“It’s home, but nothing’s changed for me to go home.”
In mid-November 2017, after the removal of the aged despot Robert Mugabe, there were celebrations on the streets of Harare: citizens sang and danced with soldiers on top of tanks.
The “soft coup”, as it was dubbed, was supposed to rid Zimbabwe of the corruption and fraudulent elections that had come to define the latter Mugabe years. A military spokesperson announced on state television that the the army was targeting criminals around Mugabe that were causing social and economic suffering.
But less than a year later, the army was out on the capital’s streets again, when Zimbabwe was thrown into political uncertainty. This time, the army was very much pitted against citizens. The military killed seven protestors disputing the controversial election victory of Emmerson Mnangagwa, a man once once nicknamed “the Crocodile”.
“Fears that the election would be illegitimate were realised, and it was worse, the extreme violence by the military on 1 August (with) the subsequent military-led crackdown on opposition activists including abductions, beatings, and arbitrary arrests,” said Dewa Mavhinga, Southern Africa director at Human Rights Watch (HRW).
A month later, the Constitutional Court confirmed Mnangagwa had won the presidential election, or rather concluded that the opposition that brought the case against the ruling Zanu-PF to the Court had presented insufficient evidence to overturn the election result.
So does the future hold out any hope for Zimbabwe?
Mnangagwa set up a Commission of Enquiry to investigate the post-election violence, but human rights activists fear it is set to be a whitewash. Indeed, Mnangagwa and Vice President, and retired general, Constantino Chiwenga have suggested it is not the army to blame for the violence, but the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is. As of yet, no soldiers have been arrested for the killings on 1 August.
It has left Zimbabweans unconvinced that this represented the dawn of the new democratic country that was promised in last year’s coup.
Yet, as Mavhinga from Human Rights Watch explains, it was never going to be like that.
“These military guys were unlikely to risk their lives by carrying out a coup brazenly only to lose it six months later in an election,” he says of last year’s deposal of Mugabe.
Mavhinga is far from alone in his assessment of how the election would be carried out.
“I had no hopes for this election, I am a …read more
Source:: New Statesman