Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Africa Day Celebration: A moment of Reflection.

By Nick Mangwana

ZANU PF UK Chairman: Cde Nick Mangwana
Yesterday was Africa day and there were so many celebrations across the globe. Africa Day is one of those days which is now considered as a Pan-Africanist moment to shine.  Plaudits are to black heroes all the way from Marcus Garvey through Kwame Nkrumah all the way to living ones like Robert Mugabe are sung.  In this week's piece we examine our inner thoughts and feelings in African solidarity. Introspection and reflection when done honestly often generates uncomfortable questions and equally embarrassing answers. As an uncomfortable exercise, a lot avoid it because of the uneasiness provoked by political  candour and lack of self-awareness. Self-awareness is not indulging in narcissistic chest pumping ego inflations. Neither is it engaging in an exercise of self-loathing or pretence self-deprecation.  It is acknowledging own frailties and citing areas of improvement and those in which a complete change of direction is needed. 

It is 52 years since the foundation of the  Organisation of African Union in 1963 the forerunner to the African Union (AU). One of the greatest resolutions to come out of that meeting was to respect the borders as delineated by the colonialists. This was  a great resolution because going by  the evidence of a penchant for  conflicts and petty squabbling, if Africa had chosen to redraw its borders according to ethnical and anthropological history there probably would have been  wars between Zimbabwe and Mozambique with the latter claiming that a big part of Zimbabwe up to Marondera is its territory. May be Zimbabwe would have been counter-arguing that the whole Manica Province in Mozambique is also part of Manicaland. Another conflict would be between Zimbabwe and South Africa, after all the Vendas in Beit Bridge were divided from their cousins in Musina and the Kalangas in Plumtree and the Ramokgwebana Border area were divided from their cousins in Botswana all the way to Francistown and Masunga or even further. This division of ethnically linked people and nationalising them into different countries has seen some people in Chapoto and Kanyemba  villages in the Dande Valley paying deference to traditional leadership across the border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. This state of affairs has obtained across most post-colonial border and ethnography.  So the founding fathers were probably right to maintain this relic of the 1884-1885 Berlin Conference.   

Other than that they fought colonialism and by 1994 they had won that battle. By 2002 the Organisation was changed to the African Union with a new thrust on integration as well as peace and prosperity.  It is in these areas where there is evidence that there is a lot more to do.
How can a continent integrate when there are those who countenance xenophobia as was witnessed in the earlier part of this year?  What was witnessed and the toxic sentiment that followed just turned the notion of full continental  integration into a fantasist's pipe dream. For if people who are ethnically linked and can understand each linguistically like the Zulus of South Africa and the Ndebele of Zimbabwe turn on each other just because of artificial colonial borders how  are the Tswana of Botswana and Luo of Kenya likely to integrate? How about the Yoruba of Nigeria and the Chewa of Malawi? The Xenophobia witnessed might have been a result of socio-economic disparities but there are snobbery explanations to it. 

or how can people discount those when one President made a speech in which he said, " We can't think like Africans in Africa  generally.  We are in Johannesburg. This is Johannesburg. This is not some national road in Malawi". And God! Did the audience not go wildly into feats of laughter!  And a few months later  that  attitude cascaded to the deprived job seeking people and sensing tacit approval from  high  office they attacked "Africans", for they themselves had listened to that speech which was later to be wittily dubbed, " I am not an African".  What a way to bastardise Thabo Mbeki's "I am an African" 1996 speech. Total political and economic  integration of the African people and the African Diaspora can only be  achieved  when those nations that are smarting from superiority complexes and hang-ups  manage to overcome their prejudices.

Whilst the West has a lot to atone for when it comes to Africa, hatred of other races and failure to embrace other ideas except when it comes to luxuries is like intellectual inbreeding. The African leadership has shown a lot of double standards. Their houses and every facet of their lives is full of Western indulgencies which their people are so deprived of. But if one wants to see how much they fight like raging bulls, one should make a suggestion that since they have chosen to  embrace the Western standards of lifestyle in their personal lives, can they do the same in their governance style.  

African renaissance can only have meaning to the African people when the political independence from political bondage translate into economic independence. Of course this has now turned into a cliché. But it still has to be said. So many African lives are perishing in the Sahara Desert when African young people trudge in that trying terrain leaving countries pregnant with resources whilst they try to get to Europe seeking better lives. Those that survive the desert are very unlikely to survive the Mediterranean. How does the African leadership feel when the  eccentric London mayor Boris Johnson distastefully  suggests sending the British Special forces the SAS (Special Air Services) to stop African migrants from attempting to cross the Mediterranean to  Europe. If this is not an indictment on African leadership then what is it?  400 years ago African lives were perishing in the seas after being abducted to go and work in plantations. Today they voluntarily get on the treacherous sea and perish in their thousands and the leaders of those countries where these nationalities would have come from bats no eye-lid,  and Africa celebrates Africa Day?

Celebrate yes, Africa should. But a lot of soul-searching is still called for. When Africa frowns upon exploitative relationships in the name of sovereignty and liberty, one relationship that needs to be redefined is Africa's relationship with China. Trade between Africa and China is over $200 billion a year.  Mostly that relationship is extractive.  China gets an African country money for infrastractural project funding at usurious rates, China charges 5 times what it would charge a Western country for doing the same job. The African country is burdened with the debt overhang  owed  to the Chinese Financial Institutions  that by the time they finish paying, the infrastructure they are paying for is disintegrating. 

The Chinese have been good political friends to Africa. In 2008 they together with Russia vetoed the sanctions against Zimbabwe in the United Nations Security Council.  For such actions Africa should always be grateful. In the Chinese it has an all weather friend. There is no questioning of their politics with Africa.  But it is the economic transactions for which this generation will be condemned by the next if no scrutiny is applied. The way they construct HS2 project  in Britain shouldn't be different from the way they do any other project in Africa. But sadly it is. 

In order not have this dependence on the Chinese when it comes to the United Nations Security Council curtailed, it is  germane to have an African Country as a permanent member of the Security Council. But to have a country that sees other African countries as inferior would result in the outcome of March 2011 when Gabon, Nigeria and South Africa allowed the bombing of Libya by NATO and the subsequent murder of President Gaddafi . Maybe in the whole reform of the UN, the AU as an institution should have a permanent seat carrying out collective resolutions of the whole continent.

This still sounds like a pie in the sky proposition if consideration is taken of the fact that the AU is mainly funded by the West therefore it is easy to arm twist so it ends serving parochial interests of its funders. If this state of affairs continues then unfortunately some will continue to view the celebration of Africa Day as the celebration of pseudo-independence. The fund gap needs to be closed so that there is less reliance on the West.

Africa has very fertile agricultural land, an increasingly educated population but not much funding in research and development.  This has led to Africa being made into a consumer market for Western goods. The West is where it is today because it supported its scientists to spend time in their laboratories inventing things. Until African countries take a similar pathway there will be continued use of archaic technology or handed down inappropriate technology. The failure by the AU to fight  hunger and disease  on its own has  turned all anti-west rhetoric into vain bubbling. For how could it not,  when Africa blames the West for its developmental retardation and yet turn to the West to help with every Crisis on its own shores?

The instability in Burundi, and the failure by the Eastern African regional grouping to take decisive action like Sadc did in Madagascar shows what some would call collusion and connivance when they perform their  governance peer review. Year after year the AU cannot continue to be accused of institutional ineffectiveness.  It would be poignant if the relevance of this piece ends this year. If in 5 years time the contents of this op-ed is as relevant as it is today, it would be fair to conclude that there is a failure of leadership in Africa.


Saturday, 16 May 2015

The 2 Way Street Between the State and the Diaspora.

By Nick Mangwana

ZANU PF UK Chairman; Cde Nick Mangwana
One of the key things that inhibit economic development in the developing world is not lack of policy. It is lack policies that coherent and in tandem with the people's aspirations. The argument has been put out there for a long time that Diaspora policies can only be relevant and fit for purpose if they are formulated through consultation and participatory engagement of all the stakeholders. In this case the very key stakeholders are the Diasporans themselves.  The Zimbabwean Diaspora is both an asset and a responsibility and any policy should encapsulate that.

When a Zimbabwean is out there in their adopted places of residence they represent the face of Zimbabwe. It is hoped is that they take that responsibility seriously and project the right face of Zimbabwe not the denigration and demonisation of the country they clearly love or the bringing of the country into disrepute through some of the things seen recently on British television.

 Sometimes a lot people struggle to make the distinction between their disapproval of Zanu PF and their patriotic obligation to Zimbabwe. Zanu PF is not Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe is not Zanu PF.  Throwing brickbats at Zanu PF is a constitutional entitlement but not so when it comes to slandering and vilifying Zimbabwe.

But then it is not only the people in the Diaspora that needs to take their responsibility towards Zimbabwe seriously. The Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) needs to also take its obligations towards its people in transnational territories seriously. For starters, the lot of the people that left Zimbabwe in the last 16 years have had children who are now turning 16-18. They need Zimbabwean IDs.  Surely having to pay £800 to send one's child for a trip to Zimbabwe to pick up an ID that costs $10 is imprudent in any man’s language. This is not a first call. This column has already advocated for there to be facilities at the good embassies for the thousands of Zimbabweans to be able to maintain their links with Zimbabwe. If it is a cumbersome process as it is they just won't bother. Possibly the reader would say, who cares? Ah, Zimbabwe cares.

The value of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora should not just be seen through the of Diaspora remittances. There is more value to the Diaspora than that.  As said earlier that this is a 2 way street. Last week this column was on about dual citizenship.  It was asserting the rights of the people of Zimbabwe who live in different territories.  It also showed that the rights of Zimbabweans do not attach to territories, they attach to citizenship. But the Diasporans should no t be citizens of convenience.  They shouldn’t be Zimbabweans when it serves their interests and something else when it serves a different interests .That is tantamount to having your cake and eating it. There is a right to fair comment but that does not mean a right to denigrate your identity.  Most of the readers disagree with a lot of things their parents stand for or do but that has not given them a carte blanche licence to wantonly exercise the freedom that came with the Age of Majority Act.  Call itself censorship this column will call it responsibility.

In our 2 way street, the people have to support the government chosen by their compatriots and the government has a responsibility to show moral leadership. A government that lets its vulnerable go through unremitted suffering is either neglectful or abdicating from its responsibility. But also a Diaspora that shouts from the rooftops and even fighting against the normalisation of relationships of the GoZ and other countries is a seditious Diaspora that makes it very difficult for its government to engage with it.

The people in the Diaspora do not pay taxes to the GoZ. And if the latter was to try to make them there would be a paper pile of renounced citizenship. That puts everyone in a catch 22 situation. It creates a democratic deficit in that it obligates the State of Zimbabwe towards the Diaspora without giving the Diaspora a responsibility for funding that State. There is no doubt in the author's mind in that the way the Diaspora can pay its dues to the State of Zimbabwe is not through taxation but by adding qualitative value to it.

A citizen cannot cry for extra-territorial rights without extra-territorial responsibilities.  But equally the State should recognise both the causal and correlation link between sovereignty and responsibility, with the sovereignty being the responsibility to do right by the people.  That is one side of the street going in one direction but the other one is that the Diasporan also has to practice sovereign responsibility because Sovereign responsibility follows the passport just as sovereign obligation follows the passport.  The author hopes that the argument is not convoluted and it just makes sense by each party taking responsibility of its obligations.

The current state of affairs where the citizens wail loud for the State to provide them with this and that when they give nothing in return does not work.  The people within Zimbabwe can cry for different things because they pay taxes and take responsibility for a whole lot of other things. But the good Diasporan is also looking to obligate the State but then imply that abrogate themselves from certain patriotic responsibility. Well, patriotic responsibility is non-spatial. Just as one's responsibility to carry the family name with owner. One doesn't have to be in their home village in Chivi to do so. It follows them everywhere they are.

For their being extra-territorial responsible citizens, the Diasporans should be accorded that automatic right to pass on their citizenship to their children no matter where they were born and where the other parent is from.  This the same right that someone living in Zimbabwe has, right? Remember in the Zimbabwean context the term "Diasporan" connotes external citizen rather than dispersal.  And an external citizen is just a citizen all the same.  They have the right to diplomatic protection and they also have a right to return with all that is theirs.

The Diasporans are just a transnational Zimbabwean community which deserves to be treated as any other. They are just Non-Resident Zimbabweans (NRZ).  Because of a very good literacy base, some NRZ have skills; experience as well exposure to a certain way of doing things in advanced economies. There is a responsibility to tap into this resource to help advance the Zimbabwean economy as well. To view everyone that left Zimbabwe for a raft of different reasons as a sell-out is missing a clear opportunity. There is a lot to learn from Kenya regarding Diaspora engagement.

There has been a team of Drs from the Diaspora that always go back to Zimbabwe work for free as a way of giving back. The hoops they have to jump just to be able to do that are something that has to be tackled in a different article. The crux of the matter is that there are Diasporan professionals that give back to Zimbabwe. Here are patriots donating their time to their country and honour without an expectation of a financial reward.

But without a one-stop-shop  ministry to coordinate all the different Diaspora groups and what  value they try to bring to Zimbabwe as well as drafting an acceptable Diaspora policy all these efforts will remain fragmented, hap hazard and chaotic.

Zimbabwe has a lot of scientists outside the country who want to build linkages with Universities and the business sector to awaken innovation. There is no question that the country’s industry uses archaic and in some cases obsolete technology thus making local products expensive and uncompetive against products from other developed economies. Even at the height of economic sanctions one can argue that there was an opportunity of import substitution that was missed.  With so many patriotic scientists Zimbabwe would have been at a different level. The reader is probably thinking, ‘where are these scientists’. There are there but the State doesn’t know who and where because there is no systematic registration of citizens in the Diaspora. The question of where they are and what they are doing there and whether they have skills that can be transferred home for the benefit of the motherland should be addressed through a simple Diaspora Database. Without that information any Diaspora Policy is dead in the water. The brilliant idea of Diaspora bonds would be very difficult to implement without accurate demographic information on the citizenry. If the census in Zimbabwe was held for economic planning reasons then it’s not too late to have a census for those in the Diaspora. It can easily be done online.

 Let us as well remove suspicion on those that come and try to give back for purely patriotic and altruistic reasons. There is an attitude that they are up to something or some unknown hand is funding them for nefarious activities.  As Zimbabweans the charitable spirit of giving back seems to be quite alien to us. May be it’s our experience with NGOs who in most cases have another agenda.

A new agenda between Zimbabwe and its NRZ needs to be set. Zimbabwe is the ultimate beneficiary of such an effort.  Ignoring the Diaspora is missing an opportunity. 


Calls For Exhumation of Heroes will be Insult to their Memories

By Nick Mangwana

ZANU PF UK Chairman; Cde Nick Mangwana
A necromancer is a sorcerer that communicates with the dead. The last couple of weeks saw a lot of people opposed to President Mugabe turn into necromancers. They suddenly started to communicate with the departed luminaries of the Zimbabwean nation. They knew what George (Tjilundika) Silundika (MHSRP) wanted.  They became experts on the wishes of Chibwechitedza Dr Nkomo (MHSRIP). They started representing the wishes of JZ Moyo (MHRSIP) and John Landa Nkomo (MHSRIP). 

You see comrades, after mentioning the names of the dearly departed and revered there is MHSRIP, meaning that May His Soul Rest in Peace.  Surely those self-appointed necromancers who have a morbid obsession with the macabre should let our heroes rest in peace.  As far as political morality or lack of it is concerned, the obsession with the macabre has been taken to a different level by those that propose that the graves of heroes should be desecrated because President Mugabe said something about our Kalanga compatriots that is now deliberately quoted out of context.

In 1978 General Josiah Magama Tongogara was interviewed by a reporter of the Zimbabwe news. Among many other things he was asked about his personal views on the leadership under whom he worked.  He said a lot of unflattering things about Ndabaningi Sithole and also had no kind word about Abel Muzorewa. He spared his greatest admiration for Chairman Chitepo and President Mugabe.  This is what he said, “The late Hebert Chitepo cannot be compared to Sithole. Although he had grown up at a mission school and became one of the leading intellectuals of Zimbabwe, he quickly adapted to the needs and demands of the revolution. He mixed freely with the people and listened to their grievances. During his 9 years of leadership of Zanu he became a father of the party. More importantly he understood and internalised the process of the revolution. Robert Mugabe, the present leader of Zanu is a self-confident and principled man. He cannot be moved from the principles he holds, or from collective decisions of his organisation. His practice is firmly set against tribalism and regionalism; he judges issues on their merits, not on colour, tribe or region of the person that has brought them up. Zanu is blessed to have such a leader"

There you are reader. In the words of the illustrious General; As if he knew that the time will come when he would have to defend his leader beyond the grave. The President is not a tribalist or regionalist.  Of all the things the General could have talked about the dwelled on the issue of tribalism and regionalism. So whoever chooses to project President Mugabe as a tribalist or regionalist is also accusing General Tongo of dishonesty or naivety.   When words of icons are preserved they become oracles when they pass on. This is why there is a lot of support to the pressure for the President to write or at least record his memoirs for posterity. He needs to speak from beyond the grave. Not some future distortions from people with narrow political agendas as is happening.

Now the words of the General Tongogara do not need a necromancer to bring us back. They are a matter of public record. Let us go back to those that believe that the desecration of the memory and the person of the late Father Zimbabwe is a political weapon to be used.  The word desecration was used here because the moral reprehensible suggestion does just that; desecrate the memory and honour the late Vice President so deserves because he so earned it.  The word "desecration is defined as is the "act of depriving something of its sacred character, or the disrespectful, contemptuous, or destructive treatment of that which is held to be sacred or holy by a group or individual.”

Now just the idea of taking the interred remains of this revered individual from the sacred place of national entombment to some village elsewhere is trying to turn a national leader into a village politician. Dr Nkomo lived and had a house in Highfields, a predominantly Shona Township. He viewed that as part of Zimbabwe and felt he belonged there as much as he belonged in Kezi or Bulilima. Allowing some Bronco drunk political malcontents to make lurid and gruesome suggestions for their own political expedience and creation of sensationalism is just profanatory.

The debate of whether Dr Nkomo was Kalanga or not is not one for this piece.  The point is did President Mugabe avoid appointing any person to his inner circle (cabinet/politburo) because they were Kalanga? The answer is a resounding no. Because the mark of bigotry is active discrimination and marginalisation.  On social media a famous professor with Kalanga pedigree has been busy fighting this type of ignorance.  George Silundika was a Kalanga and that did not stop President Mugabe from appointing him to his very first cabinet. On his untimely death he was buried at the Heroes Acre as a Zimbabwean Hero. It didn't matter whether he was Kalanga or not. It just matters now because those that are obsessed with the grisly are suggesting desecrating his memory. At the time of George Silundika who was affectionately known as TG (Tarcisius George) by those that were close to him, there was a debate of whether he should be buried at his home village in Gala in fulfilment of Kalanga customary practice. This was not a political position. It was about tradition. It was the very same Dr Nkomo whose name people are making a political football today that intervened and explained to the good elders that it was because of the work that Cde Silundika did for his country that earned him the status of a hero. That it is a fitting honour for him to be buried alongside his comrades who included the previously quoted General Tongogara and JZ Moyo.

 The Heroes Acre is called the National Shrine for a reason.  A shrine is a place to be hallowed, venerated and a place of pilgrimage. It is a reliquary where the remains of those in whose honour we have named our streets are interred. Taking them to a small village away from their comrades is being impertinent to them. If people have unhealthy fascination or even a gory fetish for human tissue they should just say so and spare the rest of us from the squeamish imagination of their fantasies.

JZ Moyo is another Kalanga hero who was very much involved in the unification Zimbabweans through his advocacy for unity between ZIPRA and ZANLA. He was one of the people who helped set up the PF in Zanu PF. Please don't defile his memory.  To turn the memory of such an individual who worked tirelessly for the whole country into a tribal hero is not only crass; it is disrespectful to him, his family and the rest of the people of Zimbabwe.  These heroes were real people with actual families who continue to grieve and miss them. Beyond that enigmatic and iconic stature were real human beings. After they were buried everyone else went home and proceeded on with their day today lives. But there are families that had lost not only a father, a bread winner, a counsellor and a guiding beacon. Those are the people every sensationalist should think about before making pallid suggestions of exhuming human remains for their own political capital.

President Mugabe has no beef with his people the Kalanga. He knows they are educated and extremely sharp people.  He has one of their own who is a professor for that matter working as the face and voice of his government.  He took another and made him the face and voice of his party. How many people of Bukalanga heritage deputised him at both party and State levels? What more evidence can anyone honestly want? People can spin a speech and take convenient excerpts from them to achieve their own mischievous ends. But that is not easy with actions. So those that want to judge the President's position on these issues should look closely at how deaf he has been to people's dialects and pedigree over the years including now rather than deliberately and  callously interpreted distortions.

The people of Bukalanga should not let themselves be abused by political malcontents and misfits. They have a celebrated heroic heritage for their distinguished contribution to the Nation Building of this country. In any case the term Zimbabwe sounds more Tjikalanga than Shona itself. If the reader disputes this then you are called upon to prove who actually named this country thus. The grim call to exhume the remains of heroes is a macabre notion from an equally ghoulish lunatic fringe. And this fringe should know the bounds to its freakishness.  Not everything can be used for political capital. It's common human decency to respect the dead. Even in a war situation soldiers even bury some of the enemies that they kill and put RIP at the head-side.  A respect for the remains of human beings distinguished human beings from their primates’ cousins. 


Dual Citizenship and the Zimbabweans in the Diaspora

By Nick Mangwana

ZANU PF UK Chairman; Cde Nick Mangwana
This writer was under the impression that the dual citizenship debate was now water under the bridge. How could it not be? First there is Chapter 3 in our constitution then there are the 2 cases of Mutumwa Dziva Mawere v Registrar General and 3 others. This was one of the first cases to be heard before the Concourt since its inception under the New Constitution. 

Then there was the case of Farai Daniel Madzimbamuto v Registrar General and 3 others.  But here is a challenge to every Zimbabwean out there, check your passport.  Even if you collected it yesterday you will see, “A citizen of Zimbabwe who is eighteen or above may not be a citizen of another country. A citizen of Zimbabwe who makes use of the passport of another government commits an offence. …”. 

The first thought was this was old stationary stock. But no the New Constitution has been in effect for 2 solid years this May. This issue cannot be hanging. It is one of those constitution issues that has already seen 2 challenges and yet appears to be still hanging. There is an argument here that the legal issue has been settled by the highest court in the land which was constituted to safeguard and vindicate the citizens’ rights. Maybe it’s time to look at the moral argument of Dual Citizenship. Maybe here there is a case of a bureaucrat somewhere imposing their own personal sentiment and whim on a nation.

Dual Nationalisation or Dual Citizenship used to be quite a contentious issue with most nations frowning upon it.  Imagine that in the 1930s when the League of Nations came into being it came up with a declaration that, “All persons are entitled to one nationality, but one nationality only.” This was the thinking 85 years ago. The world has moved on. In those days a woman who married a person from a different nationality was forced to abandon the nation of their birth and adopt that of their marriage. Maybe on divorcing reverse the process. How discriminatory was such a system? But thankfully this type of archaic thinking has been banished to the dustbin of history by many progressive nations including our own. There are some people that still harbour the discredited dinosaurian notion that Dual citizenship is a catalyst for treason and other subversive crimes. Nothing can be further from the truth.  It has already been proved that some of the most fiercely patriotic people in the world have Dual Nationality.

But still having said that one has to see things from the point of view of those that are opposed to this idea.  Some argue that Dual nationality is a subversion of democracy as some people vote in 2 polities and determine the fate of those 2 sovereigns. It’s not very clear why this is a subversion of democracy but the issue of people determining the fate of a place they don’t live in might sound like a fair point. And maybe the add the fact that it might also be considered to undermine the principle of one person one vote.  Imagine the thousands of Zimbabweans participating in the UK General Election on the 7th of May; help determine the direction of British Politics.  

Then come 2018 the same group help swing the vote in some direction by determining the course of Zimbabwean political outcomes.  To those that oppose extra-territorial voting that seems quite unfair. What gives a person a right to vote in an election? It seems currently in Zimbabwe it’s some combination of citizenship, age and residence.  Zimbabwe is one of the countries that have embraced modernity. Despite the debate around Diaspora Voting which still rages on, it has to be made clear that Zimbabwe does allow Diaspora voting. The writer is a registered voter in Zimbabwe and always makes sure his registration is in order despite having lived outside the country for a bit of time now. Any other Zimbabwean has the same opportunity and entitlement to do so. 

What some Disaporean are asking for is the country to facilitate “extra-territorial voting”.  That is a debate in which those that oppose it have always asked whether people who are not subject to most decisions a government makes have a right to choose such a government. This subject has been tackled in this column in the past but will always be referred to as some Disaporean feel quite strongly about it. Words such as enfranchising and disenfranchising will continue to be used until a proper position is arrived at. At the moment the strategy seems to be just to ignore it and wish it all away. But it will probably help with the uptake of the Diaspora Bond to the address this issue in the Diaspora Policy in one way or the other.

All these policies have frankly very little to do with Dual Citizenship which is nothing but pragmatic tolerance. And tying the issue to extra-territorial voting policies is just a red herring.  One of the most sacrosanct principles of sovereignty at international law is the prerogative of a country to set its own immigration rules on who can and cannot be a citizen. But when the Constitution got worded the way it was in Chapter 3 and the Concourt interprets it the way it has in the 2 cases cited above it leaves the arguments against dual citizenship weak and flimsy to a level they can actually be considered petty resentment. 

Citizenship might come with loyalty but the writer is happy to bet his mortgage that if for example the US was to go to war with Zimbabwe, and those with dual nationalities were to go war they would certainly fight on the side of Zimbabwe. There should be no debate on where the loyalty of those in the Diaspora lies. It is with Zimbabwe. .  Prohibiting Dual Citizenship was and is one of those issues that have always been very difficult to enforce anyway.

A lot would remember in 1992 when Bruce Grobbelaar publicly surrendered his British passport in a blitz of media frenzy only for him to retrieve it quietly soon after.  1995 he then surrendered both passports as part of his bail condition in a legal bother he was going through. And there was Zimbabwe’s then Chief Immigration Officer Elasto Mugwadi saying that Bruce had not violated Zimbabwean Immigration Law because, even though he had retrieved and kept his British passport together with his Zimbabwean one, the fact that he had not used the British passport exonerated him from any accusations of violating Zimbabwean law.  Does it sound ridiculous? May be it actually is. One can see that both at law and in reality, positions don’t come more ambiguous than that. The suggestion seems to be that it’s ok to have a foreign passport as long as you don’t use it. Close readings of the quoted passport condition above seems to support Mr Mugwadi’s then statement actually. 

 If such a high profile person could get away with it, how many good people out there would be turned into criminals by this out of touch condition? Any vague and vexatious criminalisation of a whole Zimbabwean community is indicative of a practice that is not fit for purpose.  Enough of this equivocation.  Zimbabweans need a clear position on Dual Nationality.  The law seemed clear enough but the practice remains confused or maybe it’s just confusing.

The idea of treating citizenship like a marriage where one is forced to abjure to forsake all others and any flirtations with others no matter how innocent is considered disloyal has passed its use by date.  Citizenship is not a marriage where having another is synonymous to bigamy. Those who have chosen to take another passport have only done so for the mere purpose of immigration and travelling convenience. They have just avoided xenophobic victimhood by shifting their status. This has also helped them with accessing employment and education but their emotional fidelity rests with Zimbabwe. How else would they remain so engaged with what happens in their motherland if they were emotionally disinvested?  This is not just some mundane transnational political pastime. It is because that passport is just what it is; a travel document. Everything about them is Zimbabwean. Of course there those that have said they would never get a passport of another country no matter what. This is a laudable principle but it does not make them any better patriots than those that did. There are also a lot of Zimbabweans that took other citizenship through a process called naturalisation but have desisted from taking the passport of the other nation. Now where do those stand? Because the passport of Zimbabwe is only saying that you shouldn’t have another passport and there is a snowball chance in hell of the Zimbabwe State ever finding that out anyway.  Taking a second citizenship is pragmatism and not disloyalty to the motherland.

Dual Nationality is an irreversible side-effect of globalisation.  Any attempts to thwart it might just slightly delay it but it cannot be stopped.  The people of Zimbabwe spoke in the referendum of March 16 2013. The learned judges spoke and continue to speak loud and clearly. It is now down to the bureaucrats to accept this post-modern phenomenon.  The Government of Zimbabwe is regularly accused policy inconsistency.  Rightly or wrongly, time can be spent hurling hypotheticals over this, but the Zimbabwean Passport provides enough anecdotes for one to reach an anecdotal conclusion that the accused is found guilty of the charge in this case. 


Election Promises Should be Delivered

By Nick Mangwana

ZANU PF UK Chairman; Cde Nick Mangwana
You see comrades, when your column is called Frank Talk you have a lot of latitude. All you have to do is just say the plain truth as you see it. That's it. Just say it and the good thing is it will resonate with the reader.  And if one is looking for resonance with their reader, it is easy again. Just fill up your piece with empathy.  

Try seeing it from the point of view of the reader. Now in the case of our Party, if one is looking for a winner its simple again. Try seeing it from the point of view of the voter. Not even your own child can trust you when you break promises. Let alone a voter. As a party we have to start delivering on what we promise in those beautifully written books we call manifestos.
Someone once wrote that "Election promises" are not e promises in the literal sense of the word. They said that these promises are just meant to signal intention and not to be taken as cast iron undertakings! They said that the voters should not take an election promise like a contract whose failure to deliver should also be taken as a breach.

I think we should do just that. Take them literally and make a concerted effort to deliver. Our electorate are not fools. More so of the Zimbabwean kind. They are discerning, literate, vengeful and unforgiving. Ask the MDC. In 2008 they promised a lot and were given an opportunity to showcase their mettle in the GNU and dismally failed. Come 2013 the voter was so unforgiving that they were nearly sent into political oblivion.

For argument sake, let us agree with the angle that election promises are just signals of intent and not literal commitment, what did we promise? What did we as a party signal during the 2013 election? One of our major indications was that we would prioritise jobs for our youths. We were persuaded (hopefully) and went ahead to also promise that there will be a focus on job creation and retention should  the people trust us with their mandate.  In this commitment our youths looked for resonance with their own aspirations and they found it.  They believed that our Party Zanu PF was the only party that would make promises that they could keep because we had a history of  keeping the promises that we made (make the promises that you can keep, and keep the promises that you make). Are delivering on those promises?

We know an election promise is not a contact. This was tested in the English case of Someone tested whether an election promise is really a contract at law. In a case known as  Wheeler) v Office of the Prime Minister, they argued that when a promise is made in a manifesto, it creates what is called a "legitimate expectation" in the electorate. The courts refused to force the government's hand to fulfil the said promise in this case. The judges ruled that to do so would be for the courts to "usurp democracy".  In that regard it means democracy should have a way of punishing those that fragrantly promise something and invariably not only embark on a different pathway but actually do not make an effort at all to fulfil that promise. That power is through the ballot.  We have a lot of bi-elections going on. In one someone is running rings around us. Why? Because when they had the incumbency, they delivered on their promises to priorities the welfare of their electorate. This is something we should learn despite our 54 years of existence and experience.

If there is something we learnt from the Votes of No Confidence (Vonc) experience it is that a 5 year term is not guaranteed. There has already been constitutional debates in other democracies that the electorate by a petition of 20% registered should be empowered to commence recall an MP who is not delivering on their manifesto. Whilst manifestos are not legally binding, failing to fulfil them should have political consequences.

We have to deliver our own. The opposition might be at sixes and sevens to deliver a knock-out blow against us but that should not be an excuse for a lacklustre motivation to deliver good outcomes for our people.

Anyone who believes in the youth can clearly see that the current state of affairs is not sustainable. We are losing a generation or 2. We have youth that graduated with good economic degrees 4-5 years ago. They have not had a single day of practising what they learnt. Instead they are hawking. Another year or 2 they can't remember a single concept of what they learnt. What a waste! For that generation will never be rediscovered. That potential will never be realised. There are so many like that on our streets. We now have street experts in almost every field of study.

|Whilst an election promise is not really a pledge the gap between what we say at election and what we deliver needs an effort to close. From the case precedence that have been cited it is clear that the issue of breaking promises is not a Zimbabwean problem alone. It is neither an African problem alone. It is a problem with politics. In the UK, the Conservative Government  is said to have broken at least 15 election promises made only in the last election! Doesn't that sound like they didn't t just bother with the manifesto?

Well, it is about integrity. Moral principles should not be left to churches alone. We should be impeccable with our word. When we speak we should say what we mean and mean what we say. That is the only thing that makes our people less cynical. We shouldn't be in a place where we end up splitting hairs to explain what actually we meant by certain words.  It will be a tragedy of our generation when we stop making efforts to fulfil promises because the fact that we knew what to promise means that we knew exactly what the people's needs were. Failure to deliver on them when we know what they are is dereliction of duty.

Everybody counts or else nobody counts. 


Homelink Needs to Change Their Approach

By Nick Mangwana

ZANU PF UK Chairman; Cde Nick Mangwana
The notion of a “home” for a Disaporean one has always been both an elusive and illusionary. Is home the place of ancestral origin or home is the pace where one earns a living, stays and get settled? Is home even the place of ancestral burial and origin? Is it the place where one has a house? There is person whose patriarch is known to have come from South African in the Limpopo province and settled in Zimbabwe. They still consider themselves Sothos even though the last 3 generations cannot even speak a word in the language. The only word that indicating their Nguni heritage is the totem title (chidawo) known as Mthombeni.  

So where is this people’s home? Is it in South Africa or is it in in the land of their adoption which in this case is Zimbabwe. There is never the right or wrong answer to this question. One could it be easy. People like Simon Chimbetu left the country to take up arms and try to liberate the country when originally their father was from Tanganyika. They died heroes and were buried at the Heroes Acre in Chinhoyi as illustrious son of Zimbabwe who fought for his home. So where is the home of a Disaporean?

A few years ago, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe started a company with a focus of linking up Zimbabwe and its Diaspora. They aptly named it Homelink. This was a company that had been founded specifically with the Diaspora in mind. Unlike most other initiatives which were mainly one sided, this was meant to provide a nexus between the parties be mutually beneficial.  It was an initiative that attempted to answer the question of where the Disaporean Home is (albeit with disastrous reputational consequences).  In coming up with this company it seems that there had been a conclusion that the home of a person that emigrated from Zimbabwe to another country remains Zimbabwe. Maybe they were right, if the recent xenophobic incidents in a neighbouring country is anything to go by. May be the home of everyone who left Zimbabwe remains Zimbabwe. But one can also contend that the best definition is that home is not a geographical place. Home is a state of consciousness and therefore where one’s home is only defined by their state of mind. It means that the notion of home is not only a social but emotional and economic construction.

It was with this in mind that recognition was made that those in the diaspora even if they have houses where they live, they still need houses in their countries of origin. It is ten years after this endeavour and the company called Homelink is still reeling from the reputational risk they took.  They have come back on the market and are attempting to lure the same group of Zimbabweans outside Zimbabwe to invest in the country and build houses for themselves. They have even have put up packages with interests rates that are more favourable to the Disaporean than those based in Zimbabwe. In their current products the Diaspora is afforded interests rates of 10% and the Zimbabwe based at home is afforded an interest rate of 14%. The Disaporean remains cynic. Those that want their home to be in both places.  In all situations of disputes there are always 2 sides to a story and the truth somewhere in between.  For this noble idea that is Homelink to prosper there has to be a lot of reputational redemption that is needed.  What with the unscrupulous actions of some of their agencies in 2006!

Homelink are rightly paying a price for the actions of their agencies. That would ordinarily sound fair as the principal should always be held accountable for the actions of the agent. They have tried their best and until now they maintain that whoever lost their moneys and can prove it should forward their claim and they are happy to honour it. This is a good challenge. There are not many companies out there that can lay such a gauntlet.  

As Shakespeare said, “Let every eye negotiate for itself and trust no agent”. Thus the idea of using a few unknown quantities as agencies is the issue that led to this calamitous result.  The idea that people can just come from Harare and appoint anyone that shows a bit of enthusiasm an agent is not only ill-advised but very much ill-fated.  Like all situations all sorts went into the Diaspora. The good, the bad and the ugly. The reputable, the conscionable and downright criminals. The only way Homelink or any other company could have avoided the folly of yesteryear is to do what they have decided to do now. Firstly to either use credit agencies for the credit history including references right in the territories of the people they want to use.  Only people with good records could be used as agencies.  The second alternative was to use sureties or guarantees from the agencies so as to mitigate any potential losses not only to Homelink itself or to the consumer and thirdly, to employ its own people who are fully accountable to it. Short cuts do not work. There is also no substitute for regulation. They should have engaged with regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authorities (FCA). The mere use of that label would have meant that the discerning consumer is reassured that they will recover their money no matter what. This is never too late. They can still do it.

Homelink has already embarked on some of these changes.  As they prepare to launch the Diaspora bond, they can only make a good success of it if there is subject themselves to the extra regulation and the insurance that is provided to the consumer by the FCA. Whilst the registration fee outlay would seem a bit steep in these days of tough liquidity in the country it is worthy it because the mere mention of the FCA is enough to reassure the consumer.

People will always build homes in their ancestral of their original homes as there is always a feeling that when conditions in the country of origin become more favourable they will always return or they always need somewhere for their descendants.  The Disaporean is always wishing and will on their original home to prosper therefore they want their ideas and a place of their own for that good day.

There will always be an ethnocommunal consciousness which will be more awakened when there is real estate. This real estate converts a diaspora visitor into a diaspora investor. The solidarity between the aspirations of those in the diaspora and those at home for the better putcome of their country is the one thing that makes diaspora want their country to prosper. It is not a good place to straddle 2 places.

Let Homelink shade off its undeserved miasma by not taking shortcuts this time round.  Good uptakes of their products bring a very positive vibe to the economic activity. Someone has to trust the national institutions. But only when they avoid short cuts and play the rules that govern financial services products. These are the same rules that will make the Diaspora take up the Bond.  If one finds themselves taking shortcuts in the financial products journey, then probably that place is not worthy going to as there are no short cuts to a real good destination. If Homelink takes other shortcuts as was done in the past, they will still end up with a pile of mess from which they will never recover.

Zimbabweans wherever they are located want a home in Zimbabwe. They want to work with straightforward companies with prudent ethical practices. There are too many cowboys out there so a State Company that subjects itself to proper regulation would not struggle to get takers. In that regard Homelink have restarted well.  They have now to narrow the gap between their character and their reputation and currently there is a big disparity. They have a reputation their character doesn’t deserve.  Like Shakespeare said, “

Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; often got without merit, and lost without deserving.”