Home » Governance » When Baboons Are Called Upon to Protect the Maize Fields [column]

Over the years, South Africa has taken ridiculous and unprincipled stands on Zimbabwe and, most recently, played a key role before, during and after Zimbabwe elections last year.

There is no doubt that the South Africans knew what transpired and everyone knew that the results of those elections did not reflect the proper and honest voting patterns reflected in the nation.

Our elections have always been full of drama. There were always accusations and counter-accusations. We have never really held free and fair elections and there was always acrimony accompanying our elections.

Vote rigging are words that have become synonymous with our elections and there are further accusations that Zimbabwe assisted Namibia, DR Congo and other countries to rig elections there.

So, forgive me for laughing, albeit with strains of anguish in my laughter, at Zimbabwe being invited to observe South Africa’s elections.

I mean, really, whose idea was this?

Misguided ZANU-PF officials are already beating their chests with pride and declaring that the invitation to observe the South African elections was a show of confidence in their government and party.

ZANU-PF’s smart Aleck, Rugare Gumbo, said, “ZANU PF and the ANC have a lengthy history of working together and both are part of the national liberation movements which helped bring freedom to the continent after decades of political and economic subjugation.”

A lengthy history of working together?

There is honour among thieves, after all!

Under current President Jacob Zuma’s watch, ‘Zimbabwe’s general elections were held in 2013, despite Mugabe’s non-compliance and implementation of reforms that Zuma’s team had originally stipulated were necessary.

South Africa went on to endorse those elections, despite widespread reports of irregularities and vote manipulation.

Today, South Africa fools the world by pretending that Zimbabwe’s government is legitimate enough to monitor other people’s elections. What an insult to Zimbabweans!

What an insult to democracy!

South Africa has always been the Public Relations outfit for ZANU-PF. It actually holds Zimbabwe’s deteriorating economy as a model of praise yet companies are closing on a daily basis.

Zimbabwe’s Finance minister has even approached soldiers, of all people, to help with the economy yet we are told that South Africa has a lengthy history of working with ZANU-PF. Is this one of the great ideas they exchanged?

South Africa applauds when Zimbabwe sentences its journalists to prison terms.

It cheers when our journalists are banned from demonstrating with other groups in recognition of World Press Freedom Day.

The absence of an economy and democracy are Zimbabwe’s most important issues today because the economy would cater for the hardships people are facing while the press would help in the promotion of democracy because there cannot be democracy in the absence of a free media.

One thing we know for certain is that receiving stolen property makes the receiver guilty as sin.

In our language, we emphasise this state of affairs as ‘wadziya moto wembavha waba’. So often we participate in activities without noting how our presence associates us with misdemeanours, murders, thefts and all other incorrigible activities that have been committed by other people.

If people always see us in the company of notorious criminals, they are forgiven to brand us as criminals too. Who should trust me if my friends are ones known to terrorise the neighbourhoods?

The heart of the matter is that no country in Africa is as dangerous to democracy as South Africa, a country which, like Zimbabwe did at its independence, lives off the fumes of economic success of former minority rulers. Its mollycoddling of dictators is a matter of public record.

South Africa could be using its status to direct other countries in the proper direction.

But what I fear is what many African countries have gone through only a few years after claiming independence.

We in Zimbabwe wasted a lot of time in self-congratulations, abusive rhetoric, playing to the gallery by spouting useless revolutionary nonsense yet failed to maintain the infrastructure that we inherited.

Slowly, our economy started to suffer and today, we are the worst example of failed economic policies.

South Africa is no different and they are already on the downward slide as Nigeria quietly took pole position as Africa’s largest economy.

South Africa prides itself of its wealth and as being the biggest economy in Africa. It feels superior to other African countries and goes around the continent making wrong decisions affecting other African countries.

I would have thought the conscience of South Africa over the disgraceful role they played in Zimbabwe’s elections last year would be bothering them but, no. The invitation of Zimbabwe to observe their elections is a quid pro quo.

It is payback time.

South Africa wants Robert Mugabe to return the favour. His party has been invited to observe the South African elections and does anyone hope ZANU-PF will announce any foul play if they come across any? (Listen who is talking… Zimbabwe accusing anyone of vote rigging?)

This is a charade, a painful, expensive joke played on the people of both Zimbabwe and South Africa, not to mention Africa.

This is tantamount to employing a baboon to guard a maize field.

How Zimbabwe continues to fool South African leaders is a mystery never meant to be solved.

I am particularly irked by this insult because of what Zimbabwe has gone through and because of the mess our country is in. It is not an exaggeration to say that were it not for South Africa’s interference on the wrong side, our nation might not have ended in this mess. All it takes is a cursory look at what South Africa has done to other African countries and their behaviour in those countries.

We find ourselves flanked by a useless SADC on one side and South Africa on the other and none of them have Zimbabwe’s interests, not to mention the region, at heart.

Zimbabwe has gone through difficult times and the people soldier on in spite of it all but it is the more painful when a neighbour intervenes to cause matters to grow worse.

Zimbabwe must brace itself because South Africa is soon going to pay for being an independent African country. We have gone through this and the clock is ticking for them.

Can any of our neighbours go through what we have gone through? Can anyone be as resilient as Zimbabweans are? It would be an interesting but dangerous situation to see South Africans trooping to Zimbabwe for both political and economic asylum.

Who shall we turn to when friends cheer as we die?

Who shall we count on when a neighbour violates us?

What do children do when their father turns rabid?

We are a troubled nation and ripe for exploitation. As has always been the case, Zimbabweans have always been sacrificed by its leaders who somehow have managed to rope in neighbours in our persecution.

What does a thief do when his loot from a burglary is stolen by another thief? One thing he won’t do is to call the cops!

We are on our own.

I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that, my fellow Zimbabweans, is the way it is today, Monday, May 5th, 2014.

Source : SW Radio Africa