Zimbabwe is a country of false dawns and dashed hope since 1980.
This is what South African journalist and political analyst, Justice Malala wrote on November 20, 2017 as the coup that led to the ouster of former president Robert Mugabe was in full swing.
The headline of his column was: ‘Main actors in Zimbabwe’s coup are the problem, not the solution.’
I thought of his words this past week as various events unfolded in Zimbabwe.
Just after midnight on Thursday, Emmerson Mnanganwa was declared Zimbabwe’s president elect, leaving many overly disappointed and in despair.
The previous day, three people had been shot dead by the army in Harare, in an opposition Movement for Democratic Change-Alliance protest fuelled by what they believed was electoral fraud.
Opposition leaders had declared victory, contrary to official results that were being announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
The death toll of people shot dead in that protest has since risen to seven.
While the families of those killed are mourning in anger, seething at the soldiers who pulled the trigger on unarmed civilians, some of whom had nothing to do with the protest, many others are also in pain that their hopes have once again been dashed.
In the build up to the election, change was the buzzword as many had thought by this time, Zimbabwe would have witnessed the dawning of a new era through the coming in of a new president and a new governing party.
Alas that was not to be.
I suppose we expected too much as a nation.
In 2008, when it was clear that the late opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai was poised for victory, service chiefs who included then army boss and now vice president, Constatino Chiwenga, came out guns blazing, declaring that they would never salute Tsvangirai or anyone without war credentials.
They made it clear they would ensure Mugabe remained in power by hook and crook – and that they did, until he (Chiwenga) and other players in the coup decided the old man’s time was up.
If that was Chiwenga’s mentality when he was the army boss, what made people think things would be different now?
After playing a critical role in removing Mugabe and landing the lucrative post of vice president, there is surely no way Chiwenga and members of the inner circle would just concede defeat (that is if claims by the opposition are anything to go by) and let go after only nine months.
MDC-Alliance claims it has evidence that the elections were rigged and that it would be presenting that evidence in court, but I doubt, judging from past experience, if that would change anything.
Chiwenga and the likes must also enjoy the fruits of their ‘hard labour’.
So basically going for polls was just a formality for them; after all they are not affected by the daily struggles that the majority of us have to endure.
They don’t know what it means to spend hours and days in a bank queue, only to be given $20 in 5cent coins. Their family members don’t know what it’s like to go a government hospital only to be given general painkillers no matter the condition.
Such are our struggles but hey, life goes on and like Martin Luther once said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope,” hope that one-day things will be fine in Zimbabwe – sadly, it is not this day!