Zimbabweans celebrate Mugabe's fall from Grace

19 November 2017 - 19:10 By Katharine Child
Residents attend a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017.
Residents attend a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017.
Image: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

 

“I am so happy. I am so happy‚” said Zimbabwean Runyararo Nyakuda as he learned Mugabe had been expelled from Zanu-PF.

The party recalled Mugabe on Sunday as the party president and gave him until midday on Monday to resign or face parliamentary impeachment on Tuesday. The party also expelled his wife, Grace Mugabe‚ who had been expected to take over from him.

Zanu-PF politician Patrick Chinamasa said on Sunday that Grace had been “divisive” and “assuming roles and powers not delegated to her office”.

Mugabe’s allies Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo and Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo were also fired from the party.

Speaking from Harare‚ Nyakuda said joyously: “I do not know if anywhere else in the world‚ there are people feeling the way Zimbabweans are feeling right now … We are still excited [and] confused. I think joy is probably the best way of describing the situation.”

Nyakuda said it was tough to survive under Mugabe.

“Some of us have done a lot of business here or we have attempted to do our business here as Zimbabweans. We have always been stopped [from succeeding] by the situation … no confidence from investors‚ [and] nothing working.”

Zimbabwe has about a 90% unemployment rate.

“Businesses were only working for people close to Mugabe‚” Nyakuda said. “Right now there is sense of hope … 37 years later.”

Journalist and Zimbabwean living in South Africa Velempini Ndlovu was less impressed by the move: “This is just ... Zanu-PF using state resources of the army to settle their factional fights.”

Former MDC politician and human rights lawyer David Coltart said earlier this week the regime change appeared to be a fight between Mugabe’s G40 faction and new Zanu-PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction.

Ndlovu‚ while cynical about the change‚ said: “Like any other Zimbabwean‚ I am happy to see the back of Mugabe.”

Zimbabwean businessman in Johannesburg Tendai Chikomo said: “Mugabe’s departure was long overdue. The problem was the first lady of the country was running the country. People are just happy his rule has come to an end.”

He said celebrations were just about Mugabe’s inevitable exit. “The celebration is not so much about the future‚ but about what is currently happening.”

Chikomo said on the current uncertainty: “Nobody knows exactly what is going to happen‚ but no one is worried right now from way I see it.”

Nyakuda was optimistic.

“The country is rich with resources‚ the minerals‚ the soil‚ the weather. Everything is on our side for us to have a good quality life. But progress was just being stopped by one man.”

He was not completely angry at Mugabe as he was the president who led Zimbabwe’s liberation from colonial rule.

“I was about to say we will always love and respect Robert Mugabe. But it is unfortunate he stayed for too long. Hopefully we will see some [similar] news about President Jacob Zuma. Because I see the guys [in the ANC] are starting to rebel a bit.”

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