I like straight talkers. Maybe that is one of the reasons I enjoy listening to Barack Obama. I find our politics here in South Africa a little long winded and filled with meaningless waffle. Our politicians sometimes appear to be talking sense but if one listens carefully they are generally saying a lot without meaning a thing! If they do attempt straight talking it is defensive or attacking their opposition without any basis to their claims which to me appears to be playground tactics.
On Wednesday, while watching the evening news I had a moment where I wanted to stand up, raise my fist and ululate! Graca Machel, wife of Former President Nelson Mandela, was speaking at the launch of “Save Zimbabwe Now” and she called it like it is. (See here for the news report.)
“Politicians have very huge egos to protect. They don’t care if another thousand, another thousand and another thousand die, as long as they protect their egos.”
SADC (Southern African Development Community), after the Zimbabwean Elections, held in March, told the world to leave Africa to solve Africa’s problems. Well it’s 10 months on and they haven’t solved a thing allowing Zimbabwe to unravel. I can’t understand how the leaders of Zimbabwe’s neighbouring countries could allow this to happen! For me, a South African, I worry that should anything go wrong in my country who will help us? Because if this is the help that is out there then I am afraid it stands that African Leaders are only out to look after their own interests and not that of the common man.
Graca Machel stated;
“I want to say to the leadership who are in government in Zimbabwe… a government must protect its citizens… it’s how you treat your own citizens, that’s where your legitimacy comes from.
“It [the Zimbabwean government] has lost completely any kind of legitimacy. “
Robert Mugabe has been in power now for 20 odd years and yet he continues to blame ‘ the West’ and colonialism for the state of his country. He constantly projects his failures onto Britain and it is time that he stops trying to hide behind the skirts of ‘colonialism’ and face the consequences of his actions. In Zimbabwe there is little electricity and clean running water, not enough food, not enough money, no medical services and the children of Zimbabwe face a prospect of no education. Due to the countries failing public works the country now faces cholera outbreaks which are spilling over into Zimbabwe’s neighbouring countries.
Graca Machel hit the nail on the head when she stated;
“This is not normal. This is a lesson to our region. We came together to liberate ourselves, but now [we see] that power can pervert you to become precisely the opposite of what led you to become a freedom fighter.
“This is a lesson to other liberation movements in our region,” said Machel.
To fight for freedom, in the past, here in Africa, was black fighting white but I think it is time for the leaders of SADC to realise that a new fight is emerging and that is to ensure that African countries practice the democracy that they fought so hard for. Democracy is not about race, it is about rights!
Many are starting a 21 day fast in a bid to highlight the plight of Zimbabweans, I just hope that their efforts are not invain as it seems that the SADC Leaders are so preoccupied with self preservation that they may not take notice. Afterall, they have managed to ignore the voices of the people of Zimbabwe since March 2008 .
SADC will meet again on Monday here is South Africa, I am hoping that in those meetings the needs of the Zimbabwean people will be met. If we can’t hope, what do we have left?