“Following the address we made on November 13, 2017, which we believe our main broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and The Herald were directed not to publicise, the situation in our country has moved to another level.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
“Firstly, we wish to assure the nation that His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and Commander-in-Chief of Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Comrade RG Mugabe, and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.
“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” announced then Major-General Sibusiso Moyo, who was also Chief of Staff Logistics, as the army officially broadcast the coup on national television and blocked access to government offices, exactly two years ago.
The coup, Zimbabweans were to learn, was aimed at bringing economic stability, deal with corruption and restore democracy and people power, re-engagement with the West and shape a free society.
Main opposition MDC says Zimbabweans were sold the biggest dummy by a clique of power-hungry looters who removed Mugabe, not because they wanted to save the people, but after seeing that their economic interests were threatened.
“Twenty-six months, 137 pages (referring to Constitutional Court ruling of 2018 elections) later, ED (President Emmerson Mnangagwa) remains both illegitimate and clueless, the people are suffering and the social core has collapsed. We have a government which is using the central bank as a terrorist organisation to loot from the people, while the Ministry of Finance is nothing but a con-artist. The RBZ [Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe] is looting — forget corruption — they have legalised looting,” Nelson Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda told NewsDay.
At the dawn of the “new dispensation” in November 2017, there were high expectations, with the general public looking forward to seeing government focusing more on people-centred politics, a less travelling President, more investment in social services and a leaner, more competent government.
Sibanda said that never came, because the people who were fronting that attempt were the same system that was looting the government clean.
“You can’t ask a dog to do a cat’s job. The removal of Mugabe did not change anything for them. They just continued in a much more ruthless and aggressive manner. Democratic space has been further restricted; soldiers now shoot and kill unarmed protesters on the streets. Demonstrations and rallies don’t happen, they are blocked,” he said.
NCA leader Lovemore Madhuku echoed similar sentiments, saying now the government is incompetent, and more brutal than what happened under Mugabe.
“There is no new dispensation. I think currently, if you have anything, there is a dispensation that has been going backwards. They (current leaders in government) have gone beyond what we had in the 1980s. Clearly, they are actually trying to learn the bad portion of their old days. That’s what they are doing; the bad portion of the days where the mysterious disappearance of people, the heavy deployment of the police and the army at the smallest excuse; the old days of this where you find people in government who have no clue on how to deal with the situation, how to turn around the economy. That’s what we have at the moment, so we have no new dispensation at all,” Madhuku charged.
For the first time in the history of Zimbabwe, doctors have gone beyond 70 days on a strike demanding a living wage.
The junior doctors earned US$1 800, in November of 2017, the price of bread was 90 cents, a litre of fuel was selling at $1,15 at most, while the poverty datum line (PDL) was just above $300 and inflation slowly rising.
Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, which has seen 286 of its members fired in the past three weeks, says government proposes to take their salaries up to $2 400 a month at a time bread is selling at $15, a litre of diesel now around $17,60 and PDL hovering around $3 000.
They have dug in saying they will not be forced to dialogue or back to work if the salaries are not enough to feed their families, educate their children and fund their own health care.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions leader Peter Mutasa, whose life has been under threat, says the country is now in the dark ages.
“These people are clueless they are taking us nowhere, it’s time we come together and make our voice heard we can’t continue in silence,” he said.
Mutasa has been charged with treason, beaten and arrested for mobilising workers to demonstrate against the new regime.
Mnangagwa continues to appeal for more time, saying his government is setting the right conditions for economic recovery.
He has even ended the multi-currency regime and returned Zimbabwe to the Zimbabwe dollar, which has been losing value against other currencies.
The International Monetary Fund says Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate is the second-highest in the world, after Venezuela, at 300%.
On the re-engagement front, Mnangagwa has won the regional leaders on his side, but Europe and the United States have refused to embrace him, calling for meaningful reforms and respect of human rights.
A report putting Mnangagwa’s regime under scrutiny complied by the United Nations special rapporteur, Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, on the right to peaceful assembly and association sums it all.
“Albeit the common belief that a transformation will come, I believe that the long-awaited hopes are fading. The population is now questioning the government’s capacity to bring about such changes. They feel they have not experienced concrete and tangible results,” Voule said.
“On the contrary, I have perceived from my different meetings around the country, that there is a serious deterioration of the political, economic and social environment since August 2018 resulting in fear, frustration and anxiety among a large number of Zimbabweans.”
Moyo, who is now Foreign Affairs minister and is currently battling ill health, then appearing as a hero for many, told the nation things were going to go back to normal.
“As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy. To the civil servants, as you are aware, there is a plan by the same individuals to influence the current purging that is taking place in the political sphere in the civil service.
We are against that act of injustice and we intend to protect everyone of you against that,” he said.
But two years later, Mnangagwa’s legendary governance failure has painted Mugabe as a saint.
Mugabe’s battered legacy has been reinvented by his long-time ally, who has dismally failed to capitalise on the goodwill and euphoria that punctuated his rise to power.