2017, yet another clean slate where we can start again and strive for new goals. However, it is difficult to imagine that it will be a happy one in Zimbabwe. Even as an optimistic person it is difficult to see anything positive but a rocky road ahead.
With government workers still waiting to be paid for December, desperation is reaching new levels. There have been reports of family members abroad trying to send money through ecocash but they had no cash themselves to pay out. Families have gone through Christmas without being able to celebrate, except going to church. Dealers on the black market were taking 15% commision. As it stands the only reliable way to send money is through international money companies such as Western Union.
Politically, it is a year where the amp will rise ahead of the 2018 elections. Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says “people will decide their future” if securocrats deny hi the chance to lead the country – if he wins the 2018 national elections.
Tsvangirai’s comments came at a time when insiders within opposition parties indicated that he was tipped to lead the proposed opposition coalition that will challenge President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party in the upcoming polls.
Tsvangirai has challenged Mugabe, 92, in three consecutive elections and has accused him of rigging the vote.
“We can’t go back to the 2008 situation. Power transfer is an issue that we need to deal with and other state functionaries decide to disrespect the will of the electorate,” Tsvangirai told News 24.
Mugabe unleashed the military and other state security agents who took on a terror campaign on opposition supports, killing more than 400 of Tsvangirai’s supporters ahead of the June 2008 presidential election. This resulted in him pulling out of the race. He later formed a unity Government with Mugabe following the intervention of the South African Development Community (SADC).
Strangely enough some securocrats, such as the Zimbabwe National Army’s Major General Douglas Nyikayaramba, have openly claimed that would not salute a leader with no credentials of the country’s war of liberation – in apparent reference to Tsvangirai who did not take part in the liberation struggle.
“We have always won elections despite Mugabe deploying soldiers and rigging elections. We are going to pressurise the government so that key democratic reforms are implemented before campaigning for the 2018 elections start. We need to ensure that electoral laws and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commision are transformed so that the democratic will of the people of Zimbabwe prevails when the elections are held, ” Tsvangirai said.
Elsewhere, leader of the Zimbabwe People First, Joyce Mujuru’s spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire said chances of Mugabe rigging the next elections were “next to nothing”, arguing that their party knew of Mugabe’s “rigging tactics”.
“We have so many people in our party who were in both Zanu-PF and government who know how the people’s will was being manipulated and these people could be helpful to our proposed coalition when we go towards 2018,” said Mawarire.
It is no doubt a difficult time for Zimbabweans, but the future could be bright, in order than things go to plan and democracy takes its toll. For many who live overseas and have not seen what goes on first hand, it is hard to sympathise when you have no experienced.
However, this year could prove to be a pivotal opportunity for the people of Zimbabwe to rise and take change to another level. As it stands, the country is miles behind in development an got use this chance as a springboard to further development and politically challenging issues.
Many shy away from negotiating with Western Countries, deeming they want to have their own personalities and way of doing things. But having attitude like that will only keep them at the same place, when moving forward should be the forefront of every Zimbabwean national.