© EDITOR — The latest events have cast a dark cloud on the future of the country, showing signs and symptoms of the dearth of democracy.
Our government has again scored an own goal and has been caught on the wrong side of the law by grossly abusing human rights after failing to adhere to the constitutional mandate of allowing people to democratically and peacefully gather to participate in whatever business.
Zimbabwe under the leadership of President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is slowly sliding into the repressive dictatorship of the late former President Robert Gabriel Mugabe who used to apply force to silence dissenting voices.
During Mugabe’s era very few demonstrations were approved by police and when approved people would face a bashing from an overzealous, provocative police force.
Sometimes the police would complain of a manpower shortage and would not cover such demonstrations or rallies. Surprisingly manpower would be readily available whenever Zanu PF was holding its rallies or for its marches in a selective application of the law.
Police brutality has become part and parcel of the news in commuter omnibuses, at shopping centres and in beerhalls. Police brutality and indiscriminate beatings of innocent civilians who go about their business in the city centre has become the norm.
Zimbabwe for years has been going through a harsh economic and political environment. The Zimbabwe government’s legitimacy crisis starting from when Mugabe was still in power has been carried over to this new dispensation.
Mnangagwa has also inherited the same crisis which, if we were talking about football, would be called a group of death where teams would sweat in order to win the match.
People from all walks of life, churches, civic societies, members of the ruling party including the opposition celebrated the toppling of the late Mugabe and everyone saw a ray of hope hovering over the nation for a new era.
A few months after the disputed 2018 election, all hope has been wiped out. The hope the people had in the 2017 November “coup” just vanished.
On August 1, 2018 the true colours of the repressive regime under a new face deployed the army and 12 people were left dead after they demonstrated over the delay announcing election results. Several other people were wounded and hospitalised.
The people’s high hopes of a new government quickly evaporated and business started spiralling downwards, causing an economic crisis. Inflation shot up until the government suspended announcement of year-to-year inflation figures.
The hype of signed mega deals where Mnangagwa travelled from one country to another were just on paper and nothing was visible on the ground.
The State-sponsored daily, with its propaganda stories, kept the people’s hopes high with false pretences that the new dispensation would keep its promises but that was far-fetched.
The social and private media, however, exposed the government’s lack of commitment to true economic transformation of the country.
When Mnangagwa saw that his ascendancy to power was sullied, he came up with the idea of setting up Polad.
That is a group of political party leaders who participated in the 2018 harmonised elections to come together and map a way forward for the country. The mistake he did was setting up the gathering and anointing himself the convener. He became the referee, the assistant referee and the match commissioner.
A myriad of challenges continues to dog this new dispensation.
On corruption, Mnangagwa’s new government promised to punish severely government officials who were found engaging in graft but alas this was merely a catch and release game.
The scourge of corruption is still endemic in his government and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission’s teeth are falling off without it making much progress. Zimbabweans were sold a dummy.
With Mugabe gone the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans have become worse under the new dispensation, with austerity measures introduced by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube biting deep.
During Mugabe’s body-viewing at Rufaro Stadium staunch supporters of the revolutionary party were singing that Mugabe left a loaf of bread pegged at $1 and now it is beyond their reach. Life is hard for the people.
Last week’s events have fully tested the new dispensation’s test of democracy.