STAFF WRITER 28 July 2018
HARARE – The wait is over as Zimbabweans on Monday vote to choose a new
leader following the resignation of former president Robert Mugabe who was
replaced by his long time aide Emmerson Mnangagwa who was sworn in to
finish his term which ends at midnight tomorrow.
That journey which started on November 15, 2017 – when the military
stormed the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) in the wee hours of
that unforgettable Wednesday morning to put in motion events that would
lead to the end of 37 years of Mugabe’s iron-fisted rule, ends on Monday
with these highly-anticipated national harmonised elections.
Monday’s elections are landmark and historic.
They will serve to either show the world that as a people Zimbabweans are
ready to move forward or that this beautiful country cannot agree to bury
The images of thousands of people -who set aside their political
differences and diverse race profiles – to march against Mugabe on
November 18 are testament of a nation determined to break with the past
and move into a new chapter.
This is why the conclusion of this short journey – from the military
intervention of November to the holding of these watershed elections –
must be consistent with the unity showed on the streets of Harare on
November 18, 2017.
Monday’s elections are not about the popularity or charm of a particular
presidential candidate but about someone who assures stability, unity,
peace and progress.
Zimbabwe needs progress but which is anchored on peace and stability.
This is why these elections are described as being historic because they
represent a chance to break with a past that was tarred by violence
against one another, hate speech, racism and deep-seated tribalism which
sought to divide people.
As has been witnessed in the run up to the elections, political parties
and presidential candidates have exhibited highly commendable behaviours
consistent with a new Zimbabwe that we all want.
After Mugabe and Zanu PF’s anger against the whites, which manifested in
2000 when Zimbabwe embarked on bloody and chaotic agrarian reforms – no
one in their wildest dreams would have hoped to witness this group being
invited to the table by their “tormentors”.
But that did happen recently when Mnangagwa held a rally with whites in a
gesture which went further than just seeking political capital as the
interface served to underline the determination to rebuild Zimbabwe with
its entire people involved, in the spirit of “One Zimbabwe, One nation”.
In the run up to these elections, the opposition traversed the length and
breadth of the country to engage in peaceful campaigns, something that was
taboo during the ill-fated reign of Mugabe.
The fact that opposition political parties largely enjoyed peaceful
campaigns speaks to the new culture of tolerance and civility driving the
manner in which we agree and disagree.
This has been a seismic development.
In the last seven months, the world has been following us and gauging our
commitment as a people to move away from years of conflict against one
This explains the thawing of once frosty relations with countries which
were once considered aggressive to us during the times of Mugabe.
As a nation we can look to encouraging signs from the United States,
Britain, Russia, China and the European Union, who have seen many bright
spots in Zimbabwe’s road towards self-correction.
The fact that the US has had dialogue with Zimbabwe and put in motion
plans to remove sanctions, on the back of commitment to address historical
but critical concerns it had previously raised with Mugabe, show how far
we have moved in breaking with the past.
As Zimbabwe decides who to vote for on Monday, it must never escape the
majority that Mugabe’s political ghost has been lurking in the shadows.
These elections present an opportunity to bury Mugabe’s political ghost
and those who still see value in entertaining his selfish but destructive
thoughts of stagnating this country on account of his bitterness towards
the events of November 2017.
Monday’s elections present both Zanu PF and the opposition a huge
opportunity of charting a new golden path.
God bless Zimbabwe!