Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Zimbabwe's election

I am eagerly watching the Zimbabwean elections, hoping for a change in government there. The situation is truly tragic. Since Zimbabwe borders on South African, my husband's homeland, we have a special interest in the country. If Zimbabwe could improve, this could reduce the refugee problem in South Africa. If the land grab in Zimbabwe can be recognised as mismanaged and unwise, it may reduce the likelihood of similar events occurring someday in South Africa. If proper democratic procedures can be observed in Zimbabwe, it will give us greater hope that South Africa can continue to have an orderly and non-dictatorial government.

You can read the comments of one Zimbabwean on the country at BBC World News. I found her response to questions interesting, especially this one . . .

Q: What is wrong with our African leaders - especially the so-called liberators?

Jeffery Sebunya, Kampala, Uganda

This is a difficult one. I guess we the public feel we owe them for our freedom, and we tend to worship them instead of viewing them as mere political leaders who are answerable to us. We watch and stay silent as they amend constitutions to give themselves more and more power until the country becomes a fiefdom. So it's not entirely the leaders' fault, we also contribute by staying silent when we should speak out.

The writer also gave honour to God - how wonderful! Will you join us in praying for Africa?


  1. Hi Sherrin

    It is good to see that people all over the world take an interest in what is happening in Zimbabwe. I agree that what has happened is tragic and I also eagerly await the election results - hoping that maybe this time Morgan Tsvangirai will win. It would be a great day for Zimbabwe and Southern Africa if Mugabe's opposition win the presidency.
    I am a South African and would love to see Zimbabwe pick itself up again. I am tired of hearing negative South Africans say that SA is heading in the same direction as Zim. There was another interesting article on the BBC news website where a Zimbabwean comments that it isn't only the government's fault, but it is also Zimbabweans' because they stood by silently as the legislation was changed to allow the president more and more power, until it was too late and the only way to change leadership would be a free and fair election. Let's hope this is it!
    Yes, South Africa does have a refugee problem, but Zimbabwe is not the only source of refugees. We have a large number from Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Nigeria, DRC and Somalia too. I think that the problem isn't as simple as returning them to the country they come from. Many flee war torn regions (I have had many chats with very interesting people from the DRC about their presence in SA - many are highly qualified individuals and are forced to work as car guards). Others come to SA because as a developing country we are 'wealthier' and may have more opportunities than where they have come from - a case of the grass being greener. Sadly, it isn't always the case and some are worse off living as refugees here than where they came from, as they struggle to earn a living and prefer to stay under the radar than seek help through official channels. So yes, there is a refugee problem, but I think there is a worldwide refugee problem.

    I must say, though, that I don't agree with your comment on land grabs. Yes, it has absolutely been mismanaged in Zimbabwe, but the South African government has learnt from the way Zim has handled it and have taken a different approach. Land claims take a while to settle as they must go through proper channels and there must be a "willing seller" and a "willing buyer". So it has been much better managed by our government and hopefully they continue to do so. I know there has been frustration at how long the process takes, but I think it is better to take time and do it properly than to rush it and make a huge mess of it.

    Anyway, that's my opinion anyway. I hope your squash plant recovered.

    Cape Town

  2. Hello LH,

    Great to hear from you! I always like to chat about the African situation, and especially South Africa, as it fascinates me!

    Someday soon I want to post the list of reasons why I hope that Dave and I will live in South Africa for at least a few years.

    You are absolutely right about the refugee problem. I am familiar with the aspects you mention, as my husband only moved out here a few years ago (to do his PhD) and he was previously quite involved with refugees. One of his friends recently helped some Congolese refugees organise their wedding :). It is so sad that many educated people are forced to work as "car guards" . . . a job description that is entirely unfamiliar to Australians! I had no idea about it until I visited SA with Dave last year.

    You are also right that SA land claims are currently being handled in a reasonable manner. That is praiseworthy. However, there are more radical elements within SA (and the ANC) that could push for changes. That is why I say that I hope the Zimbabwean outcome will reduce the likelyhood of that ever happening.

    Sad to say, my squash plants are not doing well :(. With the wet weather, they are now going rotten! It is all a chance to learn about how to grow things.

    God bless,

    love Sherrin