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

Share
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

Ashdown Group: B2B Marketing Manager - Events, Digital, Offline

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: B2B Marketing Manager (Events, Digit...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The 10 biggest myths about abortion

Ann Furedi
Students protest outside the University of London on 9 December 2010 against government proposals to let universities triple tuition fees  

'I’m gonna kill this lot', and other things a police officer shouldn't be saying during a protest

Hannah Dee
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable