Is the climate change burden ours to bear?  

by | Nov 9, 2021 | Opinions | 0 comments

Munyaradzi wekwa Chivi

I saw somewhere, a post by Mpho Lakaje, a journalist, complaining about power outages.

Well, the post could literally have been about any African country but this one was about South Africa.


Lakaje spoke of how he got stuck in traffic because traffic lights were not working, almost missing his Visa application appointment, again he missed his ZOOM meeting because there was a power outage affecting internet connectivity.

To make matters worse, camera batteries cannot be charged meaning no work for that day.

The generator could not be used because it was raining in Johannesburg.

Well, he asked something that got me worried: How do you explain all this to your colleagues outside of South Africa?

Let me extend and ask; How does Africa explain anything to the outside world?


Recently there was a COP26 meeting in Glasgow, Scotland.

It was a Climate Change Conference.

There was much excitement about the meeting and Zimbabwe was a participant. I don’t have anything about Africa and more-so Zimbabwe being part of these global showcases but I do have a problem with Africa having terms dictated to it by those responsible for most of the ills that have affected the whole world.


First and foremost, Africa is not a contributor to Climate Change.

If anything, our contribution put together is not even a tenth of one of the biggest carbon dioxide emitters in the World.

We are in this climate change abyss not because of anything that we as Africa have done.

The depletion of the Ozone layer is not of our making. The only thing that we as Africans have done is cutting down trees for firewood.


But soft, before we even blame us for chopping down a few trees for firewood, lets get to who actually caused us to chop down the trees in such a manner.

Before the pale skins came to Africa, we never had to cut down trees for firewood.

We went after the old trees that were falling down all on their own.

They came, they moved us to reserves, stripped vast tracts of land of any vegetation.

They turned these into farms, introduced foreign cultivars of shrubbery and trees which not only killed local flora and fauna but decimated the ecosystem and made certain creatures extinct.


Africans did not hunt down all their game for trophies, hell, we didn’t even go to anyone’s continent.

We stayed on our lands, co-existed with the flora and fauna.

The land fed us, we protected it.

We understood God’s instruction on land: “Neither shall the inheritance remove from one tribe to another tribe; but every one of the tribes of the children of Israel shall keep to his own inheritance.”


So we defended the land, looked after it, guarded it jealously.

We understood that animals had to be allowed to roam the forests, forests were allowed to regenerate after sometime, hunting was for food not pleasure.

Then entered the pale-skins and they nearly wiped out some animals.

Today, it is the same people who do not have a single gemsbok who want to tell us how to preserve same, people without a single lion in the wild or elephant who want to teach us about hunting quotas.

They will even call us poachers if we hunt our animals.

But, soft, I divert too much; today my harangue is over how African countries were quick to pledge to the COP26 emission concessions, without using the platform to bargain.

China and Russia are among the biggest carbon emitters but both Their Excellencies Preidents Xi Jinping and Vladmir Putin of the two countries respectively did not attend COP26.

Their prepared speeches make any COP26 pledges.

While they showed such resoluteness, African countries with little or no capacity to make any serious carbon emission each made a pledge to reduce or end carbon emission! Which emissions pray tell?


China, The United States of America, India, Russia, Japan and Western Europe are the biggest producers of Carbon Dioxide.

These are the most industrialised nations. They are solely responsible for most of the carbon emissions and the depletion of the ozone layer and therefore climate change. The climate change that is affecting the rest of the world, especially third world countries, Africa included can be traced back to these nations.


Chopping firewood cannot be blamed for climate change. As a matter of fact, lets protect our natural forests and be responsible but avoid taking responsibility that is not ours as Africans.

How can we be pledging to green economies when we still need to extract our minerals to fund our economic growth and expansion?

Why are who depend on coal for power production committing to expensive alternatives when we have vast coalfields?


Zimbabwe is under sanctions.

African Union and Southern African Development Community have called for the lifting of sanctions and Europe and the USA have ignored.

Should we not have been holding the pledging to end carbon emission as a bargaining chip?

How is it that we fell over each other to please the whites?

How do we as Zimbabwe pledge to such a pact when we are expanding Hwange Power Station to the tune of $1 billion dollars?

We borrow so much money to expand our power production only to want to shut it down?

How does that work really? We are expected, without any multilateral support to fund the green economies to reduce carbon emission?

With the sanctions weighing heavily on our neck we make such a commitment?



If it were up to me, I would have been campaigning for the biggest emitters to pay huge fines to the developing world, Africa and Zimbabwe included for killing our people through their negligence.

I would even ask for colonial reparations while at it!

Meanwhile our countries are suffering from power outages but we do not have any nuclear reactors, we never test fired any nuclear weapons nor did we drop any on any nation.

The power outages affect our ability to do business and hence our economies suffer but we are busy taking on responsibility for First World faults!

Honestly, what does Zimbabwe emit that can significantly cause climate change?

We need to ask ourselves questions, even if they are tough.