OPPOSITION parties have slammed President Robert Mugabe’s “hypocrisy” in welcoming refugees from other war-ravaged spots in Africa and beyond while hounding millions of Zimbabweans into exile.
Source: Mugabe slammed over refugee hypocrisy – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 22, 2016
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Mugabe’s government celebrated this week after United States envoy Harry Thomas Junior described Zimbabwe as a “safe haven for thousands of refugees from the world’s hotspots”.
Since the turn of the century, 92-year-old Mugabe’s administration has forced millions into exile through a cocktail of a poisoned political environment, social and economic decay that has stalked the country to no end.
MDC-T secretary-general Obert Gutu said it was ironic that millions of Zimbabweans had braved treacherous journeys into neighbouring countries and beyond just to escape Mugabe’s rule yet the former guerilla leader now received praise for accepting thousands of foreigners.
“It is, of course, a very big irony. You will realise that no less than four million Zimbabweans have left the country in the past 20 years or so. The majority of these people have crossed the border into South Africa, Botswana and Namibia mainly as economic refugees, while more are in far-flung countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
“The fact of the matter is that although there are some Zimbabweans who have sought political asylum in foreign lands, at the centre of all this is the maladministration, incompetence and unprecedented corruption that have become the hallmark of the Zanu PF regime over the past 36 years,” Gutu said.
“The United States is acutely aware of the fact that Robert Mugabe runs a tyrannical and corrupt administration. They have condemned him for this and they will continue to condemn him for the human rights abuses that are committed by the Zanu PF regime. But the ball game will change completely should the Zanu PF regime begin to either directly or indirectly support and/or sponsor terrorism which is a threat to American interests,” he said.
The Joice Mujuru-led Zimbabwe People First spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire was even more scathing.
“The fact that 9 000 refugees fleeing from armed conflict that Mugabe acknowledges have domiciled in Zimbabwe does not at all turn Zimbabwe into a haven. What is 9 000 compared to the three million who are economic refugees in other countries?” Mawarire said.
“Those that come to Zimbabwe from armed conflicts really have no choice and when locusts jump from the frying pan into a raging fire it does not translate into anything better.”
People’s Democratic Party secretary-general Gorden Moyo said Mugabe and his inner circle had missed the irony in the US envoy’s statement.
“Mugabe obviously missed the sarcasm brought by the US ambassador’s statement and is blinded by self-delusion. The self-congratulation for providing sanctuary to refugees from other countries without noticing the irony of millions of citizens, victims of Mugabe’s impunity, is apparent.
“The irony of all this is Zimbabweans do not see the safety and stability that is being talked about and can still make anyone feel at home even including their oppressor,” Moyo said.
The Welshman Ncube-led MDC said: “Millions of Zimbabweans are living like slaves in other countries and are too scared to return home to face an uncertain future under the Zanu PF regime. Just recently, three Zimbabweans died in a disused mine while hundreds more were trapped in South Africa while desperately trying to eke a living in foreign lands. This is glaring testimony to the fact President Mugabe has completely failed the people.”