarked for land reform and another £100 million was budgetary support that could have gone to land reform.

    However, this all collapsed when it became clear that, instead of going to black farmers, much of the land was going to Mugabe’s cronies. Few families were resettled. Instead, hundreds of abandoned and expropriated white farms ended up in the hands of cabinet ministers, senior government officials and wealthy indigenous businessmen. Only 70,000 individuals had been resettled by 1990 and most of these were “veterans” from Zanu-PF rather than experienced farmers.

    Clearly the British government could not be seen to keep supporting corruption on this scale and ceased making the agreed payments. Unfortunately, this gave Mugabe an excuse to blame Britain for not complying with the agreement–and Mugabe’s version is believed to this day by a sizeable number of Zimbabweans.

  41. 41 Pangolin- California
    July 16, 2008 at 09:52

    Hey, Africa!! Last time I checked the rest of the world is sending you about 40% of the calories you eat. That’s all well and good if we do that 19 years out of 20 but that 20th year is going to be painful.

    The fact that you are still arguing over which faction gets to squat uselessly on which plot of unproductive land and you aren’t all desperately, fanatically, interested in how methods of labor-intensive agriculture can produce crops out of sun-baked desert shows a certain disconnect with reality.

    The US grain crop is going to take a serious beating this year and the grain ships may not sail on time.


  42. 42 Felix Akam(Nigeria)
    July 16, 2008 at 12:13

    To think that Mugabe will strike a deal like Kibaki is for one to lose sight of history. I cannot subscribe to this protest ideology that is fast taking its root in Africa. My view has always been that democracy is un-African. If one says no, I need to know where in Africa is democracy practised.

    Felix Boigney had earlier told us that African Chiefs do not retire. That is their mentality.For my Zimbabwean brothers, I think it is time to seek traditional justice against Mugabe. For sure our God is not asleep.

    Remember that a time dialogue and comprise depict cowardice which I know you are not. Unless you want to continue tolerating Mugabe as you have been sleeping through a revolution for the past 28 years. The choice is yours. The gods are wise

  43. 43 Pangolin- California
    July 16, 2008 at 13:25

    @ Felix- I suppose that means that you would prefer marching past your starving children to wage war instead of nurturing the land to peace and health.

    Europe arrived at democracy because it’s cheaper than constant warfare and power struggles of warlordism or feudalism. People who are fighting are not building.

  44. July 16, 2008 at 19:29

    @Pangolin- California


    your idea of a country called Africa is ridiculous. Africa cannot be lumped into a starving place that gets 40% of its calories from the West. I do not know where you get your stats from. I believe they are un-substantiated and therefore insulting. I also believe there is that an agenda of misinformation behind that type of stat. This is certainly wrong in many, many parts of Africa. Please do not go say that to the Cameroonians, Nigerians, Ivorians and others who do not need cereals in the morning as they eat organically grown products. This perception that Africa is place of hunger and starvation does not reflect the truth. It is not certainly true for the millions of Caucasians who have decided to call it home.

    Second, you state:

    “Europe arrived at democracy because it’s cheaper than constant warfare and power struggles of warlordism or feudalism. People who are fighting are not building.”

    With all due respect, this is not true. Moreover, a simple course in world history would prove the contrary. Why did the French have a revolution (by the way they celebrated the bastille day on the 14th of July), why did the Americans fight a war of independence? this is just to name a few countries, as they are many more I could name.

    These countries fought to get to the pouint of democracy. Nothing is wasted in a war of independence. Nothing is wasted when it comes to fighting for the great ideal of freedom and equality.

    My friend, in economics there is a term i would like to share with you. ” there is no free lunch”. You have to spend something to get to a certain ideal. The French say, you have to break the eggs (however beautiful they are) to get an omelette. forget about the blood, when there is a higher ideal.

    When you get to that ideal, you can start building.

  45. 45 Pangolin- California
    July 17, 2008 at 11:27

    @ Africa or Zimbabwe?- For starters it looks like the idea of a country called Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Nigeria or Sudan seems a bit ridiculous because nobody seems to be able to govern the entirety of any of these “nations.” It’s just as easy to address ‘Africa’ as a generalization.

    As such ‘Africa’ doesn’t produce enough of it’s calories to feed itself according to the UN FAO figures for the countries that reported. If all of those massive African cities could count on food produced within their own nation they might not have to worry about the price of grains on international markets.

    A simple course in history checked against archeology tends to prove that history can be largely bunk written by the victors of the moment. There is no such comparable ‘simple coarse in economics’ as a roomful of economists could not agree upon which exit is most likely to face the rising sun much less any other issue.

    From the US the reporting on Africa frequently looks like crowds of half-starved people fighting over a sick cow and a dry stream bed rather than improving the watersheds and nurturing the pastures. It rather looks like the AK-47 is used to purchase lunch more often than not and blast the fact that it just killed the farmer who grew that food.

    If I’m wrong block off your ports and turn the grain ships back. If you do you won’t last long.

  46. 46 Emile Barre
    July 17, 2008 at 22:11

    As long as the Broederbond still run RSA, I see no reason why Zimbabwean exiles be made the scapegoats for anything.

  47. July 17, 2008 at 23:43

    @Pangolin- California

    You state

    “From the US the reporting on Africa frequently looks like crowds of half-starved people fighting over a sick cow and a dry stream bed rather than improving the watersheds and nurturing the pastures. It rather looks like the AK-47 is used to purchase lunch more often than not and blast the fact that it just killed the farmer who grew that food.

    If I’m wrong block off your ports and turn the grain ships back. If you do you won’t last long.”

    I think you got it twisted. The damages would be far substantial the other way around. Try blocking the Western ports that receive goods from Afrca and the impact would be devastating. Africa can survive without West, believe it my friend. But Western economies would crumble if Africa is out the market. If the US. is receiving 25% of its oil from Nigeria alone, then imagine the long lines in California. Starbucks and Pete’s coffee would be over with. De Beers would have nothing to put on your little girl’s finger when she meets her “playa”.

    Before Europe, Africa had farmers. As I indicated in one of the WHYS blogs, just get rid of the World bank and the IMF.

  48. 48 Dr Hope Okeiyi
    July 18, 2008 at 16:29

    I think the right thing for Zimbabweans abroad will do is to see how best they will make efforts to meet with UN outside their country because the man Mugabe is brutal.Meeting with UN is to fight him with sanctionsw that will force him out of power.Dr Hope From Aba’Nigeria

  49. 49 walter
    July 18, 2008 at 17:21

    only God can recue the zimbabwe and indeed Africa people from bad leadership. i will only advice my zimbabwe brothers to continue praying for God intervention. walter ikpa in portharcourt, Nigeria

  50. 50 grum worku
    July 20, 2008 at 04:15

    how do we bleme the zembabwean or other nationals, they came to work like us in u.s. The south africans are just arrogant. How do they beaten and kill their next door brothers and sisters. What kind mentality is that. Now they have a country and feel ownership. Just don’t forget what happened before. and see what is happening in zembabwe now. No life and country are safe in Africa. You s.africans may get what you deserve one day. You need to listen when babies crying and seniers are dieing on the street of johannesburg, because you would get the same one day. Goes around Comes around.

  51. 51 Amule Joseph
    July 23, 2008 at 15:00

    Dear BBC,
    My name is Amule from Juba southern Sudan,However,I would like to Comment just on issue of the Anglican gags bishop they should not be allowed as bishops and the female ordination it will real demage and divid us within the commenuion.

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