Where to now, Zimbabwe?

20 Aug 2018

For the last couple of weeks, I have been wondering if all that I get from my rich faith can make a difference by lightening my burdens, enlightening my views, lighting my path and dimming my sadness.

The weight I feel on both my mind and shoulders is unnecessary yet it is an essential reminder to me that, somehow, fortune always seems to prefer bad guys.

The fact that “fortune” and “bad” chose to unite in Zimbabwe on the day before the last day of July 2018 is a brick knocked off the wall of great expectations.

I am not so much concerned about the outcome of Zimbabwe’s elections but about how they were conducted because if so much as a speck of dust falls into the glass of milk, we tend to deem the rest as unusable.

Zimbabwe cannot afford these kinds of wastefulness because it has a much bigger and compelling obligation to perform for its freedom-starved population, a forward-looking people who have shown unfathomable depths of patience. Time for rewards is long overdue but the rewards will not come.

Over the years, I have experienced derision from foreigners who wondered why we were not supporting Robert Mugabe. Today, Mugabe is gone but, somehow, the problems that existed while Mugabe was president persist.

We still have a SADC that behaves in ways that insult people of the region yet is given international accolades for doing nothing for the people who give it the international recognition it has.

Once again, in 39 years, Zimbabwe spends money and raise people’s hopes that their will would be reflected in the choice they make at the ballot box.

The pre-election period was somewhat devoid of the customary violence that was always a familiar expectation yet the “new” government burst into the open just a day after polls closed. The aftermath: seven Zimbabweans shot dead and an embarrassing situation between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The story would never be complete without SADC playing a disgusting role, as always. And it did when the SADC Chairman for the Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation, Zambian President Edgar Lungu, broke his own country’s laws and ignored his own courts to deport a prominent Zimbabwean opposition leader, Tendai Biti, a former Finance Minister and leader of Zimbabwe’s People’s Democratic Party who had lodged a legal claim for protection as a refugee. Against the court ruling, Zambia handed over Biti to Zimbabwean authorities.

This stupid and unnecessary action was condemned worldwide and the United States said it is reviewing its relations with Zambia.

The aftermath of the Zimbabwean elections is cause for concern. Like most cases in Africa, where a president’s unchallenged authority is above the law, the nation is still made to wonder about who did what and to whom.

While this time around the elections in Zimbabwe were mostly free of violence, at least in towns and cities where foreign observers loved to spend romantic times, the electoral undergrowth was teeming with 40 years of chicanery, violence, intimidation and all the vices we have known since our independence.

In all honesty and in all fairness, just what is expected of the people of Zimbabwe beyond their patience and resilience? Why are Zimbabweans asked to accept faulty decisions that are weights around their necks?

South Africa does not accept that for its people yet they have morons in leadership rushing to embrace faulty elections outside their borders. Here, I am wondering about people like Julius Malema and Cyril Ramaphosa. Who are these people and what are their intentions?

Why are African leaders devoid of honesty? Why are they allergic to elections? Why is it that they feel compelled to always support an incumbent regardless of the people’s choice? Why do they cross their borders to tell our people what is good for them? For some reason, Africans always work against themselves. A quick personal profit for one blinds the person to the larger picture. There is a lot that Africa must learn from the sad experiences of Zimbabwe.

One thing Zimbabweans have learned is that populist rhetoric does not build a nation. This is one tool that Robert Mugabe used on the international stage and he caught the attention of today’s many unapologetic morons who now appear on South Africa’s political horizon.

I am unhappy that the elections in Zimbabwe were not handled well. I am extremely annoyed that not only does SADC continue to be satisfied by faulty elections in its member states but does not care about the so-called ‘ordinary person’.

As other observers expressed reserved judgement over the elections, SADC, as usual, was much too happy to endorse the elections.

Now, Zimbabwe once again finds itself in an unnecessary tug of war between a perennially violent political party and the people. Once again, investors are keeping a safe distance because they see how their investments will be dealt with if they invested. They need to be satisfied that their investments will be safe.

I am a disappointed man and the fault is my own. I, too, rejoiced at the sidelining of the old government without considering the replacement. To my continued bitter experience, the system remains intact. Fairly contested elections are not what Zimbabwe can have. Court enforced decisions that disregard the votes cast by the people are not the answer, particularly in countries, like Zimbabwe, where the courts are an extension of the ruling party.

My wish for Zimbabwe remains that, despite all the horrible, self-serving intentions of our neighbours, local and far afield, this nation of Zimbabwe that has been abused for so long without so much as a merciful interference to assist the abused, defenseless and long-suffering people within, will in the end defeat those who counter the intentions of its people. South Africa beware. Neither Ramaphosa nor Malema can dictate against the will of the people of Zimbabwe. South Africa is close to Zimbabwe and should have played a better role than it did.

As an opposition leader, that little boy, Julius Malema, says things in South Africa that he does not support other opposition leaders to say in their countries. I find it curious that both the South African government and Julius Malema, plus SADC, rushed to endorse the election results in Zimbabwe before everything had settled. Is the Kenyan experience, where foreign election observers said “OK” but the local High Court said “Rerun” visiting Zimbabwe?

Zimbabweans cheered for the soldiers when they removed Robert Mugabe. They are not cheering now. The results of the elections cost us the lives of seven of our compatriots. Bullet wounds.

With friends and ‘liberators’ like these, who needs enemies? Buckle up Zimbabwe, we are off to another rough ride.