Regional stability fears rise as Zimbabwean ‘exodus’ reported

via Regional stability fears rise as Zimbabwean ‘exodus’ reported | SW Radio Africa By Alex Bell

A reported exodus of Zimbabweans out of the country, in the wake of the disputed July 31st elections, is raising fears for stability in the region.

There are increasing reports of an influx of Zimbabweans entering South Africa and Botswana, amid increased tensions and fears that have followed the polls last month.

Bishop Paul Verryn from the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg, which assists more than 2,000 Zim refugees, has said that there is a definite increase in people seeking help from the Church. He has been quoted as saying that people are running away from threats and violence back home.

Gabriel Shumba, who heads the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum in South Africa, said Friday that they have also witnessed an increase in the numbers of Zimbabweans crossing the border. He told SW Radio Africa that the Diaspora Election Observer Mission, which the Exiles Forum was part of, witnessed the influx in the days after the polls.

“They (the observers) noticed that the border was congested and that was not limited to the days after the elections. Even up to today there are thousands of people trying to cross,” Shumba said.

He explained the main issue driving people into neighboring countries is the general uncertainty surrounding the election outcome.

“There is uncertainty that there might be backlashes, social upheaval, and other things associated with the elections. Secondly, people fear the rumours that SA will impose a visa restriction on Zimbabweans,” Shumba said.

He added: “The last reason why people are crossing into South Africa and Botswana in their thousands is things on the ground are already showing signs of deteriorating. Prices are increasing, basics like cooking oil are beginning to disappear, and electricity supply has worsened.”

He said that the influx is a serious problem for South Africa and other SADC countries like Botswana and Namibia, where thousands of Zimbabweans have also fled to.

“Any insecurity in the region caused by controversial elections is always not a good thing for the region,” Shumba continued.

He called on the SADC leaders who will be meeting for an annual Summit in Malawi this weekend to address the Zimbabwe issue, because of the impact it has for the region.

“They should unequivocally condemn what has happened in Zimbabwe, which is a clear electoral theft,” Shumba said.



  • comment-avatar

    I hope when Xenophobia raises its ugly head again in South Africa these SADC leaders will reflect on what they have allowed and done, though I rather suspect they will turn a blind eye to it as per usual.

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      Demba Temba 10 years ago

      How about saying, “The people are fleeing because Mugabe has WMD. That will call NATO to attention and the journalists Jan Raath and Starkey will provide you with evidence including pictures of yellow-cake. Blair may even come back and say Mugabe is ready to launch within 5 minutes. What a prospect. Rhodesia will be reborn instantly and you will not need Tsvangirayi.

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        Cliff Shungu 10 years ago

        I would prefer Rhodesia where water was flowing like honey and no power cuts and during that time many people were happy. There is lots to talk about the good Rhodesia than our Zimbabwe even our President was able to get education because of whites. Tell me today if there is any black who takes someone’s kid to school. During that time you could tell a Boarding school to educate you while you stay behind during holidays working for the school as part of school fees. I can write a book about how good Rhodesia was or about how bed our Zim is. Its only people they tell you what you want to hear because if they say the truth you will kill them.

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          jongwe power 10 years ago

          I doubt people would want to return to a time where

          a) blacks couldn’t travel around their own country without a permit.
          b) eking out a living trying to grow maize (on land clearly suited for more nutritious crops like sorghums, millets and nyimo) in the wastelands where the whites dumped them after carving out generous portions of fertile land.
          c) kissing some snobbish white person’s butt like they do in South Africa.
          d) blacks could not speak their minds or else….actually we STILL can’t speak our minds or else…..never mind.

          But hey, people used to throw away food back then, and the economy was state-of-the-art despite going through REAL sanctions in the form of a Cuba-style blockade (not this nonsense of restricting our leaders’ shopping habits). Maybe those fond memories outweigh being treated as less than human.

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            Kevin Watson 10 years ago

            Blacks still cannot travel around their country with out a permit, except now its called an Identity Card. Its clear that the only people being stupid were those who conyinued to grow maize when they could have grown millet sorghum or nyimo whose fault was that. What was wrong and still remains wrong is that individual black people do not own the land they live on they are and were grace and favour tenants of a “Chief”. They cannot use the land to borrow money and improve it and employ more modern farming methods they remain condemned to live as medieval serfs in their own country. I remember many blacks speaking their minds including Josiah Chinamano, Joshua Nkomo, Canaan Banana Edson Sithole and others, some were persecuted for their statements but none died in car accidents.

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            Rudadiso 10 years ago

            But Mugabe’s treatment of fellow blacks is worse than that of Smith. Where in this country are people allowed to speak their minds?

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    Demba Temba 10 years ago

    Mrs Bronnert, who came up with the fantastic story that 10,000 people had been assisted to vote in one precinct is at it again. This time she is claiming that since the MDC-T threw in the towel 2,000,000 Zimbabweans have left the country to take up refuge at Disneyland. When asked about this and when told thjat Disneyland could not hold that many people a spokesman for the Embassy said that it is possible that some of the people ended up in Las Vegas looking for the freedom that Mugabe does not want to give them.

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    passto 10 years ago

    This is a clear talk that Mugabe has nothing good his so called voters expect to come from him bt disasters

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    MikeH 10 years ago

    LET THE REGIONAL IN-STABILITY BEGIN !!! SADC and the AU had their chance. Now let them all suffer the consequences of not taking action to rid Zimbabwe of it’s greatest liability… mugabe and his zanupf.

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    thabiso moyo 10 years ago

    let Zuma and his party face the brunt of the effects of their shortsightness. Crime will increase in SA

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    Morris 10 years ago

    No surprises there.

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    jongwe power 10 years ago

    Our neighbours didn’t have a problem with watching our economy sink like a stone, and they have no problem with the way we hold elections, so therefore they should have no problems whatsoever with Zimbos pouring across the border to work, sell bootleg DVDs, prostitute, compete with Nigerians in the art of scamming, and buy up packaged foods to vend along the streets of our city/town centres.

    Buy they DO have a problem. Maybe they hoped we would just starve to death so they can fight amongst themselves like vultures over who will start carving out our country.

    Ubuntu my foot.

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    Guvnor 10 years ago

    The false “landslide victory” is indeed a hollow victory.

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    masvukupete 10 years ago

    Interesting times ahead really interesting.