Govt fails to tickle Zim migrants

via Govt fails to tickle Zim migrants | The Zimbabwean 18 June 2014 by Tawanda Majoni

Millions of Zimbabweans living abroad are questioning the rationale of returning to a country still in crisis and without a clear policy to engage them.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said recently that government was in the process of establishing strategies to ensure the return of the diasporans who would contribute to the economy through their skills and knowledge.

“These guys (Zimbabwean migrants) now constitute a critical strategic population with experience… and resources. The most important experience they have is the knowledge advantage and it’s rooted in the education they got here,” Moyo said.

But efforts to lure back the diasporans are bearing no fruit, as hundreds continue to migrate every month, especially to neighbouring countries, to escape rising unemployment, worsening poverty and an uncertain future.

Gabriel Shumba, a lawyer and head of the South Africa-based Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF), described government’s overture as premature.

“Those calls (for diasporans’ return) are unfortunately ill-timed because the government has not yet addressed the fundamentals that caused us to leave the country and continue to do so in big numbers,” Shumba told The Zimbabwean.

He accused government of continued persecution of human rights defenders, a trend he said scared away Zimbabweans living abroad.

A troubled economy, mirrored by a broke government, rising unemployment, struggling industries and a prevalent poverty, is keeping the migrants away.

“Even more tragic is the state of the economy and the unavailability of jobs. How does the government intend to remunerate the Diaspora if it can’t pay the shrinking civil service inside the country?” queried Shumba.

“Investment is also threatened by self-serving but ignorant rhetoric. In such a cauldron of confusion and lack of consistency, it is hard to imagine the diaspora, which is used to 24/7 electricity, clean water, good schools etc, being enticed to go back,” added Shumba.

There is need to craft political and economic policies that inspire skilled Zimbabweans to return, he said and, “if they ask us, we can tell them how it can be done”.

Chofamba Sithole, a journalist and international relations experts who is currently involved in advocacy for engagement between diasporans and the government from his base in the UK, said nothing concrete had been done to help facilitate the return of Zimbabweans in the diaspora.

“So far there have only been public statements by politicians, but they are welcome statements because until now, the government had never addressed the diaspora question,” he said.

He accused the private sector of paying lip service to skills and financial resources that diasporans can offer, saying it was yet to realise the importance of Zimbabwean migrants as a market for its products and services. But he noted that in recent months, “a few leading companies have begun to make overtures towards the diaspora, and that is encouraging.”

Sithole urged government to ensure a secure environment for diaspora returnees by promoting rule of law and providing basic services, utilities and infrastructure, adding that there must be economic stability.

The Zanu (PF) government has over the years viewed diasporans with suspicion and consistently denied them the right to vote.


  • comment-avatar
    zanupf fear me 8 years ago

    Most diasporans now are naturalized citizens of USA UK EU RSA new Zealand Australia Canada Zambia Botswana unlikely to ever return even if MDC can get its chaotic act together. Let alone the 250 000 dispossessed white Africans. But gullible naive foreign investors may throw a few breadcrumbs our way as a punt

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    publicprotector 8 years ago

    Why does anyone want these people back in Zimbabwe.
    They run the country into the ground overseas with their propaganda affecting trade and investment, called terrorism if were done to any first world country.
    We hjave to rebuild the country with their anti Zimbabwe propaganda – they are not Zimbabweans and should be exiled for life.

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    Chaka 8 years ago

    Moyo (Jonathan) should rather ask for advice from the Diaspora on how to save the country from collapse in the hands of a clueless gvt. He says they have skills. I agree with Shumba here

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    Fat hope of anyone with a brain to go back with the current situation. You have got to be joking unless your brain is infested with HIV when anything can look like a gravy train!

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    “These guys (Zimbabwean migrants) now constitute a critical strategic population with experience… and resources.”
    He means “we’ve an eye on your money. Give it to us so we can loot”. Not in a million years would I give you murdering thieves a cent of the money I’ve worked so hard for.Noma kanjani angibuyeli komgodoyi!

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    kutongwa nonjazi 8 years ago

    Not even those who support Zanu will return

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    Tsuro 8 years ago

    After the 31st July 2013 Great Election Robbery, many simply gave up on Zimbabwe.

    After a decade of chasing two “rabbits”, we opted to just pursue the one which was more predictable hence we have become citizens of our host countries.

    I notice at the airport arrivals the queue for visitors is full of anaMuseyamwa and longer than that of returning Zimbabwe residents.

    Even vana vemashefu eZANU including known CIOs they are now Canadians, British,etc. Its only public stunts when they say to hell with the West.

    Surely why would I subject my grandson and children to a Zanu-Mugabe torment, a torment which my Grandfather suffered and my father is suffering now, a professional teacher whose pension has been wiped off.

    Hatichadzoke to Mugabe’s Zimbabwe

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    gandanga 8 years ago

    Hatidzoke kusvika Mugabe abva pachigaro. Mnangagwa akaitwa President hatidzoke zvachose.

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    JOHNSON 8 years ago

    “These guys (Zimbabwean migrants) now constitute a critical strategic population with experience… and resources. The most important experience they have is the knowledge advantage and it’s rooted in the education they got here,”

    Good point Johnho….but have you ever stopped to think who in his right mind can come and say “here I am …go on persecute me and let activists take my property because i support NDP?” There in no Law in Zimbabwe even the so called constitution is a bait designed. ‘Strategic population…to whom?” Do you care for us or our money. You are dreaming. We have become so educated that everyone wants us …thanks to funding from the nations that gave us refuge and we will be soon able to choose countries of our own dreams. We really love that country but as long as “sanctions” remain that country will remain in a mess. What sanctions? It’s not like we are yearning to come back there. We come on holidays and assess and what we see churns our stomachs (e.g sewerage water) and touches our nerves (e.g absence of the rule of law). It’s really funny…the guy being accused of being Jukwa is also a diasporan….pity. Is that the welcome home. In most countries if you stay for 5 or more years you become a permanent resident…..So much for strategic resources! Yes they have got experience bad and good and they got it there by right….and there are still many who are educated in Zimbabwe…enough to run what is left of it after elites take the prime items. Continue day dreaming…..but you Jona you know very well about the power of participative democracy which fires up economic action. Tell these guys to go the policy route or else nooone will come back in there!!!

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    JOHNSON 8 years ago

    let diasporans vote first and get results circa 2019. Dont just think of taking…you must also learn to give. no wonder why we are owing everyone. Curse the taking spirit…in Jesus’ name. From the top everyone is busy taking as long as you make yourself available they will take from you…What kinda spirit is that..TAKING. Hah! guys even in stone age economics the policy taking did not exist….They talk of ‘exchange’. Zimbabwe is a bona fide capitalist state so they cannot afford to pretend communism. If there is Communism then it must be a new brand called ‘elitism’. In fact we are wasting time talking…..Its probable because we are stressed!

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    I sometimes fail to understand how Zimbabwe Politicians think. Which diasporians are they speaking about? Black diasporians? White diasporians? Brown and Asian African diasporians? I mean if you anything other than black you will look at the Evans Denneker situation and say, wait a minute how can I go back to my home and invest when I am only allowed 49% in any enterprize I might want to Venture in? Maybe neighbouring Botswana will suit me better. The Black diasporian will think is it worth giving up my Passport to invest at home where there is no guarantee what will happen if I bank my profits. Without warning I might find myself sitting with tons and tons of toilet pater in the bank. Fix the Country first then you can talk.

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    zanupf fear me 8 years ago

    Somebody remind amai jukwa alias public persecutor that mugarbage spends most of his idle ife luxuriating I diaspora with Singapore honorary diplomatic passport