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Banana Says Zimbabwe Won't Develop Unless Violence is Eradicated

  • Gibbs Dube

Nathan Sipho Banana with his brothers posing for a photo. (Photo By Nathan Sipho Banana)

Nathan Sipho Banana with his brothers posing for a photo. (Photo By Nathan Sipho Banana)

The son of Zimbabwe’s first post-independence late president, Canaan Banana, says Zimbabwe will never develop unless political violence is eradicated.

Nathan Sipho Banana told VOA Studio 7 in an exclusive interview that the violence, which has gripped the country since independence, has devastated many lives.

“As long as there is violence it will be hard to develop a better Zimbabwe,” said Banana, adding that he has “nothing against the president of Zimbabwe,” whose government jailed his father after he was charged with 11 counts of sodomy and related issues.

“Obviously he (President Robert Mugabe) has his faults and he has his friends. If we can start fighting political violence in Zimbabwe and eradicate it from our systems we can start talking as Zimbabweans on equal terms without any need to instill fear in each other’s arenas.

“There is need to improve on those areas if we are to move forward as a country.”

Banana said he does not have any ambition to carry on with his late father’s political vision.

“He had a responsibility which he felt passionately about. I have been involved in several projects … I have done volunteer work. I had a non-governmental organization in the United Kingdom where we were supplying school equipment to schools in Bulawayo, Marondera and some in Harare. But due to the UK recession I have had to shutdown that NGO due to lack of funds,” he said.

Banana said he is currently involved in several business projects in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

He believes that Zimbabweans should work together to transform the nation into Africa’s bread basket.

“I think we can all contribute in different forms. There is a lot of opportunity in Zimbabwe for those with access to capital. A lot of people are crying about lack of capital to expand their businesses.

“Those outside are fearful of the environment in terms of security but you can move around freely … There are several roadblocks around and everything else. I think when you get into business you have to take risks and I appeal to all the young people out there, those who are ready and I know most of them have young families and are concerned about leaving those families and coming back home, to just visit (the country) and assess the situation.”

Banana added that, “it’s not a case of forcing people to come back home but if you can just come and visit and see what is on the ground on their own and we will start building bridges …”

He said Zimbabwe’s socio-economic and political environment would not improve if everyone just shies away, hoping that some politician or special individual would come and save the nation.

He noted that he is mainly interested in business activities than politics. “But I cannot say firmly that I will be in politics in the near future. But it will depend … Politics is about people. It will depend on people’s choices. If people feel I am ready for it and if I feel I am ready for it maybe I will go into politics.

His late father played a key role in the liberation of Zimbabwe from British rule.