Post-Mugabe era: The New but Old Dispensation

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President Mnangagwa and VP Chiwenga are proving to be a reflection of Former President Mugabe and his Wife
President Mnangagwa and VP Chiwenga are proving to be a reflection of Former President Mugabe and his Wife

The month of November has left indelible footprints in the sands of Zimbabwe’s history.

November is a month in which movie-style events happened, leading to the resignation of Robert Mugabe from the office of the President of Zimbabwe. The second half of Mugabe’s rule will forever be remembered the World over, albeit for the wrong reasons. It is not a secret that Mugabe did not care for the people whom he purported to be protecting. He only had his selfish interests to care about. Nothing mattered more to him than the consolidation of his political power and all that at the expense of the suffering masses.

By The Advocate

On 24 November 2017, Mugabe’s long-time confidante, Emmerson Mnangagwa, took over the presidency with the assistance of the military. Many Zimbabweans had high hopes that Mnangagwa would be different from his predecessor. Fast-forward to the month of August 2018, a whole nine months down the line, nothing much appears to have changed. In some aspects, the country is now worse off than during the Mugabe era. Mnangagwa is that kind of a leader who says one thing during the day and come night time, he does exactly the opposite.

He preaches economic development during the day, but when night comes, his actions and those of his government officials suggest exactly the opposite. He talks about employment creation during the day, but if anything, more jobs have been lost ever since he took the oath of office. He talks about Zimbabwe being open for business, but he is reluctant to enact legislation that is Investor friendly. Government institutions continue to be run along partisan lines.

People who served under Mugabe and helped him destroy this country through corruption, kleptocracy and gross human rights violations are the same people who are calling the shots. Mnangagwa served under Mugabe for five decades and he self-confessed that he has never worked for or under anyone else except Mugabe.

Mugabe is the one who groomed and mentored Mnangagwa so Mugabeism runs in his veins. Whilst Zimbabweans were very keen to see Mugabe’s back, nothing has at all, but the stark reality of the same old ZANU PF still in power.

So just like the biblical story of the Israel’s journey to Canaan, Zimbabweans have only left Egypt and they are now wandering in the wilderness and they have not yet stepped into Canaan. It’s not yet Uhuru meaning Zimbabweans are not yet free, and the struggle for a new Zimbabwe is agonisingly far from being over.

On 30 July 2018, Zimbabwe held harmonised elections which were far from being free, fair and credible. Mnangagwa invited regional and international observers to witness the elections knowing full well that he would sell them dummies. What he desperately needed was endorsement and legitimacy. The Priscilla Chigumba-led Zimbabwe Election Commission declined to institute key reforms that would have ensured a level playing field. If anything, the commission had increasingly become arrogant and pro-establishment than one during the Mugabe era.

The people voted and Mnangagwa was declared winner with a very slander margin. But as it stands, the main opposition party, the MDC Alliance, strongly disputes Mnangagwa’s somewhat narrow “victory” amidst allegations of grand electoral fraud and malpractices. This is just the same thing that used to happen during Mugabe’s tenure of Office; it continues unabated. An attempt by the MDC Alliance to have the Constitutional Court set aside Mnangagwa’s “victory” has not yielded the desired results. In fact, it has shown that even the Judiciary remains captured by the Executive and the people of Zimbabwe have nowhere to turn to for justice.

The Zimbabwe National Army, which has always been the bedrock of ZANU PF’s stranglehold on power, did the unthinkable and unthinkable on 1 August 2018. The army unleashed guns on unarmed civilians and seven lives were lost in cold blood. No public apology has been offered yet by Mnangagwa. This is reminiscent of the Gukurahundi period, a time during which the same Mnangagwa, acting in cohorts with Mugabe, unleashed the army on mostly the Matebeleland and Midlands people and thousands perished in the process.

Zimbabwe has increasingly turned into a military State ever since Mugabe was deposed. The army now decides who lives freely or who has to be persecuted. The Zimbabwe Republic Police has been unconstitutionally and unceremoniously stripped of its powers by the army. Surprisingly, Mnangagwa appears to be unmoved by all that. Key government decisions are being made in army barracks. In all this, it is the people of Zimbabwe who have become victims of the State.

The State has an obligation to protect and serve the citizens, but in the case of Zimbabwe, that is no longer the case. The United Nations, African Union and SADC appear not to be doing much to protect the suffering Zimbabweans. Dissenting voices are being brutally silenced by Mnangagwa’s administration. Some opposition members are facing flimsy charges in the courts of law, while some are living in hiding. This is something that is not to be expected in this 21st century. Living in Zimbabwe is now a nightmare to many of its citizens.

Corruption, just as it was during Mugabe’s era, remains the same. The State has failed to take stern and deliberate measures that are at its disposal in order to deal with corruption. High profile cases of corruption continue to be witnessed and most of the perpetrators are actually “untouchable”. They are being protected by the very same State which has a duty to ensure that perpetrators of corruption are dealt with. If anything, most corrupt people use their proximity to Mnangagwa in order to escape punishment. These same corrupt officials are mostly found in the corridors of power.

In conclusion, there is no New Dispensation to talk about in Zimbabwe. It is the same old order. Some prefer to call it a New but Old Dispensation. The same apparatuses that were used by Mugabe during his unforgettable reign are still intact and are now being used by Mnangagwa for the same cause. Only God knows for how long Zimbabweans will continue suffering like this?

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