New era for free Zimbabwe
WHEN the incredible happened in Zimbabwe eight months ago, the military played a huge and not-so-palatable role in the events that put an end to the 37-year reign of Robert Mugabe.
The “soft coup” that toppled the never-say-die nonagenarian was tolerated as a tool used in abnormal circumstances.
Something had to be done to stop the former strongman’s ambitious and politically malignant wife, Grace Mugabe, from usurping the presidency from his cruel and crazed clutches for her narrow and myopic ends.
Emmerson Mnangagwa stepped up.
He promised to lead the country to a true democracy and prosperity. And a lot has been achieved since that eventful November.
But whether the man nicknamed Crocodile has done or changed enough and whether the citizens approve of his leadership should be clear soon as Zimbabweans go to the polls tomorrow.
Another pertinent question is: have the generals been depoliticised enough to be ready to salute whoever will emerge as the new president?
Zimbabwe is poised to break from a painful past characterised by Mugabe’s litany of leadership failures, which saw him turn from liberation hero to deranged despot.
The stakes are high and the conditions unprecedented. For the first time in four decades, Mugabe’s name is conspicuous by its absence on the ballot paper.
His archrival, Morgan Tsvangirai, died early this year and was replaced by the promising young Nelson Chamisa, who is threatening to turn the tables on the liberation party that has ruled the mineral-rich country since 1980.
Tomorrow is an important day for Zimbabwe and southern Africa. It should be a good day for the region and Africa.
This week South Africa hosted leaders of the decade-old Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa strategic bloc to cement mutually beneficial relations.
While such powerful friends are vital, our neighbours are also important to us.
South Africa should pray for a successful election in Zimbabwe and stand ready to help, especially as the current leader of the Southern African Development Community.
Whatever the outcome, all that’s required is a free, fair and credible election. No matter who is victorious, Zimbabwe will win if it’s free and fair.
There’s a new dawn on the horizon.
Zimbabwe might be free at last.
Johannesburg 29-07.18.The ConCourt rules in favour of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa). Cartoon: Bethuel Mangena/African