guest column:Learnmore Zuze
The reality of it is inescapable; whether one is a child, youth or an adult, we all feel it. The intensity of the impact may differ from person to person depending on circumstances but generally Zimbabwe is a country in flames with no hint of a remedy in sight.
But rewind to slightly over two years ago when the entire nation stood in unison against former President Robert Mugabe’s rule which had his wife Grace at the centre of things and you wonder how Zimbabwe has further sunk in an abyss.
Grace was probably the most loathed person alive at one time in Zimbabwe. What with her garrulous nature and incomprehensible lack of tact. It was clear she was behind the illogical decisions made by the now late Mugabe at the end of his reign.
It was unfathomable that anything could be worse than what Zimbabweans were enduring under Grace and Mugabe. It is no wonder why the disgrace and ouster of Mugabe was a collective effort but today Zimbabweans simply can’t make sense of the pathetic reality of their situation after Mugabe’s demise.
At the end of this month, Zimbabwe will mark exactly 26 months after the departure of Mugabe from power before his death last year. In November 2017, the atmosphere was engulfed by an electric euphoria that temporarily united even the worst of enemies.
The unity that enveloped Zimbabwe in November 2017 knew no political affiliation, cutting across the racial, political, tribal and even religious divide. The army was immortalised and momentarily a dark cloud seemed to have been scooped from above the nation by a celestial hand. No more would the nation hear the loquacious Grace shaming ministers and senior government officials.
The public ululated that the systematic harassment of motorists by the Zimbabwe Republic Police finally had come to end.
People saw the end of the monopoly and partisan approach to supposed State institutions.
There was further hope that the evil of multiple-pricing system was also going to meet its demise. The general populace envisaged a new pride in the long-shamed country.
The truth is that everyone had felt the anguish of living under the rule of the Mugabes. Grace had become the de facto President of the country and any shrewd person would have seen that Mugabe, the official President, had become a lame duck despite his persistent denials. Grace became progressively vocal, tactlessly taking shots at the army. Zimbabweans had grown weary of struggles. Most people, wholesomely subscribed to the view that anything else would be better than the Mugabe regime. No one could tell with certainty what the post-Mugabe era would be like but, in unison, Zimbabweans believed that somehow things had to change if they were to get better.
And true to their (Zimbabweans) desire, things took a turn; a turn to awfulness. Zimbabweans today face an indigestible truth; it’s an ugly reality, which no one saw coming. The confusion rocking Zimbabwe is unquantifiable. There is no clue of how to get the country functioning again. It’s a free fall.
The supposed fight against corruption is proving to be child’s play. The political environment has remained volatile and talk of a delta between those in the top echelons of power today remains rife. In fact, the first demonstration that Zimbabwe was still stuck in a political rut occurred on August 1 2018 when, after the parliamentary elections, the Zimbabwean military opened fire on protesters, culminating in six deaths and dozens of injuries. The offending soldiers did not face any consequence in light of the dastardly act. Even though the subsequent reports from election observers from Europe and the US confirmed that there was a resemblance of order in the handling of the voter process, voter intimidation, some of which was by the military at the presumed instigation of Zanu PF, ruled the day.
Currently, there remains a stand-off between Zanu PF and the MDC-A regarding the much-talked about dialogue.
It’s not even clear what is set to be achieved by the dialogue, but the inescapable truth is that this so-called dialogue has no direction neither does it have clear objectives.
Meanwhile, nothing confirms the worse situation of the current period as opposed to the previous one than the incessant economic woes besetting Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans, economically, are wallowing in an orgy of self pity as they look back to the Mugabe era. Bad, the situation was, but today it has become worse. The fading slogan, “Zimbabwe is open for business” exists in name. In reality, new investments splashed in the State media have been slow mainly due to the subsisting sanctions, indigenisation policies and the perennial currency convertibility woes.
The human rights abuses that saw several Western nations impose sanctions on Zimbabwe remain intact. Despite calls for the lifting of sanctions by African Presidents like South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, American President Donald Trump extended US sanctions for another year.
A mere glance at the quality of life of Zimbabweans today pathetically confirms the gory truth of our unenviable situation. Zimbabwe has virtually little to no households that still enjoy running water. Talking of a problem as archaic as the scarcity of fuel, Zimbabwe has become a haven for weekly fuel price increases. The banning of the use of multiple currencies has further thrown people into the deep end.