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Mindful of that sickening and irritating idiom “what goes around comes around”, I had hoped to start the New Year run with reduced despair, great expectations, the highest of hope and, of course, a wish for the world to be kinder to us.
I had hoped that not only Africa but the world would, by end 2018, have noticed that we cannot run away from ourselves anymore.
I had hoped we would slow down and realise that we cannot continue to let every country brew problems that are detrimental to its neighbours.
I had hoped that we no longer need reminders or read history books to understand that perpetrators of tyranny are just as much of victims of themselves as their victims are.
When the world screamed ‘Happy New Year’ at the stroke of midnight on December 31, 2018 was it a wish or a statement?
Why is it that we never want to start afresh and right the proven wrongs and mistakes of yesteryear, do things better than we did the year before and inhale a whiff of futuristic sense of self improvement as individuals, as nations as the world?
Why is it that every country in the world has too many problems to take care of its citizens? Why has the world become so polarized? Why is it getting harder and harder to get along?
DR Congo gave us a great start to the New Year with disputed elections. We are holding our breath on this one since there are more guns than flies in that country.
In Botswana, people in high places are yelling at each other at dangerous decibels that are producing arrests and threats.
In South Africa insults and threats abound in and outside parliament.
In Zimbabwe, the government that proclaimed itself as “the new dispensation” and “Zimbabwe is open for business” is killing its citizens for protesting an overnight 150% fuel increase.
There is “political unrest” in America starring the three branches of government.
Britain is in turmoil as it suffers withdrawal pains from the European Union, which itself is at odds with itself over a variety of issues, chief among which being immigration.
Is the world still capable of listening to each other, listen to itself or take stock of where it stands? Do we still have a moral compass?
What happened to those who used to intervene when nations were cannibalizing themselves or poking each other under the chin?
I know the irrelevance of SADC and the African Union but what about the United Nations? Are they united? Does anyone listen to the United Nations anymore?
What happened in Zimbabwe in the last week should not have been tolerated by the world, let alone by Zimbabwe’s neighbours.
Zimbabwe is in a serious economic mess.
It is without currency of its own.
It is still unable to recover from perceived stolen elections.
Zimbabwe is unable to feed itself, is no longer able to borrow money or woe foreign investors.
It is in terrible arrears such that it will never ever repay what it owes. But with 80% unemployment, it is however open for business.
Emerson Mnangagwa, the man who, a year ago, announced to the world about his new government being the arrival of “a new dispensation”, saying that Zimbabwe is “open for business” announced a steep fuel price increase one day in the late evening hours of last week with total disregard of the unbearable economic hardships the people are faced with.
Immediately after the announcement, the leader of the new dispensation flew away on a five-nation tour of Russia and its former republics of Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and then to Switzerland.
The protests against the fuel increase in Zimbabwe turned violent and the army was once again deployed and civilians were, once again, shot before findings of the Motlanthe Commission, set up to investigate shootings of civilians on August 1, 2018 had hardly been read.
Now a similar situation has arisen where civilians are murdered by the uniformed personnel for demonstrating against the behavior of the government.
This one is worse than the August 1 massacre; stand by for another commission whose findings will, once again, exonerate the government but blame the victims and opposition parties.
Well before Mnangagwa’s arrival in Azerbaijan on Saturday, there had been calls for him to return home and deal with the riots that have claimed an as yet to be established number of dead and hundreds injured, mostly at the hands of suspected soldiers and police.
Several petitions and efforts are active to have Switzerland deny Mnangagwa attendance of the Davos World Economic Forum that kicks off on January 22, 2019 but, instead, tell him to return home and bury citizens killed by his army.
In a poor response to price hike protests and his failed leadership, Mnangagwa ordered internet services to be switched off, including social media outlets such as WhatsApp, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. He then went on his Twitter account to send a message to “his people”, reminding them that violence will not be tolerated.
In response to the Internet blackout, the Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights have sued the government along with service provider Econet.
On its part, Econet has said that it had no choice but to comply with the government’s directive to switch off internet services.
The court will hear the case on Monday, January 21st, 2019 and not much is expected since Econet has already indicated that it will abide by whatever the court decides.
We still have old mentalities that actually believe they can still control the flow of information. Ministries of Information are passé.
What a terrible start to a new year. Will Zimbabwe ever be a country again?