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By Editorial staff


Why we care about Zimbabwe’s situation

Under President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over after the military deposed Mugabe in 2017, the brutality continues.

You have to admire the grit of any opposition party in Zimbabwe which believes it can wrest power from the ruling Zanu-PF kleptocracy. That’s because despite attempts to portray the country as democratic, it is anything but.

For the past 25 years at election time, the party – whose éminence grise, Robert Mugabe, believed fervently in a one-party state – has attacked, arrested and killed anyone who dares raise a challenge against it.

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And before that, its army’s North Korean-trained Five Brigade slaughtered thousands of civilians in the Matabeleland province in what many characterise as a genocide.

Under President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over after the military deposed Mugabe in 2017, the brutality continues, justifying the continuation of sanctions against the party and its leaders by Western countries. Zanu-PF controls the police and security apparatus, which does its bidding.

Hence in the run-up to the national election in the country next week, there have been multiple instances of arrests of opposition party members.

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In league with the government appears to be the judiciary, the latest example of that being a high court ruling that an opposition application to view the voters’ roll was “not urgent” – nine days before the poll.

Zimbabwe’s electoral commission is also alleged to be deeply compromised and recently refused to accredit a well-known academic as an election observer.

Why should we care about what happens north of the Limpopo? As long as the country continues to be looted by a small local and international elite, Zimbabweans will continue to flock across our borders looking for mere survival. Also, events there could be replicated here, in time, some believe.

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Fortunately, our electoral commission has proved its independence and efficiency since 1994 and citizens must encourage its work in the future. We must be the democracy Africa looks up to.