Zimbabwe’s Tailspin: The Lessons for Africa
By Sechaba Nkosi
Nineteen years ago, I wrote a very sad story about the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) preparing to invade Lesotho. I had been stuck in the country for months covering the bitter fallout between the elected-Government of then Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili on the one hand — and the Opposition parties and the army on the other.
The Lesotho precedent
Within 72 hours of my story being published, SANDF tanks rolled into Maseru. The word intervention quickly replaced invasion.
Needless to say, what followed, whatever the whole operation was called, resulted in death and destruction, that Lesotho is still yet to recover from.
The role of the army
I was reminded of Lesotho this Tuesday when I saw the Zimbabwe Defence Force (ZDF) tanks rolling on the streets of Harare in an apparent show of force. It was meant to rid the Government of 'criminals' and 'counter revolutionaries' who had made themselves comfortable on the senile 93-year old President Robert Mugabe.
This is the same Army that assisted Mugabe to steal election after election since 2000. It chuckled and looked the other way as Zimbabwe's feared Police thugs bashed the skulls of Opposition activists in full view of international cameras.
Ask former Prime Minister and Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai if you do not believe me.
It is also the same Army that publicly declared that it would never salute anyone but a Zanu-PF President.
Small wonder then that most people are sceptical about their sudden change of heart!
If the chilling warning from Army Chief, General Constantino Chiwenga was anything to go by, then the language and the careful choice of words point to a frightening future that the country may never recover from.
Already, some businesses have started sending their employees home, if not flying them out of the country. It is a situation that will plunge an already battered economy into doldrums.
Mammoth task to rebuild
As in Lesotho before, whoever takes over after the madness, will have more than a mammoth task to rebuild what was once a thriving African country.
Lesotho and Zimbabwe hold a particular special place in my heart. My maternal parents trace their roots in the beautiful and scenic lands of southern Lesotho.
Zimbabwe on the other hand contributed immensely in my development, both as a person and as a journalist.
It was in the bars of the northern suburb of Avondale that ideological differences between South Africa's then liberation movements took second place to important discussions about fears and hopes, as well as the parents we had left behind to fight for freedom.
Zimbabwe as an example
Most importantly, Zimbabwe was a country that all of us looked up to as how post-liberation Africa could look like.
Besides the massive construction site that Mugabe turned the country into, investors were falling over, themselves, to seek opportunities in mining and infrastructure development.
Sleepy towns such as Rusape and Mutare were suddenly waking up to their economic potential, while the mighty Victoria Falls looked as if recording the massive development taking place below its majestic waters.
Today, this beautiful country that boasted the best tourist attractions is on the verge of complete disaster.
The once good education system that was the wonder of the world and the progressive health services have all but collapsed.
The country that easily exported its produce now relies on imports from its neighbours for basic essentials. The agriculture and mining industries have become fiefdoms of a few connected individuals.
The country's erstwhile currency, the Zim dollar, is today worth less than the monopoly board game money. What was once a thriving democracy, backed by a booming economy, has literally been catapulted into bankruptcy, by the very people, who, once, offered hope to Africa. It is a story that is frighteningly familiar in the continent.
Africa's lost potential
So, as we watch the developments in Zimbabwe from the comforts of our homes, we must ponder to ask why the continent continues to lose its massive potential in world trade.
We should ask ourselves how it happened that the continental economic powerhouses of Nigeria and South Africa are suddenly faced with stagnant growth and inevitable downgrades from international ratings agencies.
If we do that, we will then be able to make our leaders account for their actions in the demise of what was once a promising dream.
That way, we will be able to send a clear message to the rest of the world that parasites like the Gupta family have no place in Africa's renewal. And only then will Africa fulfil her potential.
Editor's note: Adapted from an article that appeared in South Africa's Business Report.
Solution must be acceptable to Tamils Separate State is not a reasonable request - Former Army Commander, General Gerry De Silva RWP, VSV, USP
- UN damns Lanka 14,000 minors in childcare centres Calls for urgent reforms
- Russia restricts Lanka tea over beetle scare Top-level delegation off to Moscow
- Call to criminalize marital rape Justice Ministry seeks Cabinet approval
- Jumbo killings Armed protection unit to be set up Fines, jail terms to be increased
- Crossovers loom prior to polls
- SC issues notice on Elections Chief
- Jilted SLFP shuns JO forever
- CEB TU threatens strike Gives 18th as ultimatum
- Gnanasara Thera’s request for foreign travel denied
- Chinese envoy says OBOR will take Sino-Lanka ties to new level
- Police Chief in pre-poll warning Errant officers will be dealt with strictly
- Court extends Stay Order on Gota case
- Sriyani as State Minister of PCs and LG JO crossover pledged support for MS
- Rains to prevail Landslide warning to Galle, Kalutara to be reviewed
- BJP lauds ‘Ram Setu’ findings Hits out at critics
- Two held for impersonation at exam centre
- Female Genital Mutilation Advice sought from medical experts
- Hambantota Port to China India raises security concerns
- Indian Air Force Chief at passing out parade
- Statement from the Embassy of the State of Palestine
- LG Governance first to collapse in N&E
- Asgiriya Secy criticizes Govt
- Namal’s Hello Corp case on 13 December
- Attanayake’s foreign travel request Court to consider on 4 Dec
- Drugs & alcohol abuse in NE Religious reps to address issue
- Interesting battle at Havelock Park
- Thurstan win inaugural golf tourney
- History making Pulisic US men’s footballer of the year
- Knicks down Nets despite early exit for Porzingis
- 34th Mercantile Individual Tournament 2017 McLarens shuttlers Overall Champions
- Retired Hewitt takes tilt at Aussie Open doubles
- Lamborghini World Final 2017 Malagamuwa finishes third
- Committee clears Thilaka as SL coach
- Basnayake uncontested president at SLCF
- Premier League Club Cricket Primosh scores second ton
- Vinod and Taniya win Junior golf titles
- Taveesh wins two Gold medals
- Austin Waugh, in Australia's U-19
- CH come back to win
- Smith foils England again
- Emphatic win for CR
- No Malinga in T20 squad
- ‘Singer Trophy’ Under-19 Cricket Paceman Bandara steers Kingwood
- Federer voted BBC overseas sports personality of the year
- SLC looking to re-launch showpiece T20 league
- Astron wins again at SLIM NASCO 2017
- NDB brings Santa to the doorstep
- Com Bank opens branch No. 259 in Yatiyantota
- Amãna Takaful relocates Matale Branch
- Lotus Tyres rewards sales agents
- DFCC Bank sponsors 2017 Inter-School Golf Tournament
- Huawei announces Christmas promotion
- Elephant House recognized by Interbrand
- Singer (Sri Lanka) partners with Pan Asia Bank
- Disney deal suggests the Tax bill may mean little for the economy
- Commonwealth Bank admits failures in money laundering case
- Japanese business confidence hits 11-year high
- Eurozone economy to grow at faster rate, says Central Bank
- SEC to mandate dual roles for CEOs & Chairmen
- Alumex to commence EU & Aus exports
- Fiscal Policy Act remains toothless: Governor
- Samantha Rajapaksa gives up all AMW posts
- 'Publish excuses for corporate governance non-compliance'
- Jetwing Symphony IPO oversubscribed
- Shares recover from an 8-month low
- Christmas cheer is in the air!
- So, this is Christmas!
- A Time of Gifts Winding up
- Landmine deaths soar in 2016 With record number of child victims monitors
- Unravelling Nietzsche’s ‘death of God’ mystery
- Canada’s pivot to China hits a snag
- Brexit: The UK’s four options
- When the heart calls out, on a starry night
- On eve of climate summit Macron reminds Trump of ‘responsibility to history’
- FGM/FGC Victims speak out
- Wigneswaran sowing seeds of communalism
- SLFP supports devolution of power – Lasantha Alagiyawanna
- If Bond scammers are not prosecuted…President will lose his credibility –Bandula Gunawardena
- All information security issues are not cyber crimes
- We want a change in Muslim representation– Hasen Ali
- Blessed are the peacemakers
- Disinformation campaigns and public mistrust
- Alleged human rights violations Lord Naseby defends Sri Lanka
- Neecha Dosha of planets and how it is cancelled Neechabhanga Rajayoga
- Vastu defects and bathrooms
- Are you endowed with Pancha Maha PurushaYoga?
- God Aiyanayake: Guardian Deity of Jungle and Village
- Good thoughts eliminate bad planetary influence
- The Disaster Artist: The (un)making of a movie
- Our children and our cinema
- INTERPRETING ASIAN CINEMA: CHALLENGES AHEAD
- How Sanskrit journalism is slowly hogging headlines
- ice manufacturing in South Asia
- CMSC’s season finale concert
- Two documentaries on Sri Lanka in Film South Asia 2017
- Politics of nostalgia
- Kite Surfing Lanka Kalpitiya An experience of a lifetime
- Ella and mini Adam’s Peak
- A cave of history -Ravana Cave
- Silvia Senanayake Dazzles at Mrs. Asia International
- Let’s Taco Colombo
- THE WRITER’S KITCHENNETTE MULLED WINE
- Hunger gnaws at Rohingya Children in camps
- Defeating IS Russia has ‘accomplished’ task
- Saudi Princess Ameera Aidan fights sex exploitation
- Hacking into the gate
- Review: A Bad Moms Christmas Relatable holiday humour
- A must watch superhero film!