via Govt should be more serious on Chingwizi May 12, 2014 NewsDay Editorial
It is unheard of that Zanu PF ministers can be booed by the public and make a hasty retreat tails between their legs, as happened at Chingwizi transit camp on Saturday.
Obviously, the reprisals will come very soon. It is almost obvious that spies have already been dispatched to sniff out the ringleaders who will be made to rue their birthdays.
Zanu PF’s vindictiveness is legendary. First the refugees will be labelled opposition supporters to justify the crackdown on them.
Second, the same labelling will be used to justify their forced resettlement on unsuitable pieces of land.
But do the refugees have a point?
Their spokesman, Mike Mudyanembwa, (may God save him) said the refugees had suffered for far too long, having been in the camp since February.
He accused the government of changing goal posts on the issue of compensation. He boldly called the protest a matter of life and death.
He further accused the government of shifting its stance regarding the land they should be settled on. He also said the people needed food.
But should the situation have deteriorated to this extent?
President Robert Mugabe, who has not deemed it necessary to visit the long-suffering refugees, declared the situation a national emergence as far back as February.
Now, so many months later, the situation is still the same. Government still hasn’t raised the money to compensate these victims of the Tokwe-Mukorsi flood; this means government isn’t really treating it as an emergency.
Granted, the country is short of money, but we haven’t seen any serious fundraising efforts so that this disaster can be resolved once and for all and the people begin to rebuild their lives.
Zanu PF has alienated itself from the donor community through its hostile policies towards non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Recently, efforts have been made by the same government that banned the operations of NGOs in Masvingo province to blackmail them into helping by passing the buck and blaming them through the public Press for its own acts of omission and commission.
Acres of space were used to vilify the NGOs, accusing them of only concentrating on the so-called regime-change agenda. It was hoped this way the NGos would take over government’s burden of guilt and fundraise for the feeding, sheltering and resettlement of the refuges.
This can’t happen if government does not come out clearly on its policy on NGOs.
The Chingwizi debacle cannot be wished away. Government really has to sit down and figure out what to do. If it means a global appeal has to be made, so be it. We have seen how the world has responded to the Nigerian call for help in tracking down Boko Haram terrorists who kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls recently. Many governments have moved in to help.
We have many philanthropists across the globe that would be only too willing to help the refugees at Chingwizi.
It only takes a bit of seriousness on the part of government to get a positive response from the international community.
And, government should not victimise the legitimate leaders of the Chingwizi community.