Mugabe’s statements extremely hurtful

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I have never really wanted to speak much about the politics of this country, but the recent disparaging remarks made about the Kalanga people and people from that province by President Robert Mugabe really shocked me.

It was unbelievable and really hurt me because I have lovely and kindhearted Ndebele and Kalanga friends.

In fact, one of my paternal uncles was married to a lovely Ndebele woman who passed on last month. She was so sweet and very motherly to the entire family.

The statement sent me into deep thoughts and the only conclusion I arrived at was that black Africans just hate each other and while we may blame the white colonialists for having created this misery, I think we are our own worst enemies.

It was extremely hurtful to hear such unkind words coming from a leader I revered and respected so much.

His statement was divisive.

These utterances have no doubt revived memories of past events that happened in Matabeleland and the Midlands where thousands were killed during Gukurahundi.

What the president said about his compatriots is no different from what President Jacob Zuma’s son, Edward, and King Goodwill Zwelithini, the Zulu chief, said about foreigners living in South Africa.

What I deduced from Mugabe and the South African chief is that they are basically justifying the butchering of innocent Africans living in South Africa who have fled their own countries for economic and political reasons.

Last week I mentioned on this column that no normal thinking person wants to leave their country to become a squatter or refugee.

I say so because I was raised by parents who lived in exile for decades because the Rhodesian colonialists ill-treated or killed anyone who opposed their racist rule. My parents and other freedom fighters always said they would return to their roots one day.

That is why many such people flocked back to an independent Zimbabwe where they would eat and share the cake of freedom.

But the same is happening once again as more and more people have fled Zimbabwe since 2000 as jobs are now scarce and companies are closing, leaving citizens desperate once again to fend for their families adequately. Some have left for political reasons.
Can someone tell us why people are fleeing Zimbabwe if it is so rosy?

And why are children of our leaders studying at foreign schools and universities if Zimbabwe has it all?

Why are professionals becoming “bottom cleaners” in developed countries if there are adequate jobs for us all in Zimbabwe?

No politician has really addressed these issues head on, but all we hear are insults and hate language targeted at citizens who have gone out to seek greener pastures.

For those who have remained in Zimbabwe, it has been a long and agonising journey towards bringing the nation to normalcy.
Speaking against the status quo can land you in serious problems. You can disappear like what has happened to fellow journalist and political activist Itai Dzamara.

Freedom of speech and association, as enshrined in the Constitution, is just for the few in power.

People have generally said Zimbabweans are docile, but I don’t think they are. They are great thinkers, intelligent and smart. They are just watching as the think-tanks waffle about nothing to improve Zimbabwe’s livelihoods, coming up with economic blueprints that have not been effective.

Attend any wedding, party, or musical gig, Zimbabweans are talking about how rotten this country has become.

These people continue hoping against hope, but the truth is that there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.
Singling out a particular province as being lazy and uneducated is the biggest mistake that our president has made and I have no doubt that there is so much anger simmering from that part of country.

His wife and First Lady Grace Mugabe allegedly once accused Ndebele men of only being good at marrying and making babies instead of developing their areas.

She said Ndebele men marry a lot of wives and have too many children who they fail to fend for.
Further to that, Grace accused men from Matabeleland South of not developing themselves, but just being interested in going down south to Johannesburg to do menial jobs.

Grace labelled the men in the region rapists and abusers, saying the region provided the highest statistic in terms of rape and women abuse.

But can’t the same be said about the other ethnic groupings like the Shona, Karanga etc who rape and sire children with various women?

What is it that these people have done to Zimbabwe to deserve such a barrage of insults?
South Africa has always been a favourite destination for Africans long before independence and, yes, it is heaven on earth for many people.

South Africa is now called the “rainbow nation” because it has accommodated races and ethnic groups from the entire globe making a living in that country.

So what is wrong with Zimbabweans trying their luck there when their own country is offering nothing to keep them rooted in their homes?

Right now, Telecel, one of the leading mobile companies, has been shut down and this means thousands of employees will be on the streets or perhaps trek southwards in search for jobs.

Can you blame them?

The Research and Advocacy Unit notes that hate speech is something Zimbabwe has underrated, yet its effects have regrettably been felt since independence.

Hate speech is defined as any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group.

The words have an effect of inciting violence, something we are all too familiar with in Zimbabwe. Hate language is specifically intended to excite hostility and public contempt for those individuals or groups who are its targets to an extent that they no longer deserve to have their basic human rights protected.

Hate speech has become a poisonous epidemic in Zimbabwe that has fractured and polarised society by promoting extreme levels of political and social intolerance.

With little regard of what the law says, politicians continue to make careless statements that have over the years cost many people their lives.