Emmerson Mnangagwa

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YOU would think the passing of icon Oliver Mtukudzi would, in some way temporarily ease tensions between the Government and Zimbabwe’s frustrated citizens, kodwa nex. The people don’t want President Emmerson Mnangangwa to use Tuku’s demise as an opportunity for politicking.

The shocking news of Mtukudzi’s passing came out yesterday afternoon, whilst people were reminiscing another African great, Hugh Masekela who died the same day, a year ago. A salvo of tributes from different parts of the globe having been pouring in for the 66 year-old. Also sending his condolences or merely being diplomatic was President Mnangangwa.  “Today we said goodbye to a true patriot. Oliver Mtukudzi, your voice has given us comfort during difficult times, and will remain with us for posterity. Rest in peace comrade,” read his tweet.

Zimbabweans on Twitter didn’t take kindly to the President referring to the late musician as a ‘comrade’. Replying to his tweet, one Zimbabwean said “why are those who assassinated Sam Mtukudzi mourning with us today? Murderers who kill innocent people to cling on to power are here with us as Winky D is in hiding fearing for his life. Tuku was troubled for his song Bvuma.” Sam Mtukudzi is the deceased’s son who died in a tragic accident in 2012 and Winky D is a dancehall artist from Zim, who recently became an enemy of the state after releasing a single last year titled KaSong Kejecha, which fires shots at the Government for the country’s economic woes.

Mnangangwa made an early return to the country on Monday from his fund-raising trip abroad, due to the unrest in Zimbabwe. There have been ongoing anti-government protests in the country of Mtukudzi’s birth, since Mnangangwa decided to increase fuel prices. The protests snowballed into a three-day strike by the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

The loath that citizens of that country have for their government and ruling party is so bad they don’t want Tuku to get a national hero’s funeral. “Please don’t insult Tuku’s great work by burying him among perpetrators of the same violence and human rights abusers he sang against…Heroes Acre is nothing but a playground for Zanu PF, we all know this. Tuku deserves so much more,” one of Mtukudzi’s fans said in a tweet.
“Don’t give him the heroes status…he wants peace…he can’t be buried among murderers and thieves,” read another.

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Like Moses who led the Israelites out of Egypt but never saw the promise land himself, so is the late Morgan Tsvangirai, who would’ve enjoyed casting his ballot together with millions of Zimbabweans in today’s historic election.

There was a time when the MDC leader was the only vocal critic of then president Robert Mugabe, when everyone else kept their silence in intimidation. Hearing current MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa’s bravado as he spoke after casting his vote, you get a clear picture of the stark difference between now and what took place a decade ago in that country when they had elections. “I represent the young and the new. My part is to play a positive role, in making sure that there’s peace in this country. Zimbabweans need peace, Zimbabweans need to build their nation. And I know that we’re winning this election…we have won this election, I’m here to confirm that we are ready to lead and ready to govern, we’re ready for a new Zimbabwe,” said Chamisa.

Nelson Chamisa

In the 2008 elections, Tsvangirai outpolled Mugabe by 48% to 43%. But Tsvangirai informed the electoral commission that he was withdrawing from the election after citing violence and the intimidation of MDC supporters. Threats of war, the participation of uniformed soldiers in Zanu-PF ­campaigns, the MDC’s lack of access to the state media, the banning and disruption of MDC meetings and rallies, the disenfranchisement of many voters, the barring of his party from rural areas and the electoral commission’s failure to ensure free and fair polls. Months later, the results came out that Zanu PF won the elections by 90%.

Tsvangirai said 86 people had been killed and 10 000 injured in the violence. About 10 000 homes had been destroyed, displacing 200 000 people.

Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Thabo Mbeki.

Today’s elections have a different feel to them. International observers have the liberty to carry out their duties without any intimidation, while local and international media is free to cover every process of the election without looking over their shoulder.

There’s novelty to these elections, as it’s the first time in more than 30 years that former president Mugabe won’t be running for presidency after being removed from power last November by the army.

The aging Mugabe addressed the media yesterday outside his house, where he vehemently said that he wouldn’t vote for his former party Zanu PF. All this because party leader Emmerson Mnangagwa, worked together with the army to remove Mugabe from the presidential seat.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa

The door of change is opened from inside. And millions of Zimbabweans will have their hands on the door knob of change, as they cast their ballot in the country’s elections today. As a South African, I truly hope this election brings needed change to the people of Zim, as Tsvangirai had always dreamt.

 


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