By Fred Nyamhunga | Zimbabwe’s human rights are shocking, appalling, and downright embarrassing. The country’s image is now associated with police brutality, the country’s military unashamedly shooting its citizens in broad daylight in the full glare of international cameras, beating and raping women even female Members of Parliament. From 1890 to the present-day the country has been in perpetual conflict with itself.
Tremendous sacrifices have been made by many to halt the pillaging of the country’s resources by the few elite. However, with each election since 1980, the nation slides further into the abyss, the list of carnage grows longer and propaganda reaches fever pitch. The big question, what will bring lasting change for the majority of jobless, poverty-stricken masses?
Maybe, the power lies with those who don’t reside there anymore – the Diaspora. Yes, the Diaspora don’t have a vote that could change anything, but they can influence it!
It is no disputed that Diaspora remittances approximate US$1billion per annum. That’s a lot of dough for a desperate regime! And a lot of latent power for those who hold it but don’t how effective it can be! Have you ever wondered what would happen if this forgotten constituency decided to use their vote by withholding their remittances for three to six months?
I can see folks throwing stones at me already. Wait! Hear me out. The argument will be that we are hurting those its meant to help. Isn’t that the same argument used in the sanctions debate?
Yes, agreed. Remittances are a lifeblood for the majority of families and relatives who have been impoverished by their masters. But the remittances have the unintended benefit of being the government’s lifeline too! Look at how the foreign exchange rules have changed each time the nation’s budget explodes. Listen to the shrills from those quarters, and you will know when you hit a nerve.
Undoubtedly, short term suffering for long term gain should be a wise choice. What hasn’t been tried? “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Nothing changes if nothing changes. Inaction perpetuates pain. Evil spreads in darkness.
It won’t be long before #holdbackyourdollar becomes a rallying call in the Diaspora unless something changes
Have you ever heard the story of Rosa Parks? She helped spark the civil rights movement in the United States when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus in 1955. She had had enough of being degraded by a system she daily toiled to preserve. That simple decision to claim her deserved right snowballed and unleashed the civil rights movements that ushered in new hope and light for the black.
A quick history lesson. At that time in the United States, segregation was law, so the front of a Montgomery bus was reserved for white passengers and the seats behind them for black citizens. On Thursday, December 1, 1955, the 42-year-old Rosa Parks was commuting when a white man had no seat because all the seats in the designated “white” section were taken. The driver told the black people seated in the first row of the “coloured” section to give up their seats for the white man. Three black people gave up their seats with the exception of Rosa Parks. Of course, she was arrested and harassed, but her actions were a game-changer. This act of defiance inspired the leaders of the local black community which immediately swung into action and organized the now-famous Montgomery Bus Boycott led by a young Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
The day the Diaspora recognizes the power in his/her hands (#holdbackyourdollar) and decides to use it en mass in exchange for proper governance and human rights then the ground will shake
Never underestimate the power in your hands. I dare you!
What are we waiting for? If not now, then when.
Picture of Rosa Parks in Montgomery 1955