How long will the joy last?

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - OPINION -

HOW the mighty have fallen. Robert Mu­gabe is no longer the ruler of Zim­babwe, de­posed by the army that kept him in power for al­most 40 years.

Zim­bab­weans are celebrating like never be­fore. On the streets of the cap­i­tal, Harare, in Bu­l­awayo and even in Jo­han­nes­burg and Dur­ban, ju­bi­lant scenes greeted the res­ig­na­tion of the ruth­less tyrant who was an evil mon­ster, the devil in­car­nate and an ugly blot on hu­man­ity.

The fall of Mu­gabe was the best Christ­mas gift they’ve had in a long time. Christ­mas had in­deed come early to Zim­babwe. But, as some po­lit­i­cal ex­perts have warned, their joy could be short-lived.

They were dis­ap­pointed in 1980 when Mu­gabe top­pled the white mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment only to im­pose his own dic­ta­tor­ship.

It could hap­pen again. Democ­racy does not flour­ish in Zim­babwe and in the rest of Africa. It has been tram­pled to the dusty ground.

Mu­gabe’s suc­ces­sor, Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa, is no an­gel. He comes from the same camp as the tyrant and was his right-hand man un­til he was fired two weeks ago to make way for the suc­ces­sion of Grace Mu­gabe. He also has blood on his hands. In his first pub­lic ad­dress, Mnan­gagwa sounded en­cour­ag­ing, pledg­ing to be a ser­vant of the peo­ple.

He re­as­sured his en­thu­si­as­tic sup­port­ers his rule would her­ald a new dawn for democ­racy, the voice of the masses would be heard, Zim­babwe would be­come in­vestor friendly again and the econ­omy would be trans­formed.

“Jobs, jobs, jobs and jobs” would be his pri­or­ity, and the crowd cheered loudly as they were filled with a re­newed hope for a bet­ter, pros­per­ous Zim­babwe.

All’s well that ends well. But will it?

How many times have we have seen politi­cians make prom­ises, only to re­nege on them once in power?

But could Mnan­gagwa be worse than Mu­gabe? Let’s hope not.

Thy­garaj Markan­dan


Zim­babwe’s Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa, cen­tre, ges­tures to the cheer­ing crowd as he leaves after be­ing in­au­gu­rated in a cer­e­mony in Harare on Fri­day. Pic­ture: AP

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