HARARE – Zimbabweans were yesterday shocked by new threats from Zanu PF Harare provincial political commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe to expel all Indian nationals from Zimbabwe.
The threats were accompanied by the kind of worrying rhetoric which threatens to place the ruling party in the same league as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin who hounded out the Asian population in the 70s through similar racial and economic unrest.
The Zanu PF Harare South MP said on Facebook: “Something must be done with this Indian community in Zimbabwe.
“Firstly, they don’t bank their money, secondly, they don’t develop their estates, and thirdly they don’t want to marry our sisters, fourthly, before independence they used to be given special treatment as compared to blacks.”
The Indian embassy was not immediately available for comment over the weekend, but the small community has by and large maintained cordial relations with locals.
By setting its sights on expelling the Indians, Zanu PF appears to be following the well-trodden — but largely discredited — path of Africanisers such as Amin and Mobuto Sese Seko of Zaire.
Amin’s deportation of about 50 000 UK passport-holding South Asians in 1972 failed to bring promised prosperity, and saw the collapse of the commercial sector.
Meanwhile, the economic outcome of Mobutism was the wholesale plunder of Congo’s resources by the ruling elite.
This comes as President Robert Mugabe has increasingly leaned on India and China after being shunned by Western trade and financial partners.
They have been put off by concern over human rights and alleged fraud in elections won by the president and his Zanu PF party.
Speaking at the 11th Zimbabwe International Research Symposium on Friday, Mugabe said more than 23 percent of Zimbabweans were now earning a living through the SME sector and must follow India’s example.
“With success stories having already been recorded around the globe, in China and India for example, there is no need to reinvent the wheel on SMEs development.
“This is especially so given the sound relationship between Zimbabwe and India, especially in the SMEs sector, ICTs, energy, education and the pharmaceutical sectors,” Mugabe said.