guest column: Learnmore Zuze
The ascendency to power of incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa seemed to have some tinge of divine elements.
Having been hounded out of government and relentlessly persecuted by the impulsive and garrulous former First Lady, Grace Mugabe, and her G-40 cohorts, Mnangagwa’s rebound read like a fairy tale.
For the first time, as Mnangagwa assumed the reins of power, we saw and heard people who had passionately loathed Zanu PF take a flattering look at the party.
Many people, including politicians who had set up their own projects, quietly packed their stuff and notified the world that they were re-joining the “reformed” revolutionary
In its infancy, Mnangagwa’s rule was filled to the brim with concrete hope.
The world as a whole was done with former President Robert Mugabe’s caustic tongue, with the old man bashing fellow world leaders and isolating his country in the process.
Mugabe would insult other presidents on international forums with reckless abandon.
As for Zimbabweans, both within and outside the country, they had waited for the amelioration of their suffering for decades and here was what seemed to be solid hope.
On his part, Mnangagwa did not disappoint. Touching ground, he immediately launched into an admirable narrative, spitting the exact words that Zimbabweans wanted to hear.
The President did not preach hatred, neither was he vindictive against his tormentors.
Instead, he spoke of reviving the economy. He spoke of the reconstruction of Zimbabwe and the openness of Zimbabwe to business.
The first few weeks of Mnangwa’s rule were as good as they lasted.
However, fast forward to this day, there is little doubt in the minds of majority Zimbabweans and the world in general that the post-Mugabe era has not been as fruitful as people had envisaged.
By now, everyone who had wondered what the post-Mugabe era would feel like has an ugly reality dawning on their minds; the hardships are not relenting; the investment isn’t
coming and the industries can’t be revived.
The current government has practically lost the credibility and goodwill it enjoyed after Mugabe’s departure.
The following three things have sapped confidence in the current government.
Firstly, the government has continued on the path of brutal tactics, trampling on the rights of its citizens through one-sided arrests and general retributive behaviour
against perceived opponents.
It did not require the wisdom of angels or erudite volumes of political science to restore faith in the country by upholding human rights as is the case in democracies around
The events of August 1, 2018 were probably the last straw that broke the camel’s back, when six people were confirmed dead after the army opened fire on unarmed civilians.
Further, the mass arrests that followed and selective application of the law had the world and everyone stopping dead to the realisation that the retributive behaviour synonymous with the old regime of Mugabe was still intact.
The final nail in the coffin was the brutal response to the fuel protests last month, where 17 people reportedly died from gunshot wounds.
It is at this stage that most in the international world raised a red flag. Zimbabwe was far from being a democracy after all.
It did not cost a dime to maintain confidence by upholding democratic values and tolerating people’s view to dissent.
Secondly, and more importantly, the present government has failed dismally to mend the economy.
In fact, if the government had failed to improve the economy from the state it was before its coming into power, at least the government should have left things in the order
they were in before.
This is a consensus among many; it is a shared feeling that the current regime should have, at the very least, not disturbed what Mugabe had left in place.
With just slightly over one year in power, prices of basic commodities have ballooned to unprecedented levels.
Bread, milk, meat, among others, have become expensive luxuries.
The ultimate blow was the contentious increase in fuel, which pushed everything up.
Even more, the government continues with the demolishing of structures used for petty businesses by hard-pressed Zimbabweans to support themselves.
In the absence of employment, people have been selling since Mugabe’s era and here the government has lost goodwill and confidence.
Lastly, failure to phase out the bond notes has not inspired confidence at all.
It is now clear for all to see that the continued existence of the bond note is closely linked to the agony of Zimbabweans.
The surrogate currency has heightened the disparity stemming from the differences with the United States dollar.
The bond notes and the three tier pricing system have fuelled the suffering of Zimbabweans, clearly showing the government’s tactical failings.
As it stands, Zimbabweans await a new day, as the late Edwin Hama sang.
The Zimbabwean situation aptly describes the proverbial utterance “from the pan into the fire”.