The Prime Minster of Zimbabwe is on a tour of western capitals to seek $20 billion needed to kick-start Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is broke and if the transitional government that MDC is now part of is to work then money is needed. In blunt terms if you really want Mugabe to go then the Western governments have to start giving this transitional government a chance. Tsvangirai is on his last leg of the tour and on the 19th of June 2009, he arrived in UK. UK is home to over a million Zimbabweans some who have fled Zimbabwe to seek refuge in Britain. It was then arranged that he addresses Zimbabweans at the Southwark Cathedral and he did, the drawback being that his speech was cut short by Rent-A-Crowd boos whose interest is to see Zimbabwe in perpetual turmoil.
At the heart of their grievance is the fact that Tsvangirai uttered the unsaid by asking the exiles to begin considering going back home. You see to these people Tsvangirai should not have entered in the GNU with Mugabe, regardless of the fact that most ordinary Zimbabweans who had born the brunt of this regime at the height of its brutality support this transitional arrangement. A recent poll conducted in Zimbabwe showed that 80% of the population supports it. The GNU has offered people of Zimbabwe some respite albeit on a small scale. Affordability is another issue on its own but clearly there has been progress, food that was empty from shelves not so long ago is now back on the shelves. Schools have re-opened, there is a semblance of normalcy that is returning. Yes there are still human rights issues in Zimbabwe but using the metrics of brutality previously set by Zanu its a little bit better than say just after the announcement of the stolen election. If the people that booed are waiting for a perfect Zimbabwe where everything is as it says on the tin then I one-way tickets for them to Utopia.
See at the heart of the problem is selfishness, if I am okay then I cannot worry about the second person. Its myopic thinking because as a nation our fate is interlinked. I narrated it here before when I was bemoaning the loss of support from the so-called professional Zimbabweans working in UK. The apathy to the long suffering of Zimbabwe is rooted in the belief that as long as I am working then I can support my relatives at home. But can you also provide an ambulance service, even if you buy them that big flat screen TV, you cant buy electricity, you might buy a generator but what of if there is no fuel? The issue of whether MDC joins Zanu PF in a transitional arrangement has never been about us exiles, look we took the easy route out of Zimbabwe, it has and will always be about Zimbabweans back at home.
How does one marry the fact that Morgan is on a tour of Western Capitals to seek financial aid for his fragile government which he is touting to Western governments as making progress then he turn around at the Southwark Cathedral and say its not safe to go back home. No one would have given him any penny had he said that, no that he lied so he could get the money. Around 4-5 million Zimbabweans left home, many educated, with skills that can make a difference to a free Zimbabwe. So it was right for him to ask people to start considering to come back home given how much Zimbabwe has suffered from the brain drain. He never said anyone should pack their bags and catch the same flight he will catch when he returns to Zimbabwe. Considering to go back home is not something that you would do at a fly, but from the boos in the crowd you would think that Tsvangirai had said there is a bus waiting outside to take them to Zimbabwe.
No one is being force to go to Zimbabwe, whether one returns or not is entirely an individual choice. Asylum is a sensitive issue to Zimbabweans, some have been here for donkey years and their claims have not been entertained. But its wrong to think that Tsvangirai's statement would force Home Office to have a blanket policy on Zimbabwe. Asylum cases are decided on an individual basis, no comments or encouragement from Zimbabwe's PM to come back home would jeopardise a genuine case of fear. Half of the time when I have casual discussions with my friends is that they cannot stand living here they moan the Zimbabwe of the yesteryears and wish they could just go back and live their lives.
We met with Tsvangirai later for Dinner he assured us he was under no illusion about the situation in Zimbabwe. He said simply as a person who also born the brunt of the brutality of Mugabe's regime people should give him the benefit of doubt when it comes to the progress of GNU.