ZANU PF U.K is the progressive chapter of ZANU PF headquartered in Zimbabwe. We are creating a forum for democratic participation by those in the UK, is visible, responsive and accessible, informed and proactive; an arena for democratic dialogue in which all Zimbabweans work towards a common agenda. This blog is for all Zimbabweans who want their voices to be heard.
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
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
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
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
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
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