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And now for the next chapter in the story of Zimbabwe

23 November 2017 - 07:18 By The Times Editorial
Emmerson Mnangagwa (L) and his wife Auxilia. File photo.
Emmerson Mnangagwa (L) and his wife Auxilia. File photo.

Sometimes when reading a particularly gripping novel, you find yourself galloping through the first chapters.

From plot twist to new intrigue, you find yourself turning from page to page until suddenly the story ends and you're left with a feeling of emptiness over having to part with characters who have filled your waking and sleeping hours. The story of Robert Mugabe's removal unfolded in similar fashion over the past week, with few people anticipating that the now former president would leave the seat he occupied for 37 years via a terse letter handed in to parliament.

However, unlike with a gripping novel, the last page of which has been turned, the story of Zimbabwe is only beginning. The protagonists have been lined up for a sequel which the world will watch with keen interest.

You have the general, Constantino Chiwenga, who is both liberator and potential dictator - depending on whom you ask. You have the vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, a man with a questionable past and possibly bright future as the leader of Zimbabwe. Both men served in Mugabe's government for years and their complicity in alleged wrongdoing and human rights abuses cannot be ignored.

The sequel to "The Fall of Robert Mugabe" will perhaps be a less racy read, without gun-battles and marches in Harare. However, if its authors, the leaders and people of Zimbabwe, want to see this drama retold countless times as the success story of a nation, they will have to make some hard decisions about leaders.

New leaders will have to abandon the ways of the past, that saw cronyism and nepotism strip a rich country of its glory. They will also need to place the people of Zimbabwe at the centre of government. The voice of the people must never be silenced.

Zimbabweans may have to be ruthless by excluding those who helped sink Zimbabwe if the country's story is to have a happy ending.