By Nelson Sibanda:
Millions of Zimbabweans fled the country beginning end of the 1990s, when the country’s economy assumed a down turn and lives of MDC supporters were endangered by Zanu (PF) and partisan security service members.
Following announcement of election results by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission recently, Zanu (PF) spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, told The Zimbabwean in a telephone interview that, there was no longer any reason for Zimbabweans to continue living outside the country.
He said results of the election had silenced the MDC and brought to an end all political bickering. “Peace and tranquility has returned to the country following the Zanu (PF) landslide victory. There is no more troublesome GNU arrangements and Zimbabweans in the Diaspora should return home and help develop the country,” said Gumbo.
Gumbo said the Zimbabwe economy had space for the returnees and will facilitate their participation in the country’s economic activity.
Experience and exposure gained by Diasporas was described as invaluable in Zimbabwe’s bid to regain its position as a regional economic power house.
Some Diasporas who had returned to the country to cast their vote vowed never to return to Zimbabwe with Zanu (PF) clinging on to power.
They said Zanu (PF) caused untold suffering to the people resulting in some of them taking flight.
Political analyst, Rejoice Ngwenya, said people fled Zimbabwe starting 1999 when violation of human rights by Zanu (PF) was at its peak.
Ngwenya said the same perpetrators of the violence were announced as the election winners and it would be difficult for Zanu (PF) to fool Diasporas into returning home.
He described the ‘come home message’ by Zanu (PF) as a wild clarion call by perpetrators of violence who were desperately seeking political relevance.
“Zanu (PF) government should put its economic policies in order and activate industry before urging Diasporas to return home,” said Ngwenya.
He said Diasporas cannot be asked to return home, but have to be attracted back by a conducive economic, social and political environment.
Ngwenya described the recent calls by President Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF) for cancelling of Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority bills as a recipe for investor flight.
Expropriation of profits from companies such as Zimplats and parceling them to non-shareholders, under the guise of indigenisation was also cited as one of the reasons why investors will not come to Zimbabwe any time soon.
Economic analyst, Eric Bloch, said there was no need for Zanu (PF) to urge Diasporas to return home, since they will willingly do so as the economy shows signs of recovery.
Block told The Zimbabwean that any unplanned return of Diasporas would worsen the already desperate economic crisis, as the returnees would join the over 85 percent jobless people.
“Only a few Diasporas with essential skills lacking in the economy would find something beneficial to do in the meantime. Our situation does not look like capable of creating employment soon,” said Bloch.
He said unless there is a major foreign investment into Zimbabwe, the economy will not create any jobs. “No foreign investment will come into Zimbabwe if there are no attractive investment policies.”
South Africa based chairperson for Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, Gabriel Shumba, could not be reached for comment.
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