Is Zimbabwe on the brink of self destruction?

February 4, 2019 Africa , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Reuters photo



Constance van Niekerk



Wednesday the 30th of January was #BlackWednesday as Zimbabweans wore black to relay a message of disappointment and disdain to the raping of women and girls between the 14th and the 16th of last month. It is sad when women and girls are raped in a free country with no terrorism whatsoever by the same people who are supposed to protect them. Pregnant women were assaulted and gang raped in the comfort of their own homes, women were raped in front of their children; is this the change we hoped for?


The stories of rape, torture, killings and brutality at the hands of army personnel make Stephen King look like an amateur. Young boys were beaten up without any provocation; men were brutally tortured and left for dead while others were arrested. Some are missing and others living in fear in a democratic nation. Many unmentionable atrocities were committed by the military, so much innocent blood spilled. However, President Mnangagwa claims the army personnel were imposters. What then is the government doing about this? What is the world doing about the dire crisis in Zimbabwe?


How long shall the people of Zimbabwe suffer while the world stands aside and watches? South Africa wants Zimbabwe’s economy to flourish so that Zimbabweans can go home, don’t we all? However, quiet diplomacy will not help Zimbabwe’s economy to flourish. The situation is that Zimbabwe is not getting any better, South Africa’s economy is badly affected and yet S.A chooses to keep mum. General work permits are unattainable, meaning many unemployed foreign nationals would rather suffer in S.A. than return to their countries. This only helps in increasing the crime rate and strain on resources in S.A, a country with its own problems. Can SA really afford to keep their quiet diplomacy on the Zim situation? Or, is there someone gaining from all this?


The inflation in Zim is escalating, so is the cost of living. The prices of basic commodities are exorbitant, fuel prices ridiculously overpriced, medical attention a pipe dream to many as tariffs unaffordable. Is it far-fetched to declare that the new president has failed dismally? As if all this is not enough, the rains decided to stay away. There is a drought particularly in the southern part of Zimbabwe and the effects are beginning to show on the crops. It definitely never rains but it pours.


Why were people not shot when they marched to remove the outgoing president Robert Mugabe but were shot soon after the elections (August 2018) for protests against the current president and even so between the 14th-16th for protests against the same current president. This smells like the same intimidating tactics by the former president to instil fear in people and suppress any opposition.


On Tuesday January 29th, hundreds of lawyers marched across the country against the lack of rule of law and for justice for the many detained during the period of the mass stay away. Is this enough however? Zimbabwe is crying out for help and is on the verge of self-destruction. Who shall come to its rescue?





Constance van Niekerk

Constance van Niekerk is a South-African based Zimbabwean-born freelance music critic, poet, photographer, educator, creative writer and blogger par excellence. She has written for The Southern Times Newspaper of Namibia as well as Zimbabwe’s foremost daily, The Herald, blogging also on Up Close and Personal with Zim Artists since 2012. Early in 2014 Constance rebranded the blog to L’Afrique Beat to reflect the interests the whole of Africa and create a continental flavour. L’ Afrique Beat features well researched and informative articles on Africa’s musical icons, entertainment, as well as the lifestyle issues of Africa.

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1 Comment

  1. Rupen Savoulian February 05, at 07:42

    Hello. Outside of Zimbabwe, the current President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was portrayed as the reformer - ready to make sweeping changes to the political, economic and social structures of Zimbabwean society. In Australia, the media showed pictures of cheering crowds dancing in the streets of Harare when Mugabe was deposed. There was talk that white farmers would be provided recompense for any properties seized by the former Mugabe regime. That picture of euphoric optimism has quickly been replaced as Mnangagwa has resorted to repressive tactics in squashing demonstrations, failed to restore the economy, and the much-ballyhooed Western IMF investment has failed to materialise. So why were audiences in Australia lied to about the situation in Zimbabwe? I have a number of educated guesses to answer this question. I think it is because the corporate media routinely demonise politicians and regimes that defy - for their own reasons- the prescriptions of the capitalist West. Mugabe had a background in anti-colonial and anti-British Empire struggle - and so an example has to be made of him. Mugabe should have resigned a long time ago, and his economic programme needed change. But Mnangagwa was at least on the surface friendly to Western business interests, even though he uses the same oppressive tactics of his predecessor. So I don't think Zimbabwe itself is self-destructing, but rather the neoliberal ideology that underpins the economic and political programme of Mnangagwa. The latter wins plaudits in London, Paris, Washington and Canberra, while leaving his people to suffer the consequences.


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