Xenophobia: All African leaders must be held accountable


South African President Jacob Zuma on Monday turned the heat on his critics over the handling of unfortunate xenophobic attacks in that country.

While Zuma has to be held accountable for the brutal attacks on foreigners in his country, it is about time that Sadc Heads of State and Government meeting in Harare today did serious self-introspection as to why millions of foreigners are flooding South Africa.

Why are these foreigners not in their countries? What is it that South Africa is doing that they have failed to do?

Why have they failed to look after their citizens? For instance, Zimbabwe’s population in South Africa is reportedly hovering around three million people of which 4 000 are said to be in that country’s prisons.

The Sadc leaders must address these pertinent questions and call a spade a spade so as to right the wrongs that some of them have been committing with impunity.

Zimbabwe got independence in 1980, while South Africa broke the apartheid yoke in 1994, but Pretoria has within that short space of time managed to become the regional economic powerhouse.

There is no doubt that had Zimbabwe continued managing her politics well, South Africans would have been flooding our country instead.

It is unimaginable that in its short life, South Africa has had four leaders, while President Robert Mugabe (91) remains at the helm with no hint as to when he plans to step down.

While the xenophobic attacks must be condemned in the strongest terms, the Sadc summit must discuss pertinent questions Zuma raised on Monday so that every leader plays ball.

It makes no sense to blame Zuma for the attacks when it’s crystal clear that some leaders are destroying their countries for political expediency.

If Zuma is called to order, then Mugabe, who chairs both Sadc and the African Union, must be chided.

Is it not true that Mugabe has suppressed democratic change by savaging human rights activists at every turn over the past 35 years? To date, human rights activist-cum-journalist Itai Dzamara is still missing after having been abducted by suspected State security agents on March 9.

Mugabe has not issued a statement condemning Dzamara’s abduction allegedly by his agents.

This gives credence to Zuma’s notion that in other countries, critics can disappear for criticising the leadership.
We believe the ganging-up against South Africa over the xenophobic attacks will not help.

The region needs a solution, and the Sadc leadership must leave no stone unturned in their quest to bring finality to these issues.

Sadc cannot shy away from discussing Zuma, Mugabe and other issues bedevilling the region.

Indeed, this is a matter that the Sadc meeting cannot avoid discussing. It is an established fact that Zimbabweans are flooding South Africa, not because that is where they want to be, but they are looking for opportunities that their home government has failed to provide.

So instead of lambasting Zuma, Sadc governments need to do the right things that will ensure the growth of their economies and prevent high numbers of their citizens running away in search of a better life in South Africa.

In fact, these xenophobic attacks must be a serious wake-up call that should get Sadc leaders into action rather than just fingerpointing. They must collectively put their house in order.

Zimbabwe is in a crisis and it’s about time Sadc stopped cheering Mugabe when millions of Zimbabweans are seeking refuge in South Africa. He must be held accountable.


  1. I don’t think anyone could have said it better!

    How liberating it would be if we could all stand up and fight for the truth. Fighting does not need to involve weapons, destruction and loss of human life. It needs people like you, who will speak the truth without any bias, or favouritism.

    I think someone (who has the contacts), should forward this article to the SADC Governments. It’ll be extremely helpful in guiding them to a constructive way forward, that will surely prevent further outbreaks of such.

    God bless you and keep you safe…

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