By Immigration Maziwisa
In recent days, many political analysts have suggested that the end of Robert Mugabe’s era has finally beckoned. Their assertions have largely depended on the recent wave of protests in Zimbabwe.
The protests essentially begun with the burning of a Warehouse at Zimbabwe’s Border post with South Africa, and then recently, the setting alight of vehicles belonging to the police and national broadcaster ZBC, as well as widespread looting of government and private owned businesses in the capital Harare.
It is essential to discuss the implications of the recent protests particularly with regards to the future of Opposition parties and that of Robert Mugabe.
Any individual who is following events in Harare would agree that there is indeed a crisis in Zimbabwe. The crisis is that the economy is not at its best performance and the people have run out of patience with the government.
Principally, the citizens are demanding that the government addresses matters such as rampant corruption, poor service delivery and inconsistent application of the law or a lack of it all together.
Then, questions linger in the mind. Is that the end of Robert Mugabe who has presided over the only government since Zimbabwe’s Independence? Will the recent protests translate to a national movement formidable enough to push Mugabe and his government out of the way?
Well, one cannot conclude with certainty that the recent protests in Zimbabwe will form a movement similar to the Arab Spring. There are many demographic complications that will come in the way.
For example, the Arab Spring demonstrations worked in Egypt because the majority of Egyptians reside in urban Cities where technology is accessible.
Zimbabwe is a completely different setup altogether because 70 percent of its population resides in rural areas. Most of the places have no electricity and technology is either expensive or inaccessible. It will be interesting to observe the events unfolding in that regard.
On the face of it, the violence in Zimbabwe is an expression of angry masses fed up with their government which has failed to deliver some of its promises. It is true that unemployment has compounded the problem in Zimbabwe but opposition leaders have not taken into account that national leadership is only attained through a legitimate election.
Destroying infrastructure in a country desperate for development is not one of them. Slaughtering an innocent puppy to impress a crowd of barbarians is not one of them. Looting a Supermarket owned by the Vice President, Mphoko which created thousands of jobs is not one of them.
The only lawful strategy to replace Mugabe and Zanu Pf is through elections not violence. Those elections were already held on July 31 in 2013 in which Zanu Pf won by a vast margin. The next elections will be held in 2018 and the MDCT must wait until then.
By government’s own admission, the concerns being raised by opposition parties in Zimbabwe are genuine but the strategy to address them is illegal. By its very nature, violence is a prosecutable offense, not an expression of democracy.
It is not possible to build a sustainable future based on violence. Some of the scenes from the recent protests were horrifying. MDC-T supporters mercilessly slaughtered an innocent puppy in demonstration against Robert Mugabe’s government. I am not sure if the dog had served in Mugabe’s government too.
That particular incident was disheartening because it presented a picture of blood-thirsty individuals masquerading as democrats. Subsequently, numerous important questions grip the mind such as; if given the opportunity, would the MDC be trusted with national responsibilities?
Is the opposition leadership right to adopt violence as a strategy? Is the Movement for Democratic Change adhering to the core principles of its pledge for democracy? Suffice to say, no anger can justify such a blatant exhibition of madness.
The problem with the recent movements is that it is led by a breed of opportunistic, deceitful and fearful generation. Even Mawarire the founder of the ‘this flag’ movement was detained for two nights for allegedly attempting to overthrow a legitimately elected government. After his acquittal which was well attended, he fled the continent to the USA.
Patson Dzamara appears to be an opportunist who is desperate to make the headlines. His rise was not due to his own astuteness but simply because he is young brother to a brave activist who was allegedly abducted. Acie Lumumba is a conman who has mastered the art of sniffing the direction of money.
He lacks any semblance of a decent leader. Joyce Mujuru and her cronies have a chronic syndrome of hypocrisy. They speak for the people only when it suits them.
In the end, the future of opposition parties depends entirely on the quality and sincerity of its leadership. Alas, it is in short supply. Contrary to the widespread belief that Robert Mugabe’s reign has come to an end, it would take a much more collaborated effort for that that event to unfold.
- Immigration Maziwisa is a veteran political writer and analyst.