For the astute and analytical Zimbabwean, it was a foregone conclusion that Zanu PF, under its old set-up, would never shift either the political or economic fortunes of a suffering nation like Zimbabwe.
By Learnmore Zuze
This depressing reality has lived with Zimbabweans for almost two decades now.
Palpably, nothing could change as long as the governing party stood in some kind of unison despite prevailing undertones of squabbles.
Its old guard, the war veterans, and liberation war politicians stood like a colossus before a hapless nation.
Nothing could happen to the revolutionary party as long as it somehow stuck together with the youths and other institutions sheepishly toeing the line of elders.
It is no wonder that in the last 17 years Zimbabweans have ranted and raved, denigrated the government, cursed and kicked, but with no headway.
Some, realising the robust stature of the animal they were trying to fight, left the country en massé.
Even at a time in 2008 when Zanu PF clearly lost elections to the main opposition MDC-T, still an aura of invincibility could be felt about the party.
It remained unthinkable that anyone else could occupy the presidency.
Some have even lambasted MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai for having shied away from power after winning the 2008 election when he fled to Botswana instead.
To an extent, the man, I am convinced, also suffered the same trauma experienced by many Zimbabweans — that the current administration can never truly leave power.
Zanu PF represented a complex machine characterised by intricate parts that one could only watch helplessly while praying for its mystical demise one day.
Concerns are rife regarding the perceived militarisation of government institutions and that the fingers of the ruling party are virtually in all sectors.
How then could anyone think of successfully dislodging such a system?
Today, however, we are witnessing something that was simply unconceivable only two months ago.
While the discord could be felt between wartime cadres and the new generation of politicians in Zanu PF, no one thought that symbolic figures of the liberation struggle like former Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa could be thrown out of the party with such rapidity and ruthlessness.
None thought that the war veterans, who had been the icons of Zanu PF rule, could one day, represent some loathed group of elderly people shouting with disgruntlement on the sidelines.
Who ever thought that war veterans could be teargassed by the ZRP someday?
Who would ever associate the name of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru with the opposition?
Whoever envisaged the feared Mnangagwa, the man who insisted that Zanu PF would rule forever, fleeing through the borders by ordinary means?
A myriad of happenings we see today were stuff for dreams in the past.
Even further, does anyone remember the all too infamous statement by a number of war generals that they would never salute any leader without liberation war credentials? This was in apparent reference to Tsvangirai.
This, for many Zimbabweans, was so depressing seeing, as it is, that despite Tsvangirai’s overwhelming popularity and victory, the supposed beacon of the country’s security was unwilling to respect the will of the people.
By denying Tsvangirai’s candidature and right to lead, it effectively meant a supplanting of the people’s will. It meant the clear absence of the purported democracy.
But what could people do in the face of such declarations? What could other nations do to a sovereign country except watch and curse?
The system was so impermeable that everyone felt powerless over the possibility of untangling it.
But fast forward to November 2017, could this be the beginning of a rebirth of Zimbabwe arising from the current chaos. It is now an open secret that the wartime cadres are now isolated.
First Lady Grace Mugabe has taken the centre stage. Her influence can be felt everywhere.
She has, through her controversial actions and utterances, managed to do what would have been an impossible task for any opposition in Zimbabwe. The discord in the party can now be heard loud and clear.
The question, naturally, that should be asked to the generals who vowed that they would never salute a leader without war credentials is how will they deal with the beckoning possibility of a Grace vice-presidency?
Others have chided these generals for being vocal when it came to Tsvangirai, but today remain inanely out of place with this impending reality.
It is in this light that a rebirth of Zimbabwe may be forming. What is happening is good for the opposition.
The fight over the years was to stop the “privatisation” of the country by those who fought in the war of liberation. Today, this reality is upon us.
While Grace may be judged harshly for many inane things she has done, current developments, which form a major political inroad, can be squarely credited to her.
Her actions will assist to make the political playing field even. Grace could easily prove to be the conduit needed to right Zimbabwean politics.
If she is elevated to the Zanu PF vice-presidency at the ruling party’s congress, then exciting days are ahead.
Can Zimbabwe experience a rebirth from this chaos?