At the beginning of this week, I along with three of my friends, two of whom are from Zimbabwe watched anxiously as President Robert Mugabe addressed the nation. I, full of hope and excitement expressed how this was going to be the day that Mugabe finally resigned from his 37-year long rule on Zimbabwe. My friends pessimistically insisted that he was not going to give up power that easily. They were right as in the speech Mugabe made no mention of his resignation. He acknowledged criticisms from Zanu-PF, the military and the public, but made no mention of his resignation.
Today, Mugabe shockingly stepped down. In a letter, he expressed that his decision to step down was voluntary. This announcement has automatically ended an impeachment hearing. My friends along with other Zimbabweans have been reluctant to celebrate this historic event. For them, the country is now facing further political and economic uncertainty. Mugabe’s departure from power without the complete uprooting of Mugabeism and oppressive Zanu-PF institutions, makes this victory an empty one.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, nicknamed “the crocodile” who is the former vice president of Zimbabwe appears to be the most likely to inherit the presidency. Mugabe’s firing of Mnangagwa as vice-president paved the way for his wife Grace to succeed him and eventually triggered the army intervention. Mnangagwa was for decades Mugabe’s enforcer and had a reputation for being ruthless. Is he then the right successor for Mugabe or is he Mugabe in a different body and suit?
Some are uneasy about the prominent role the military has played in the Mugabe’s resignation. In the past few decades the influence the army has exerted over the country has been has kept Mugabe in power and shaped the state into a military oligarchy. One can therefore question whether the military is motivated by the need to protect citizens or whether the military influences government due to its own political interests.
As Zimbabwean’s await to elect a new leader next July, if credible, the election will provide a new start for Zimbabwe with a new leader who has the interests of citizens at heart. We have to wait and see how events unfold.
Featured image | Mugabe : Al Jazeera English | flickr
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.
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