As the nation of Zimbabwe celebrated independence in 1980, the Tanzanian president, Julius Nyerere dispensed words of profound wisdom to our then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe.
“You have inherited a jewel,” Nyerere said, referring to the new nation state of Zimbabwe. “Keep it that way.”
While the Tanzanian leader spoke metaphorically, a mineral rush, starting in 2006, should have turned Nyerere’s perceived jewel into a semblance of reality. But by the time the Chiadzwa diamonds were discovered, Zimbabwe’s image as a jewel had become exceedingly tarnished.
This happened mainly through failure on the part of President Mugabe’s government to satisfactorily manage the national economy or to generally administer Zimbabwe’s affairs of state.
One inexorable symptom of our jewel’s diminishing lustre over the past three years has been the failure of the Government of National Unity to run our national affairs without foreign intervention.
This has resulted in a syndrome of relentless dependence on the assumed aptitude of neighbouring countries to solve our political problems. As a result, Zimbabwe has assumed the semblance of a political appendage of Sadc, as it turns to the regional organisation for solutions to even the most banal of our predicaments, especially political.
It is as if the GNU has abdicated its power and authority to Sadc, notwithstanding the unmistakable preponderance of men and women of extraordinary academic achievement and discernible political acumen within its ranks.
While South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and even Portuguese speaking Mozambique have benefited from the arrival of Zimbabweans with their multitude of talents and skills, when it comes to political decision-making, Zimbabwe bows to the assumed superiority of politicians in neighbouring states. South Africa, the greatest beneficiary of Zimbabwean academic qualifications and professional skills, has become our greatest benefactor when it comes to cross-border political maneuvering.
Take the current Welshman Ncube/Arthur Mutambara power tug-of-war. Our own government failed dismally to make a resolute decision on this particular fiasco; that was until Sadc came to their rescue in Maputo two weeks ago.
So much for the jewel that President Julius Nyerere dreamt about.