Zimbabwe at the Crossroads: A Chance for a New Beginning
Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health policy
Former Minister of Finance
December 12, 2017
Thank you, Chairman Flake, Ranking Member Booker, and other members of the Subcommittee. We thank you for inviting us to this great center of American democracy.
The 14th of November 2017 began a series major life changing events in Zimbabwe that will forever redefine the political and constitutional landscape of the country. On that day, military tanks invaded the streets of the capital, Harare, and other major cities in the country. In the early hours of the 15th, the military appeared on Zimbabwe’s sole national television and implicitly made it clear that the executive was no longer in control.
On 18th November, hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans marched alongside military personnel in the streets of Harare and Bulawayo and demanded the resignation of President Mugabe. On 21 November in the middle of impeachment proceedings in parliament, President Mugabe quietly, if not in-elegantly, announced his resignation.
With President Mugabe’s departure, Zimbabwe now faces an uncertain future, but one which presents real opportunities for reconstructing, rebuilding and refabricating a new Zimbabwean story, and a new Zimbabwean society.
Without a doubt, the 37 years of President Mugabe’s rule were a sad story of capture, coercion, corruption, poverty and de-legitimization. Zimbabweans lived in fear under a system that paid no respect to their rights and a system that saw continuous impoverishment and suffering, loss of livelihoods amongst ordinary citizens.
President Mugabe presided over one of the most autocratic African regimes that stood head and shoulders with the likes of current dictators like Obiang in Equatorial Guinea, Biya in Cameroon, Afewerki in Eritrea, al-Bashir in Sudan, and Museveni in Uganda.
Let’s be clear: the events in Zimbabwe described above were an illegal and illegitimate transfer of power from one faction of the ruling party to another.
However, this was not the first time that the military in Zimbabwe and the so-called “securocrats” have subverted constitutional order in a way that merely entrenched un-democratic rule.
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