“However, Mr Mugabe could easily get more than US$200 million if he changed his mind on granting the estimated 3-4 million Zimbabweans abroad the right to vote and dual citizenship. At the stroke of the pen of doing so money and investments will pour into the country and one does not need to be one of those several self-appointed prophets to know that. It's just that simple,” wrote Dr Clifford Chitupa Mashiri. See Bulawayo opinion, How Zimbabwe can solve its current debilitating cash shortages.
Dr Mashiri, I wish things were indeed “that simple”; the truth is that there are not that simple.
How many Zimbabweans who are in the country and have been since independence and yet have yet to cast a free, fair and democratic vote? They have either been intimidated, harassed, beaten, raped and many have long since lost their very lives as the regime forced them to vote for President Mugabe and Zanu PF. Even when the individual has risked life and limp to vote for the candidate and party of their choice; the regime has always had other ways of denying them the vote by tampering with the voters roll and/or neutralizing the vote by bussing in Zanu PF supporters to cast multiple votes.
So Dr Mashiri what makes you so sure that President Mugabe will not devise devious ways of denying and/or rigging the diaspora vote just as he has done with the local vote?
I think you are exaggerating the finance prowess of the people in the diaspora; I do not believe “money and investments will pour into the country”, putting aside the issue of those in the diaspora trusting Mugabe not to rig the vote. Zimbabweans in the diaspora are already sending billions of dollars back home; the diaspora dollar is now a very significant part of the country’s GPA, making Zimbabwe the Philippines of Africa.
There are reports that Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, accompanied by a high powered delegation, is visiting the UK with a proposal to entice people in the diaspora to send even more money back home. This is just a waste of time because most people in the diaspora are giving as much assistance as they can already.
Indeed, Zimbabweans in the diaspora want free and fair elections and good and competent government in Zimbabwe a.s.a.p. because they want to see an end to the economic misery 36 years of Zanu PF mismanagement and corruption have brought. They know their diaspora dollar has help alleviate the suffering but nonetheless the situation has grown worse and worse because the misrule has too got worse and worse. The people in the diaspora want to see meaningful political change in the country because they know this is the only way of ending the economic meltdown in Zimbabwe.
As for the people in the diaspora investing in Zimbabwe (again assuming there are many Zimbabweans with millions of dollars to invest); they do not have to worry about the obnoxious indigenisation law but they too will have to face the other challenges of bureaucratic red-tape, corrupt officials whose palms must be greased, collapsing economic infrastructure, etc. that other would-be investor are facing.
To the people in the diaspora the right to vote and to dual citizenship are important but what they must understand that unless the country implements the comprehensive democratic reforms designed to stop Zanu PF rigging the elections, the diaspora vote will be just as worthless as the local vote.
As for the solution to Zimbabwe’s worsening economic meltdown, the cash crunch is just one of the symptoms; Zimbabwe must end the criminal waste of human and material resources brought on by the mismanagement, corruption and lawlessness. Since it is the misrule by President Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies that brought on this criminal waste and it is nonsense that they can end it since the situation has got progressively worse not better with each passing year. The country needs to make its own decision who will rule without the regime imposing itself on the nation.
The short term, medium term, long term and, indeed, only solution to Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown and political chaos is for the country to implement ALL the 2008 GPA democratic reforms and hold free, fair and credible elections!