A CARNIVAL atmosphere engulfed Harare yesterday soon after National Assembly Speaker Advocate Jacob Mudenda announced he had received a letter from Cde Robert Mugabe resigning as President of Zimbabwe after 37 years in office. Others openly wept at the sad departure of a revolutionary icon who dedicated his life to the cause of Zimbabwe. The announcement brought the nascent impeachment process to a halt.
Motorists honked horns nonstop as Jah Prayzah’s hit song, “Kutonga Kwaro” blared from open car windows. Soldiers on armoured vehicles were mobbed and saluted as ecstatic Zimbabweans rejoiced in the resignation of the only President they had known since the fall of British rule in 1980. Some popped beer bottles as impromptu street parties broke out in the Central Business District.
Others waved miniature Zimbabwe Flags. Some motorists played Jah Prayzah’s hit song, “Kutonga Kwaro” while others changed the song “NdiMwari Anogona” to “NdiChiwenga Anogona” in reference to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga after the ZDF intervened to save Zimbabwe from a potentially violent confrontation.
Women scrambled to have pictures taken with soldiers while some danced on top of military personnel carriers. Haulage trucks were seen in the CBD with loads of people in a joyous mood. Among the thousands in the streets was musician Enock Munhenga popularly known as EXQ. “As an ordinary Zimbabwean, I would say we have been stuck in one place for a while. I just hope for a new thing.
“I hope as musicians the new President will bring measures that will bring more money to our industry,” said EXQ. A former commercial farmer, who only identified himself as Mr Blake, said: “I love Zimbabwe. It is peaceful and since I came here 42 years ago, I have seen that Zimbabweans are peace loving people. Let us unite and let us not think about where we come from because we are one people.”
Mr Blake commended ZDF for professionally handling a political hot potato. A carnival atmosphere also gripped Gweru. Our Midlands Bureau reports that motorists went into a skidding frenzy. There were fireworks in the streets as people across the political and racial divide celebrated Cde Mugabe’s exit from power. “We appreciate his rule. He contributed a lot for the country, but he had overstayed and was now loathed by many,” said Mr Trynos Chibanda.
In Masvingo, people blasted Jah Prayzah’s “Kutonga Kwaro” in reference to the anticipated coming in of former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to take over power from Cde Mugabe. They carried placards with the portrait of Cde Mnangagwa. “The old man should have retired long back, but he was clinging on to power and ended up neglecting his responsibilities because of advanced age. Yes, he did a lot for this country, but he was now messing it up because of advanced age. Good news that he is gone,” said a mechanic Mr Itai Hwenjere.
Airtime vendor Mr Moise Chapwanya said Zimbabweans were expecting a new economic trajectory to end problems like unemployment that had seen many fleeing the country for South Africa in search of greener pastures. In Mashonaland West, home to the former President, there were wild celebrations in the towns of Chinhoyi, Chegutu, Karoi and surrounding areas, as the news of Cde Mugabe’s resignation filtered through.
Car horns, screeching vehicle tyres, symphony and whistling took over the streets of Chinhoyi for more than an hour. Along highways leading to Harare, Chegutu and Chirundu haulage trucks joined the celebrations. At Gadzema, the main bus terminus in Chinhoyi, shops and bars belted out Jah Prazah’s song “Kutonga Kwaro” and Thomas Mapfumo’s “Danger Zone” among pomp, zest and fanfare.
At Murombedzi Growth Point, a stone’s throw from Cde Mugabe’s home village in Kutama, Mr Richard Chitupe said there were massive celebrations and ululation while villagers rushed to nearby shops to watch the news. “I have never seen anything like this in my life. Some people were not believing it and soon jumped into celebrations after seeing the news from TV sets in the shops,’’ he said.
In Karoi, farmer and businessman, Mr Never Gasho, said he had never seen people celebrate like that. “There is loud celebration here. People were getting worried about the long debates and misinformation on social media. “People poured into the streets,” he said.
There was singing and dancing in Chegutu as the news spread. However, the jubilation went into the night without disturbances. “I had only known one President since I was born. I cannot wait and see a new era in Zimbabwe. Today I will sleep with my flag around my neck. I am proud to be Zimbabwean,” said Mrs Monica Muchero.