Zimbabwe will clock 30 years on Sunday but the champagne bottles will be uncorked only by one side …the Zanu-Patriotic Front. The other side, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will recognize the event only as a national day but will not shout itself hoarse.
30 years ago, the dream was that Zimbabwe would be a beacon in that part of the continent but that dream conked out when Zimbabweans who fought to oust the whites turned machetes on themselves all in the name of getting power.
Whether there will be any turn around remains an unsure bet but the present peace is on a swing.
The so-called partnership governance exists mainly on the document it is written and signed on but on the practical side there are more errors rather than trials.
President Robert Mugabe, sensing the dominant political fixture he had on the country keeps pushing the MDC into the shadow but claiming that what he has been doing has the support of Prime Minister Morgan Tshangari.
With Mugan support, Zanu-PF hardliners are having the fiesta of their lives in the vein that ”we’ll see who dare touch us.”
Political analysts say Zimbabwe would have fared better if Mugabe had worked with the MDC under a fairness doctrine, giving them the recognition which the majority of Zimbabwean voters had given at the polls.
Its hard time for a party that had been in the helm of power to be shifted to the opposition. The sirens are no longer there, car doors are no longer opened, nobody to salute you or no national anthem played at official ceremonies or guard-of-honor to inspect.
These may be some of the factors that have hardened Mugabe to be glued to power.
True to form, talk of new elections is on the air but it is feared that it will all end up being a re-run of the last polls in which hundreds of opposition members were wounded or butchered and even killed by overzealous Patriotic Front activists in orgies that were rampant in the countryside.
No date for the elections has been set but it will generally be the last straw to break the camels back when they come round.
With each side seeking to undercut the other’s political platform, the economy would again come up for the frying.
As if by design, the Mugabe government about a month before Independence Day passed the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act which requires all big businesses in the country to give a 51 percent shareholding to what it called, ”indigenous Zimbabweans.”
Foreign companies doing business in the country have given it a mixed reaction. While the world’s largest platinum producer, Anglo Platinum, Old Mutual and a few others have given it the nod, megabanks as Standard Chartered, Barclays and Stanbic are weighing the consequences.
To add to the mystery, Prime Minister Tsivangari had opposed the law initially but came back to support it – a mob his critics termed as ”indecisive.”
But despite the use of the United States dollar and the South African rand as Zimbabwe’s national currency to shore-up its shaky economy, it still has a long economic road to travel to make the ordinary Zimbabwean catch up living like yester-years.
The power-sharing government keeps tip-toeing in all forms signaling that unity within the ranks is a mirage.
Zimbabwe remains the world’s fourth country with the riskiest business environment after Myanmar (Burma) and the ninth in the world’s top ten worst corrupt nation after Chad.
With such credentials, Zimbabwe needs to get its acts together speedily.
By Rod Mac-Johnson