Whether the summit will succeed in breaking the deadlock is still to be seen, but actions by Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF seem to portray otherwise as reports of as resurgence in politically motivated violence and abductions filter through.
I boarded a commuter omnibus from Chitungwiza with a couple of bold men who were not afraid to discuss politics and share their political opinions freely in a public setting, something not very popular in these parts of the world where fear of Mugabe and his repressive machinery reigns.
The whole bus went silent when we began discussing politics, re-affirmation of 28 years of living in fear in this so called democracy of ours, a democracy where people are even scared to share their opinions. It made me wonder how we as a people are expected one day to take the bull by the horns and confront Mugabe and his administration when we are scared of him to the extent that we can’t speak out against his misrule and debauchery.
A story was shared about how last week on a trip into town an unknown guy was manhandled and almost assaulted after telling some passengers who were exercising their right to freedom of expression to shut up and stop politics talk. Tempers easily flare these days, as the current economic hardships people are facing on a daily basis result in them bottling up anger and depression to be released at the slightest provocation. I was to learn that the angry guy had spent the past 4 days trying to retrieve his money from the bank, had just resigned from his job as policeman, and had lost his wife to another man who offered her better financial stability.
The guys I talked to expressed shock and outrage at the cholera outbreak and how the Mugabe administration is handling it and denying that people are dying of the deadly infection. One of the guys was in the high density suburbs of Glenview and Budiriro and said that he saw the cholera outbreak coming as the residents had gone for more than a month without clean drinking water and relied on water from nearby unprotected wells.
In regards to the starvation in rural Zimbabwe, I learnt that Stan Mudenge, a Zanu PF stalwart openly admitted that people are dying of hunger in his Chivi constituency, in direct contrast to fellow Zanu PF MPs who are still denying that their constituents have gone hungry and are in desperate need of food aid. Emphasis was put on the idea that Zanu PF MPs should visit their respective constituencies regularly and personally asse the impact of their ruinous policies instead of denying the status quo and pretending everything is OK in the house Robert Mugabe built.
It was then brought up that the Zimbabwean people are very thankful of Robert Mugabe’s service to the nation and but he should just go as he won’t be able to lead a people who despise him and a parliament where he has no majority for the first time since 1980. The man no longer has a “legacy” to defend as he personally took it upon himself to destroy it and now is embarrassed to be man enough to step down.
In regards to the summit, the guys predicted that it would probably end in failure as Zanu PF is not prepared to lessen its grip on political power and the way forward for the country being the holding of another election under tight international supervision, a demand that Zanu PF wont yield to as its leaders know how unpopular the party is.