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

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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour leader Ed Miliband unveils Labour's pledges carved into a stone plinth in Hastings  

Election 2015: Smash the two-party system! Smash the voting system!

Armando Iannucci
Tactical voting is a necessary evil of the current first-past-the-post system, where voters vote against what they do not want rather than in favour of what they do  

Election 2015: Voting tactically has become more fraught in new political order

Michael Ashcroft
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power