AS the year of all manner of troubles and tribulations, 2019, draws to a close – and as always – all hope for better 2020 and beyond is abound.
It is this hope that should carry us throughout every new year, but for the past two decades or so that hope for a brighter new year has faded with each passing interval as the country’s enduring political and socio-economic misfortunes have weighed down spirits. For example, this year in January Zimbabweans were greeted by a 150% fuel hike that led to deadly protests that claimed nearly two dozen innocent souls.
That incident effectively cursed 2019 and the southern African nation, which for months to follow saw it slide into a major recession characterised by serious shortages of food, fuel, cash, water and electricity among a host of other commodities and essentials that included freedom of expression and association.
Notwithstanding efforts by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to shore up the socio-economic situation, things just went from bad to worse with the ruling party and government increasingly getting wary of the possibility of civil disobedience.
Fearing a possible internal revolt, the ruling party and government have been closing up all democratic space by, for instance, stifling the opposition and civic society activities after they upped the ante on authorities to act on the flagging state of affairs.
While this is probably the only solution the ruling Zanu PF and its government have to ameliorate the situation, it would be most prudent on their part not to maintain their confrontational attitude in 2020 because this has already proved to all that hostility will not save the situation. We keep reiterating that Zimbabwe does not belong to Zanu PF and its supporters alone.
This country was won through much sacrifice by every citizen, despite Zanu PF having played a leading role mobilising the masses for a common goal, which was to unseat the racist Ian Smith regime.
But 40 years after that sacrifice it is now disheartening that the ruling party wants to monopolise the freedom that we all fought for. Frankly, it is this tendency by Zanu PF to want to dictate things — even if its policies have failed each passing year — that keep destroying hope for a better future.
We, therefore, hope and pray that in 2020 we will all treat each other as brothers and sisters, as fellow country folk because this is the only way we can all be united for a common and inclusive future. As it is, the future only belongs to only those connected to Zanu PF.
But sadly all these people will not enjoy peace as long as the majority of people are not happy with their status quo. As the nation slogs into 2020, it would be foolhardy to think that the hardships that dogged the southern African nation will be blasted away by the New Year celebration fireworks.
Far from it; already parents are cracking their heads on the future of their children, given the astronomical rise in school fees.
The country is facing a catastrophic summer cropping season after the rains stayed away during the first half of the season leading to widespread crop failure for a second year running. This means 2020 — though offering new opportunities — will likely be one hell of a hard slog.