When Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe was overthrown, the nation was sent into jubilation, Zimbabweans from different parts of the world held solidarity celebrations in spirit with those at home, for them the long-awaited future had arrived, the dawn of a new era.
Hopes were high for everybody; the dictator who was reluctant to anoint a successor, who sees no leadership qualities even among his own deputies was gone. Almost everyone had a bone to chew with Mugabe, and for them it was good riddance.
For some citizens, Mugabe had caused them great suffering and as such, he should have gone. They were happy he did. For the opposition parties, Mugabe had stolen their victories in many elections, abused their officials and murdered their supporters, and for that he had to go. They were happy he was gone.
Another thing, the opposition underrated his successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, they viewed him as a soft opponent in the next elections, how wrong they were, the problem was never of personalities, but of the system.
Even Mnangagwa himself, he also underrated the strength of the opposition under Nelson Chamisa, he was relaxed a bit, offering some little space for freedom of speech, citizens’ freely criticising government, let opposition parties to campaign freely, and opened the polls to international observers. He was confident of winning the polls cleanly, but that was not to be.
How wrong he was; as Chamisa proved no pushover, blow for blow, Mnangagwa had to allegedly cheat to win. Even though, the alleged cheating was not enough, he finally had to win through the courts. Anyway, that is story for another day.
Mugabe’s departure was celebrated, but Mugabeism remained.
ZANU PF wants to up the presidential age limit, so as to put the bar beyond Chamisa’s reach. Few months ago, the same idea was expressed, but was heavily criticised by various sections of the society, including members of the ruling party’s youth league.
The ruling party, through its foot-soldiers war veterans is seeking to force for a constitutional amendment to the Constitution to peg the age of presidential candidates at 52, from the current 40.
What a bad dictatorial tendency.
According to Dr Pedzisai Ruhanya the problem with the country was that of putting personalities ahead of the system of governance being used. He says age has nothing much to do with governing a country.
He says the country does not need mere old or young leaders, but strong fundamental institutions, that guard against excesses of any leader chosen by democratic means.
Another political commentator, Elder Mabhunu echoes the same sentiments; says currently most of the institutions that are expected to oversee and prevent abuse of power by leaders are all captured by criminal political cartels.
“It is worrying that Zimbabwe’s institutions that including the police, anti-corruption bodies, and even the media are all captured.
“Zimbabwe’s dictatorship version is engraved into the system itself, that is why more than a year after Mugabe’s fall, but the system remains the same, same corrupt tendencies, same weak institutions, and continued bootlicking of leaders,” he says.
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