They have prepared themselves – made a plan as it were. But the people the Vigil worry most about are those who have been led to believe that Mugabe is semi-divine. And it is clear there are many of them. For them the loss will be cataclysmic.
Mugabe has gone to see his doctors in Singapore twice in the last few weeks so it is clear that he is about to take leave of us. We must be brave. Others have gone through similar trauma. We remember the mass hysteria in North Korea at the departure of the Great Leader Kim Jong Il, whose people had been led to believe that he could never get ill. Scenes of public grief were broadcast around the world. Zimbabweans must show we are made of sterner stuff.
We expect Harare to come to even more of a halt when the great transition occurs. So outside help will be urgently required to minimise grief-related suicides and post-traumatic stress disorders.
To do our bit, we in the diaspora are appealing to the United Nations to prepare to send teams of bereavement counsellors who could fan out across the country. Para-psychotherapists could even be air-dropped in remote areas.
The Vigil’s approach is two-pronged. We have also written to the American Ambassador in London urging the US to oppose any IMF / World Bank loans to Zimbabwe until the situation is clarified. Surely no-one wants the money to end up in the wrong hands?
Here is our letter:
Dear Ambassador Barzun
With the Mugabe regime nearing its end, Zimbabwean exiles in the UK wish to convey our reservations about the apparent readiness of the International Monetary Fund to advance new loans to Zimbabwe.
We ask what purpose this financial injection will serve when there is no clear idea of who will receive the money? We draw your attention to the latest index of economic freedom which concludes that Zimbabwe remains one of the most repressed economies in the world due to rampant corruption and government mismanagement (see: https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2016/03/26/zim-one-of-africa-s-poorest-economies?src=ilaw).
We urge the United States to take the advice of Bob Corker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who called on President Obama to prevent new lending to Zimbabwe unless there is meaningful progress to restore the rule of law and improve human rights (see: https://www.foreign.senate.gov/press/chair/release/corker-no-new-lending-to-zimbabwe-without-meaningful-reform).
We draw your attention to the recent report by the International Crisis Group which expresses doubts that the ruling Zanu PF party can ‘walk the talk’ of reform.
The Vigil believes that any financial help to prop up the odious Zanu PF regime will simply prolong the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe.