Basildon Peta: After 28 years of misrule and corruption, the end is near

Related Topics

On many occasions, as a Zimbabwean, I have been tempted to lose all hope. The more so when so many unthinkable things have happened, and I have thought they could not get any worse before my countrymen decide enough is enough and revolt against the tyrant Robert Mugabe.

But until now, Zimbabweans have simply adapted and carried on. Their patience has been as durable as Mr Mugabe's dictatorship.

I think of the many days Zimbabweans have failed to receive their salaries in the banks after a month's hard work because the country so often runs out of its own currency. I think of the months they go without electricity, fuel and most basics. I think of all the evidence of economic ruin; the empty supermarket shelves, the worthless currency, the widespread poverty and squalor. I say to myself, things can't get any worse. And yet they do.

I have watched with trepidation when the general response from my countrymen has been to remain patient in long queues and adapt. If you can't get your money, you wait in a queue until the central bank provides the next supplies of cash. I have watched queuing develop into a peculiar Zimbabwean habit. When you see a queue forming you rush to join it before you know what it is for. The chances are that whatever commodity other people are queuing to buy, you will need it yourself because of the frequent shortages.

The docility of Zimbabweans in the face of Mr Mugabe's reckless and incompetent rule has perhaps convinced him of his own invincibility.

And yet, I am convinced the end has finally come for the Zimbabwean President after 28 years of misrule, unbridled corruption and shameless cronyism.

It is unlikely to be a smooth transition. The main opposition's claims of victory yesterday were not baseless. Returns from the constituencies showed a substantial opposition win. Electoral authorities were still withholding results late yesterday long after completion of counting. That is an ominous sign. Mr Mugabe will probably declare himself the victor despite the results. But he will now have to contend with a different nation.

One of the biggest disadvantages of being Zimbabwean is that wherever you go, the traumatic consequences of Mr Mugabe's misrule follow you; at least if you still have family back home.

Since being hounded out of the country in 2002, I have lived in Africa's largest economy, boasting a functioning democracy and an easy life for anyone with a reasonable income. Yet each day, I am reminded of Zimbabwe's misery, particularly when I call my 79-year-old mother and she tells me she has gone three weeks without clean water, or two or three days without food because there is no electricity to cook with and, at her age, she cannot go to collect firewood.

Sometimes it has been difficult for me to enjoy a meal with my family in South Africa knowing that my mother is going hungry across the border. But for once, I smell something in the air; change that is now unavoidable. For once I am preparing to enjoy a decent meal.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Tim Bell has lamented the fact that people don't do what they're told any longer  

Do what you’re told…or else. Now that rings a Bell

Simon Kelner
A couple calculates their costs with the help of some paperwork  

It’s the dream of escape that makes couples keep their finances secret from each other

John Walsh
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?