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

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Read Next
'Our media are suffering a new experience: not fear of being called anti-Semitic'  

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk
David Cameron (pictured) can't steal back my party's vote that easily, says Nigel Farage  

Cameron’s benefits pledge is designed to lure back Ukip voters. He’ll have to try harder

Nigel Farage
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices