The Sadc leadership that was meeting in the Victoria Falls resort over the weekend almost returned to their respective countries without seeing the real Zimbabwe, warts and all.
That was before the police did the country a “favour” by bashing an almost insignificant bunch of youths protesting the lack of jobs in the country.
They also brutally attacked a female journalist covering the demonstration.
Zanu PF, in its election manifesto for the July 31 elections last year, promised to create two million jobs, but these have not materialised.
The world over, events such as regional summits and sport showcases are used by minorities to spell their troubles to the world.
It is unheard of that there is not one demonstration or another when a country hosts the Olympics or the football World Cup.
Countries hosting these are always prepared to handle the situation with minimal force.
The excessive force employed by the ZRP this week showed the world that the country is back to its worst where government has little regard for citizens’ civil liberties.
When a country hosts a big event, be it in sport or in politics, the aim is to showcase its advancement both in terms of physical infrastructure and governance.
No country would like to hang its dirty linen in public by inviting friends when its infrastructure is dilapidated and when its people are oppressed.
Interestingly, it took 34 years for Zimbabwe to have the honour of hosting the Sadc summit.
The reason is not clear considering the country successfully hosted the Non-Aligned Movement (Nam) Summit in the early 1980s when it was still politically an infant.
It also hosted the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government (Chogm) Summit very successfully in 1991.
That the Sadc summit eluded Zimbabwe when it was still one of the best countries in the region to live in is a puzzle.
Once upon a time, the country boasted the best road network in the region outside South Africa.
Now, the roads are a scandal. Potholed all over, they have become death traps killing hundreds of people every year.
The rail system has all but ground to a halt — another reason why the roads are now dangerously used to transport cargo that should otherwise be carried by rail.
In the first two decades of independence, industry was ticking and Zimbabwe was exporting manufactured good to countries around the globe.
And, up until the turn of the millennium, the country’s farms were the best in the region — if not in the world. This was the situation when Nam and Chogm were hosted.
The situation is completely different now — everything is on a downward trend. This explains the high level of unemployment where more than 80% of our people are without formal jobs.
The only plausible reason for accepting to host the summit was probably that President Robert Mugabe, at 90, faced the real possibility of getting out of office without having chaired the regional bloc.
But Monday’s events have done him more harm than good.