‘Aliens’ to vote” was a catchy headline in a daily paper today. I think these so-called Aliens would rejoice if the headline would read “Aliens exempted from paying tax in Zimbabwe.” After 33 years of independence as a nation should we continue to classify other people under the banner of aliens? Who are these aliens? Are they black or white? Having parents of foreign origin or being born in a foreign land automatically puts one in the bracket of “aliens”. These are people who have been labeled to have no totem at one point and who lived in the squashed urban settlements of Zimbabwe. An operations was launched a couple of years ago to cleanse the urban settlements from “aliens”, but almost 8 years on “aliens” have developed a mentality of resisting in order to exist and to be recognized.
Also if you speak a foreign language with no fixed abode moving from one mine or farm to another looking for menial jobs your ID reflecting “A” you are not spared from the branding either. This alien brand went as far as making those with British roots join the renouncing queue at Registrar General’s Offices. After the economic meltdown of 2008 the even to the so-called original Zimbabweans ran for cover in foreign countries and they became bitter after being treated to the Alien brand which forced them back home. Imagine if you cannot stand to be called alien for four years how about someone who had to endure it for 33 years.
With the referendum over and expectations of new constitution it seems like “aliens” have all of a sudden become a special group which every politician is giving special mention so that their right to vote which was stolen some time back can be restored. For the past 33 years “aliens” have been contributing to Zimbabwe’s economic growth under harsh working conditions in mines, farms, industries, now most these aliens’ children have become educated professionals and are now part of the systems running this great nation. Some of these “aliens” have gone to represent the nation in sports and some have become successful business people and all we have been hearing were praises for Zimbabwe and not “aliens”. These are our brothers and sisters who have been used for so many years to toyi toyi in the street campaigning for various political parties only to be denied that right to vote in an election because they are “aliens”. Even to get travel documents is still a hassle for them because they have to go through a rigorous process of renouncing some foreign citizenship. Election time is the only time when “aliens” get recognition and this time if they are allowed to vote those hopes are high that they will be recognized as Zimbabweans, not space invaders like what some people think.