Xenophobic violence in South Africa provides reality check for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa was pursuing international support at the World Economic Forum meeting in Cape Town when deadly violence broke out against Nigerians, Zimbabweans, Kenyans and others in Pretoria and Johannesburg this
week. South Africa is sub-Sahara’s wealthiest country yet it has been repeatedly the scene of racist communal violence because certain political groups can whip up the great frustration at widespread poverty and growing inequality. How more so is this the case in Zimbabwe?!

Right now Zimbabwe’s government is rightly concerned that its effort at economic recovery is blocked by calculated violent incidents. But it doesn’t appear to have the imagination or courage to avoid the same tactics. Instead it retaliates with overwhelming force, playing into the hands of those who say the new elected government cannot bring positive change, and should be overthrown in turn.

In the last fortnight a prominent United Nations and a European Union diplomat have insisted that the Mnangagwa government must stop the repression and must move decisively against corruption, before the international community will step in with concerted support. And the Mnangagwa government has mobilised SADC at its Dar es Salaam Summit to support its call for “sanctions” to end, as if it is the international community which has caused the country’s economic collapse – a ludicrous proposition. To his credit, President Mnangagwa has inched his way forward with the international community at his recent series of meetings, and is aiming to join the Commonwealth early in 2020.

While Mnangagwa is clearly struggling, the negativity of MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has also played against the opposition, which is itself struggling for relevance mainly because it has failed to make any positive contribution since the July 2018 national elections. Perhaps the period of stalemate is wearing itself out, and something better may be possible soon.

Inflation has rapidly eaten into the incomes of those with jobs in Zimbabwe, but both the government and private employers are providing some wage adjustments. Some high profile cases of corruption are now in court. The international community, through the World Food Program, is going to ensure there is no famine this coming summer.

Zimbabwe Information Centre Inc
Australia, September 6, 2019