When reports reached this country about thousands of Zimbabweans in cruise ships and heading back to their country from overseas, President Mnangagwa said the diasporans were welcome back home as they were part of us.
But reverse the bromide of the President’s love and his outstretched welcoming hand to receive the returnees and you might be shocked to discover that the hearts of some, if not many of the people in point are pregnant with a loathing for the Zanu-PF Government, fed and nourished particularly by those governments that imposed economic sanctions to try to remove Zanu-PF from power as punishment for the land reform programme which resulted in the restoration of that God-endowed asset stolen from our people during colonialism.
Zimbabweans who have constantly listened to foreign radio stations, particularly the Voice of America Studio 7 (for Zimbabwe), will confirm that Zimbabweans, especially those in self-exile overseas, have repeatedly spoken against any measures back home by the incumbent Government, apparently to try to ingratiate the diasporans with their host governments whose economic lockdowns have virtually ruined Zimbabwe’s economic fortunes.
These people, being sent back home or returning voluntarily after Covid-19 wiped off their jobs there may, on stepping on Zimbabwean soil, not wear facemasks but some will carry in their hearts masked “holier than thou” attitudes as though the diaspora were a replica of Heaven where God, our Holy Creator, dwells.
Now their true colours politically or otherwise may want to manifest themselves when the returnees come face to face with the prevailing economic and social realities on the ground —witness atrociously high consumer prices, with for instance, a loaf of bread which is a daily requirement for both the poor and the rich costing an atrocious ZWL$53, not to mention long queues of people buying food provisions for their families with unemployment a serious aggravation of life caused by the effects of the illegal economic lockdown.
(Daily rushes by our people to the parallel market for the greenback in our urban areas obviously speaks eloquently for a need by the powers that be to re-introduce a basket of mixed currencies while the Zim dollar, whose buying power has seriously been eroded by inflation, regains its breath to give vitality to our beleaguered economy.)
If some of the returnees head back to the countryside where their umbilical cords are interred — hunger due to drought which blighted food crops, will make these people wish to go back to the diaspora where they may have left some of their savings intact just in case they went back to the diaspora.
Confronted by these and other challenges, returnees are likely to fall in the waiting safety nets of political opponents of Zanu-PF.
When returnee political lackeys of foreign powers still intent on regime change also swell the ranks of the political organisations opposed to Zanu-PF, the relative peace and calm being enjoyed now in spite of the economic and social challenges, might become a proverb.
Now since there is no other country Zimbabweans may call their own, it behoves on every uninverted patriot to run to the defence of this fort, the only place we call home.
In the circumstances, it may not be out of place for this communicologist to suggest to the powers-that-be that our security forces be put on alert to defend the freedom and sovereignty of this nation in the event that the country’s foreign enemies precipitate Armageddon to try to restore postmodern colonialism in the motherland.
It is also imperative that in view of the sharp increase in positive coronavirus cases being recorded, adequate and well equipped quarantine centres are provided to deal with the huge influx of returnees from countries that have been seriously affected by Covid-19.
It was reported recently that as many as 400 Malawian returnees from South Africa had escaped from Kamuzu stadium being used as a quarantine centre and that a massive hunt for them was underway.
Here in our country reports of people running away from quarantine centres has inspired fear in Government and the general public that the escapees pose greater risk of spreading the coronavirus which is yet to be put under control.
Returnees from overseas flooding a country with inadequate infrastructure to control the spread of Covid-19 might pose gargantuan health challenges with solutions difficult to contemplate.
Above all, this communicologist — having lived and plied his professional trade abroad and toured with an eagle’s eye most of the overseas countries where most of the returnees were hibernating and observed human relations and other conditions obtaining in those countries — can state with all humility that east, west, north, south and Zimbabwe, home is best.
Which requires collective rather than divided efforts to keep our country in that top order.