Robert Mugabe will not be in power anymore and I am sure most Zimbabweans will not miss him judging by the dancing in the streets of Harare.
Mugabe came to power in 1980 after Zimbabwe got its independence from Britain, Zimbabwe for such a long time was known as the food basket of southern Africa. It was one of the few success stories in Africa prospering post-colonialism. This is because Zimbabwe focused on reconciliation and how they can rebuild the country that is inclusive and prosperous. Mugabe’s presidency was not all bad at least up until the year 2000 when he decided to deport every white person from Zimbabwe. Drove all the farmers out and redistributed that land to Zimbabweans. Since the year 2000, the Zimbabwean economy has been in an extreme downward spiral. In the Middle of that Mugabe has managed to live in luxury while the rest of the Zimbabwean people are in poverty. Zimbabwe does not have its own currency because the Zimbabwean dollar has been hyper-inflated to the point that they had a 1 trillion-dollar note. Because of that, the Government adopted a multi-currency system.
Mugabe has stayed in power because most of the people who have surrounded him were people he fought with during the struggle for independence. Some if not all were just as corrupt as Mugabe. The constitution has been changed to allow Mugabe to stay in power this long; they have no accountability because they control the organizations that are supposed to offer checks and balances have been destroyed.
In the early years of Mugabe’s presidency, the rule of law was generally followed. Zimbabwe was government by the constitution, for the most parts. Over the years Mugabe and ZANU-PF had progressively and in a systematic fashion destroyed the independence and impartiality of the judicial justice system. In the year 2000, and the years after Mugabe had managed to purge the judiciary and filled the key position with ZANU-Pf supports. He bribed judges to buy their loyalty. He then moved to give instruction to prosecutors to keep opposition leaders or supports in prison for as long as possible. He further turned the police into a partisan unaccountable arm of the government. According to the human rights watch, police between April and July 2008, were given specific orders not investigate ZANU-PF supports who were involved in political violence. While on the other hand, the police were systematically arresting members of the opposition party.In short Mugabe and the people around him where corrupt, it is easy to lay blame on just Mugabe for the situation that Zimbabwe is in right now.
So now that Mugabe looks like he is gone, what next for Zimbabwe? history teaches us one thing when it comes to changing regimes. Replacing the old leadership is often a lot harder than people think. Currently, the man being taunted to replace Mugabe is Emerson Mnangagwa. The interesting part is Emerson Mnangagwa and the army general where longtime allies of Mugabe. Mr. Mnangawa was the vice president and was also the senior member of ZANU-PF until he was sacked by Mugabe not too long ago. My view here is that nothing has changed, Emerson Mnangagwa was Mugabe deputy did nothing when his leader was imprisoning and allegedly killing political opponents. He did nothing when Mugabe was throwing a party worth 1 million dollars for his birthday, while millions live in poverty. He also did nothing when Mugabe was expelling all the white farmers. Finally, where were these guys when Mugabe was systematically undermining the rule of law and turning the police into his lap dog. It is easy to lay the blame on Mugabe but let us not forget that Mugabe had a leadership team and that Leadership team had Mr. Mnangawa in it. And to add-on to that Zimbabwe has the same constitution that enabled Mugabe to stay in power for almost 40 years.
Lastly, as I have written in my previous posts, Zimbabwe and Africa, in general, does not aid what it needs are strong institutions. The constitution needs to be amended to limit the power of the presidency and Zimbabweans need to hold elections as possible. Adding a layer of accountability might just be as simple as having the parliamentary vote on who gets to lead and serve in key positions of Government. This way the elected Members of Parliament representing the people have a say on who leads the country. For example, the appointment of key positions like the army general or finance ministry should be subject to parliament approval. It is a tense time for Zimbabwe at the moment, the rest of Africa is watching how Zimbabweans handle the transition.