By Prosperity Mzila

There had been many calls from the local opposition political parties, the international community, non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, pressure groups and individuals for Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe to step down.  The tantrums, protests, stay-away or even MDC-T’s boycott of the 2008 Presidential elections could not compel Cde Mugabe to step down. The people of Zimbabwe continued with their day to day activities as though all was normal.  The fall of the Zimbabwean dollar, the silent death of the economy and the stagnation on infrastructural development was not even enough to force the former President to resign.

Due to former President Mugabe’s contribution to the liberation of this country and total economic emancipation as well as his role in pioneering the land reform programme, many people held a degree of respect and honour for him and they would not be influenced by external forces to eject him out of power. 

Of course the last days of Cde Mugabe’s reign were characterised by some elements of misrule as he abdicated executive powers to people who were not even in government. Nevertheless, Zimbabweans did not violently revolt against him. Instead, a lot of Zimbabwean citizens turned to religion for answers, while some chose to relocate abroad for greener pastures.  Zimbabwe suffered brain drain and countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, South Africa and many others across the globe, benefited from Zimbabwe’s skilled labour. Families disintegrated, companies closed while service delivery broke down and corruption in government institutions rose to dizzying heights.  People dreamed of a better day.

There is an old adage that says if the beatings on drum become too loud, that drum is about to rip open. Such was the loudness of former First Lady, Grace Mugabe.  She had become very loud and reckless in her utterances to a point of pushing the humble Zimbabweans to the limit.  She usurped her husband’s Presidential powers and mistook the respect and humbleness that Zimbabweans exhibited towards Cde Mugabe for gullibility, yet when it all came down, she was the one with an egg on her face.

The people of Zimbabwe, without pressure from the outside world, put aside political differences, religion, race and colour to unanimously stand against corruption that had become rife in government ministries, tender boards and parastatals.  With one voice, they said no to thieving ministers who hid under the protection of the former First Lady. They set out in support of their pride the military which had been openly denigrated and humiliated by Mrs Mugabe.  They said no to continued firing of Zimbabwe’s vice presidents, following the sacking of two vice presidents in the last four years on allegations of suspected treason. They demanded the resignation of Cde Mugabe as President.

The West that is used to encroaching into other nations’ sovereignty, ordering heads of states to step down, woke up to a surprise when Zimbabweans exercised their sovereignty rights to change leadership without any gun shot. The West had forced Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak of Egypt to step down, through financing the revolution.  During that time, the BBC News channel reported that the official number of people who died was 840, 10 of which were policemen and 2 000 people were wounded.  People had to die and the Western countries had to make it happen in order to justify their actions to the international community.

They did the same with Saddam Hussein in April of 2003 as they set out to achieve their American strategic objectives in the Middle East. 

The world woke up on Wednesday the 15th of November with the Zimbabwean military in full control of the key institutions in an operation code-named Operation Restore Legacy.  It has now been a full week and in a bloodless arising, the Zimbabweans have spoken and Cde Mugabe had to step down.  President Jacob Zuma as the Chairman of SADC approached Ian Khama, President of Botswana who is the Chairman of the SADC Troika on Defence and Security to intervene in the Zimbabwean situation, to which Zimbabweans rejected. They rejected any external interference as they felt things were under control.  Zimbabweans spoke with one voice and achieved what they set out to do without causing chaos, commotion, vandalism and looting.  Everything was done peacefully under the watchful eye of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. 

Zimbabweans set out to map their own trajectory to renew leadership in a very peaceful manner.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.