Emmerson Mnangagwa will today be sworn in as the president of Zimbabwe, succeeding Robert Mugabe, who not only failed to announce his resignation on ZTV this past Sunday, but was seen dropping a page from the speech that many Zimbabweans believed was what he eventually forwarded to the parliament speaker on the day impeachment proceedings against him were abandoned.
To many Zimbabweans, that announcement signified the end of an era in which free speech, freedom of association and dissent towards the ruling Zanu-FP and its leadership were brutally suppressed.
For 37 years, Zimbabwe has virtually been under a dictatorship. After the power-sharing agreement of 2009, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was made a prime minister, and his colleagues also included in Cabinet. But that would soon fall apart.
In the past week, Zimbabweans have found their voices. And this has manifested in a country not accustomed to speaking truth to power suddenly finding itself on the cusp of being released from the clutches of repression.
Below are some of the key indicators that indeed democracy may return to the country.
On November 22, TelOne, a Zimbabweans telecommunications company, instructed: “All stations [to] immediately take down the portrait of the former President of Zimbabwe [Robert Gabriel Mugabe].” Managing director Chipo Matasa sent the circular to all executive directors, management and staff.
It appears Mugabe’s resignation couldn’t have arrived a day sooner. Although not clear if the same communique was dispatched to the civil services, ZimdiTv posted a picture of what appears to be a member of the country’s police service dumping a portrait of Mugabe in a dustbin.
And Mugabe’s failure to resign on the evening of the 19th November on national TV pushed his party’s buttons as evidenced by the letter below. SK Moyo, the Zanu-PF secretary of information and publicity, issued a letter the very next day stating: “The motion of [impeachment] proceedings is expected to to be tabled before Parliament when it seats on Tuesday, 21 November 2017.”
Not to be outdone, Dr NA Mutongoreni, the registrar at the University of Zimbabwe, informed students on the 20th of November: “The University of Zimbabwe will end the current semester about a week earlier with effect from 21 November 2017.”
Consequently, end-of-2017 semester examinations will be written during the period 8 January to 24 January, 2018.
Members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forece (ZDF), widely believed to have “stolen” the 2008 elections for Mugabe, openly celebrated and mingled with ordinary Zimbabweans in the days leading up to Mugabe’s resignation.
And Grace ‘Gucci’ Mugabe’s feelings were not spared either. Zimbabweans openly told her she was not leadership material, regardless of who her spouse was.
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