Far from uhuru for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

What is sad about all this is that what is being done has nothing to do with creating better lives for Zimbabweans. It is all about self serving individuals who think they are entitled to rule this country, writes Crecey Kuyedzwa.

Last week, before this week's coup "which is not a coup", Twimbos, the name most Zimbabweans call themselves on Twitter, started a hashtag #ZimbabweWeWant.

As the hashtag was trending, most Twimbos highlighted some of the things they would like to see in their motherland. They also highlighted things that they don't want to see, like corrupt government officials, something which is like a badge of honour in President Robert Mugabe's government as long as one is loyal to him. They also do not want to see a situation where some animals are more equal than others.

Government policy is that of one man one farm, and yet those loyal to Mugabe own multiple farms. They also want those occupying positions of authority in key government institutions and state owned-entities to be there on merit, and not because of their links to the appointing authority.

The list is endless, but the bottom line is that Zimbabweans want change, it doesn't matter who brings it.

Striking the right chord

It is thus not surprising to see Zimbabweans celebrating a coup, or whatever name the army would want to call it. Anything that strips Mugabe of his executive powers and stops him from passing on his 37-year reign to his wife would have received similar support.

It was a case of deal with Mugabe, and we will deal with the consequences later.

As much as the leader of the opposition MDC-T has a reasonable support base, most would only vote for him just to get rid of Mugabe. It is against this background that the Army got support from Zimbabweans. Its speech delivered on Monday also struck the right chord as it resonated with what Zimbabweans have been calling for, for years. 

In his speech, Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantino Guveya Chiwenga said the country has not seen any meaningful development for more than five years.

"As a result of squabbling within the ranks of Zanu-PF, there has been no meaningful development in the country for the past five years.

"The resultant economic impasse has ushered in more challenges to the Zimbabwean populace such as cash shortages and rising commodities prices."

He could have put it at 20 years though, as the train went off the rail as far back as 1997. But it is the issue of lack of development that got the attention of most Zimbabweans. What also got them excited is that the Army promised to flush out criminal elements around the president.

It is a fact that among the rank and file of President Mugabe's government we have thieves and the most corrupt elements. So after years of calling for their arrests and dismissal from government, there is a reason to celebrate when such happens.

Tread with caution

What is sad about all this is that what is being done has nothing to do with creating better lives for Zimbabweans. It is all about self-serving individuals who think they are entitled to rule this country because they went to war.

The sad part is that amid celebration by Zimbabweans, they are failing to see what the Army general's speech revealed. 

The general said in his speech: "The current purging and cleansing process in Zanu-PF which so far is targeting mostly members associated with our liberation history, is a serious cause for concern to us in the Defence Forces."

This shows they have only sprung into action because their position at the feeding trough is now being threatened.

Over the years the civil service sector and state-owned companies have been used as retirement homes for ex-army generals. Many have been given key roles in key government institutions, never mind their incompetence and partisanship. So all this has little to do with the people’s plight - its a self-serving agenda.

The Army is not even hiding that it is partisan and wants guaranteed posts in the ruling party.

If the Army won't allow those without war credentials to influence what happens in the party, what makes Zimbabweans think that they will allow the opposition to run government?

One question Zimbabweans should be asking themselves is what is so different to what the Army has said to what ordinary Zimbabweans have been saying for years?

Some elements of the general's speech are not different to what Zimbabweans have been saying all along, with some like Pastor Evan Mawarire getting arrested for saying the same.

Another activist, Itai Dzamara, was abducted, never to be seen again. Mugabe might be on his way out, but for Zimbabweans its not yet uhuru.

* Crecey Kuyedzwa is a Fin24 correspondent.

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