Viva Zimbabweans: An Endangered, Rare Species

Harare – Zimbabweans are a rare species. Four decades under Robert Mugabe’s despotic rule – he remains a hero back home. As he napped during summits – his followers punched their air in solidarity.

Gukurahundi atrocities haunt thousands. Mugabe calls it: a moment of madness. Then blood flowed during the 2002 plebiscite and afterwards. Perennial contested elections. Cholera outbreak claimed 5 000 lives in 2008.

Still – peace reigned thereafter.

Derick Matsengarwodzi
The year 2008 harbour recent scars. After a month of waiting – results were not forthcoming. Our daily chores continued – unfazed – only in Zimbabwe.

When results finally trickled – it was a runoff. Mugabe was the sole participant. Events of 27 June 2008 still haunt victims. Mugabe won. Suffering continued. We were accustomed. Then, Thabo Mbeki initiated a unity government.

Egos shrunk. Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai finally kissed.
Zimbabweans Saluting Soldiers After the November 2017 Coup the Ousted Robert Mugabe 

Families possess regalia from varied political parties. It is called playing it safe. When political rallies roll into town – multitudes throng the stadium. They know all party slogans by heart. You can term it double standards. I say: welcome to Zimbabwe.

College graduates peddle recharge cards wearing a protest grin. The CBD has become a big filthy flee market. Roasted maize. Used underwear. Just take your pick. Raw sewage gushes across suburbs. Hop – step and jump – that is how we survive here. Roads can become fish ponds. No one cares about us anymore.

Once upon a time – we all became billionaires. Yet, we don’t have our own currency.

Cash is now for sale – 20 percent or more for every dollar – in coins. The greenback has vanished. We are surely a cashless society. Bank queues are continuous. Our mothers sleep in pursuit of the elusive dollar. 

Yet, they stream to mandatory rallies without a protest.

Before this mayhem, war veterans were each offered a $50 000 reward in 1997. Thereafter, the economy plunged. Black Friday it became. Pockets of resistance were recorded around 1999. The army intervened – and all went silent. The gun triumphed over peoples’ will. Millions sought greener pastures elsewhere. 

Their repatriated money sustained Mugabe.

Mugabe’s 2017 fall was dramatic. Our patience turned into anger. Grace Mugabe had turned the country into her own opera. Military machinery rolled into town. Power exchanged hands fast – a coup that was not a coup. What’s in a name? We poured into the streets in search of our liberators. 

Oppressors became liberators. Soldiers turned friends.

Tsvangirai breathed his last on February 14. His tormentors paid their condolences. In Zimbabwe we say: wafa wanaka – in death one becomes a saint. Differences aside – the country was painted red. Indeed, we are a nation of uncommon traits.

Come July 30 – Emmerson Mnangagwa will seek the people’s mandate to replace Mugabe. Sections have articulated his excesses within the ruling party. Yet, he wants to bury the past. Zimbabweans trust he is better than Mugabe. Nelson Chamisa considers himself the Joshua of Zimbabwe. 

After Mugabe – patience is thinning. Our next leader must know we are a rare breed of citizens.

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