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Darfur on our doorstep

7 August 2007

Does President Thabo Mbeki really think that there can be free and fair elections in Zimbabwe with the opposition being persecuted, and the brightest and best citizens living in exile?

It is the pretence that nothing is wrong in Zimbabwe that leads to the mistreatment of Zimbabwean refugees. in South Africa. When South Africa had megalomaniacs like Vorster and PW Botha in charge, other countries welcomed and cared for our refugees and exiles. Now Mugabe is a megalomaniac every bit as bad as Vorster and Botha, and perhaps South Africa could at least show a bit more sympathy for the victims.

When Mugabe goes, someone will have to try to clean up the mess he has left, and to restore freedom and democracy. And that someone will have to be the returning exiles, if there is anything left for them to return to.

As Methodist Bishop Paul Verryn says,

“Clearly something is wrong in Zimbabwe. No right-thinking individual would leave a decent life, abandon normalcy and choose to come here where they have nothing and are treated so badly.” The Bishop added that many of the refugees he speaks to are highly qualified, highly skilled people that can contribute greatly to any society. He described the petition as a moment of great privilege and an opportunity.

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