The year is 2018 and the spotlight is on a small country in Southern Africa called Zimbabwe. It is exactly 38 years since the republic of Zimbabwe was established after more than 90 years of British colonialism.
OPINION by OBERT GUTU
The living standards of the majority of the people who live in the republic has been decimated by decades of authoritarian misrule, rampant corruption in high society and a debilitating and chronic deficit in food and agricultural production.
The whole nation is on tenterhooks. There is a wind of rabid anxiety and morbid exasperation blowing through the republic; from north to south and from east to west. Everything that can go wrong has since gone wrong.
The date for the next harmonised elections has just been announced and a new era is about to begin. This is Zimbabwe; the promised land. And we are Zimbabweans; the chosen people.
The election campaign has been vigorous, exhausting and extremely flamboyant.
Social media has been abuzz with all sorts of electioneering gimmicks; not forgetting the slandering and mudslinging as well as the toxic obsession with what is happening in leading politicians’ private lives.
Numerous fly-by-night political parties have all thrown their hats into the ring in this make-or-break Presidential election.
One Egypt Dzinemunhenzva has, once again, come out of political hibernation and he has declared himself a Presidential candidate. This guy has never ceased to amaze me!
Even one Jacob Ngarivhume of Transform Zimbabwe has entered the Presidential race. All the contesting political parties are promising Zimbabwean voters heaven on earth.
The “revolutionary party” has virtually split and they have not agreed on a single Presidential candidate. The old man has since announced his retirement from active politics.
Years of vicious and acrimonious factional fighting have rendered this once mighty “revolutionary party” a virtual lame duck.
The Presidential election race is heading for a breath-taking photo finish. Seasoned and veteran political analysts are all agreed that the Presidential election race is too close to call.
The air of political excitement is palpable.
Oranges have since dried up and the little that is left of the orange orchard is just but a small gathering of political turncoats; battered black and blue by years of vicious personality clashes and conflicting and inflated personal egos.
The labour-backed political party has been re-invigorated and galvanised. There has been amazing organisational re-alignment and re-configuration. Even the party policies and slogans have been jazzed up and they are now more pragmatic, more appealing and indeed, more meaningful. It is now or never.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has undergone structural and organisational renewal.
The militarised secretariat has been retired and a new look team is now in charge of running all national elections.
A brand new, bio-metric national voters’ roll has been compiled and the toxic partisan political propaganda that used to be routinely churned out by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation radio and television stations is now a thing of the past.
A few truly independent radio and television stations have been licenced and one Tafataona Mahoso has been retired from the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.
Even our long-serving Commissioner-General of Police has taken his long overdue retirement package.
Tobaiwa Mudede has also retired from the Registry of Births and Deaths Office and he is now holed up at his farm where he is concentrating on pursuing his number one passion — hunting. He is even boasting that recently he shot dead a buffalo from a distance of 200 metres!
2018 is going to re-configure and re-shape the political architecture of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe will never be the same again.
Even the military commanders and the intelligence service top dogs have all agreed that a “New Zimbabwe” beckons and that there is no turning back.
The judiciary has been shaken up in a big way and in fact, a new Chief Justice has since been sworn into office. Corrupt politicians (including some long-serving cabinet ministers), have been arrested on charges of corruption and criminal abuse of office.
They are now doing time at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison and their ill-gotten assets have been confiscated by the State.
The civil service has been streamlined and Mariyawanda Nzuwa is now enjoying his pension at his farm.
The vilification and maligning of political opponents has now been abandoned by all the print and electronic media; across the political divide.
Voters are being persuaded to objectively analyse the various policies and ideologies of the competing political parties.
Even traditional leaders have regained their long lost respect and they are no longer being viewed as puppets and lackeys of the ruling political elite.
Multiple farm owners have been identified and all those Zimbabweans who genuinely want to engage in farming can now freely access land and loans from financial institutions.
Land is no longer a dead asset that was once used as an electioneering tool. There is security of tenure on the farms and thousands of Zimbabweans who had sought economic refuge in the Diaspora are, slowly but surely, trickling back home. A new political dispensation is decidedly on the horizon.
Although the Zimbabwe national football team has failed to make it to the 2018 Fifa World Cup to be held in Russia, there is a definite and distinct possibility that the Warriors of Zimbabwe will be there at the 2022 Fifa World Cup to be held in Qatar.
The Sables of Zimbabwe are now causing havoc in global rugby circles and even Tendai “The Beast” Mutawarira, who used to play for the Springboks of South Africa, has decided to come back home and is now intricately involved in the Sables’ preparations for the next Rugby World Cup to be held in 2019.
Things have never looked this good. The Zimbabwe national cricket team is now back to its glory days and they are even giving the Proteas of South Africa a very good run for their money.
2018 is a defining year, whichever way you look at it.
This is a futuristic foray into the “New Zimbabwe” that we all desire to live in. We are sick and tired of political bickering and mud-slinging across the political divide.
We don’t want to continue to be bothered by “dwarfs in huge robes”.
Like a crocodile, we have been lying patiently for a very long time. But it is now time to strike.
And in typical crocodile fashion, once we strike; we strike to eat and devour our prey. We don’t take any prisoners. And indeed; we don’t kill for fun; just like a crocodile. We kill to eat.
Welcome to 2018! Welcome to a New Zimbabwe! The country will never be the same again.
Obert Gutu is an international corporate legal consultant with Gutu & Chikowero Attorneys-at-Law based in Harare, Zimbabwe. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.gutulaw.co.zw