By Staff Reporter.
Barely two years after the disputed Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections, the Southern African country has plunged yet into another political and socio-economic crisis amidst the covid-19 pandemic.
The echoes of the hashtag, #Zimbabwean LivesMatter# have reached high level magnitudes across the globe triggering fellow SADC countries for example South Africa to send an envoy on a fact finding mission following reports of gross human rights violations.
The troubled nation, once known as the Bread Basket of Africa is currently experiencing it worst human rights violations being perpetrated by state security agents in a bid to silence dissen.
Recently, under the guise of enforcing Covid 19 regulations, the police nabbed political activist and Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume who had called the citizens to join in a demonstration against corruption by the elite.
This was followed by the arrest of renowned journalist Hopewell Chin’ono on allegations of inciting public violence through his twitter handle with political analyst saying he is being persecuted for unearthing the Draxgate-a tender scandal that involved axed Health minister Obadiah Moyo and individuals linked to the First Family.
The arbitrary arrest of activist and journalist is a continuation of human rights abuses by the Zanu PF led government after seven people were shot dead by soldiers a day after ZEC had announced election results that fuelled protests against the outcome by opposition party supporters.
The army used live ammunition on unarmed civilians in central Harare prompting the leadership to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the killings.
On the other hand, the government exposed itself in monetary and funding issues after Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube released incorrect figures as aid from two economic giants China and America attracting a backlash from the countries’diplomats who retaliated by publishing the exact moneys channelled to the central government.
On March 15 last year, Zimbabwe experienced its worst weather disaster after the Cyclone Idai induced floods ravaged Manicaland, Masvingo and parts of Mashonaland East province resulting in the death of more than 500 people while tens of thousands were displaced. To date, close to 300 people are still missing while some of the displaced people are still living tents in camps dotted across the affected areas especially in Chimanimani.
The responsible authorities have failed to provide a decent shelter to the victims with most of them now suffering from massive food shortages. The situation is worsened by the Covid 19 pandemic that has paralysed many economies as well as limiting movements.
Hunger and starvation has fuelled child marriages and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases to vulnerable women in the affected areas.
Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a spike in Covid 19 cases with the crisis deepening due to a deteriorating health systems characterised by striking medical personnel, lack of PPEs and looting of Covid 19 funds.
On July 31, the state security agents led by the army blocked all roads leading into major cities and towns in a bid to ban angry citizens from protesting against corruption and the ever deteriorating economy.
Cases of arrests, torture and abductions were all over the social media and the perpetrators like any other time refused to accept responsibility.
After all is said and done, are the people of Zimbabwe left with any hope, after South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa appointed his special envoy, Sydney Mufamadi and Baleka Mbete? Are the people going to experience a change considering all the efforts made by previous envoys who tried to help on Zimbabwean crisis?
More questions are popping-Which parties are going to be involved as already available Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) is a group of political parties which contested during the 2018 election and was expected to deal with these major socio- political and economic issues, and have they failed?
Political analyst, Alexander Rusero has this to say, “There has been a rapid and tectonic shift of the Zimbabwean political landscape. Ripped by political fatigue and realising the perceived alternative in form of MDC Alliance is weak and incapacitated to mount any vigorous political resistance to ZANU tyranny; it seems what is now emerging is a Citizens movement, detached from MDC Alliance membership”.
This explains why the currently incarcerated prisoners are not part of MDC membership. They are just individuals yearning for change and trying to galvanise mass support outside political party affiliation.
The trending #ZimbabweanLivesMatter which has nothing to do with MDC is an eye opener on how spaces have shifted and how the opposition is likely to be reduced into a spectator as citizens take the lead in matters that concern them.
Zimbabweans are witnessing a revived and better version of #This Flag Movement where masses started rallying behind an individual’s cause and not a political institution.
Rusero added that there is tendency to exaggerate the power of social media which thus render hashtags limited against the current realities.
“That being said, MDC Alliance ripped by its own problems looks paralysed to confront ZANU PF in the streets, yet it is the alternative people look forward to”.
A million dollar question was asked again if Zimbabwe is ever going to return to normalcy after decades of political turmoil and suffering by the citizens.
Schools continue to be closed and hospitals are without medication with the sick being turned away.Maternal health is most affected, the elderly while the pensioners are struggling to survive from their meagre live savings released by NSSA.
Surely Zimbabwe is on the edge.
What is the perception towards the justice delivery system in Zimbabwe? Now left with 24 months to get to another general election, what should Zimbabweans expect, what will come into the mind of many come election time?
Is the Zanu PF government going to repent and sanitise the nation through political reforms and fixing the economy to win the hearts if the people ahead of the 2023 elections?
Only time will tell.