Checking my past blogs I note one written 20/11/17 titled: “Zimbabwe – Mugabe on the way out but what next?” Zimbabwe is in the news again as today as the results of the elections that recently took place have been announced, not that you would know given there has been so little news coverage.
Online BBC is running one story though: “Zimbabwe election: Opposition calls poll results a ‘coup’.” “Zimbabwe’s opposition leader has said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s election victory is a “coup against [the people’s] will”. Nelson Chamisa repeated his claim that the results announced late on Thursday night were fake, and said he had won Monday’s presidential poll”. One of my Zimbabwean Facebook friends posted: “You are not President of Zimbabwe at all. If you were you would not rush to send a congrats to yourself like this. Millions of Zimbabweans could have done that and not you. You clearly rigged this election. No ethics and values at all. We only congratulate leaders who are honest. Please spare us from all these lies. You were in power for 38 years and all you build was an army that killed people. You are a very cruel man. Matebeleland is mourning up to day because of you. Even Chigumba announcing the results could not put her head up. Noone who is principled will trust you at all. May those who got elected by masses of Zimbabwe be announced winners by the people and not junta.”
One of the reasons for my taking an interest is I know a number of Zimbabweans living in my town, and part of my community activism has been to work with and support some of them as they settle in the UK and have to deal with a plethora of issues, including regularizing their immigration status. I came to regard some of them, who I came to see as excellent people and as friends. I recognize a huge range of outlooks and a community showing both harmony and disharmony. Many have well integrated in and contributed to British life and seem to show little interest in returning to their native place and it seems decreasing concern for those left behind or seeking to gain a right to stay in the UK given historical UK government indifference. I like what one of my Zimbabwean friends once said: “there are religious Zimbabweans, political Zimbabweans and Zimbabweans who care for neither, some of who are drunk!”
Sadly, the days when under white rule when Zimbabwean was seen as the bread basket of Africa and leading the way in so many areas: education, health etc. has now changed to it being seen as a basket case of Africa, as much in the country has been run down due principally to the brutal regime of Robert Mugabe, a factor in so many leaving to live in the UK. I look on the latest developments with a degree of consternation. I was interested listening to a Radio 4 “Thought for the Day” presentation, when the presenter, someone who had lived in the country recounted a story of a beautiful rose that was planted a few years back when the country was suffering a severe drought. The rose was able to thrive because it was watered and nurtured as a mark of defiance and was a metaphor to how the country could be. That hope remains, even despite the disappointing election outcome and the many challenges still facing that country.