Zimbabwe - which was widely hailed by the controlled media to have “turned a corner” and be “on the road to recovery” following the forced resignation of Robert Mugabe a year ago, is now in even worse condition than ever, and has regular 15-hour power cuts, runaway inflation, and endless currency crises and fuel shortages.
A report on the ground from the Aljazeera news service reveals that Africans now long for the days of Mugabe, as they have now realized their “worst fear: there is someone who can run the country worse than Mugabe.”
The report says that a year ago, “the troubled African country seemed to have taken a turn for the better. Mugabe’s successor and the incumbent, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was speaking a new language.
“Politically, he was breaking away from his predecessor’s ruinous and often autocratic past and presenting himself as a new man, re-engaging with the international community after years of diplomatic ostracisation. A return to democracy was expected.”
On the economic front, Mnangagwa was supposed to be pursuing new policies such as opening up the country for business under the “open for business” mantra. He was also looking to abandon the policy of “indigenization” - a law which compelled foreign investors with businesses with a net asset value of $1 to cede 51 percent equity stakes to blacks.
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Fast forward a year, the hope for a new Zimbabwe has vanished. Mnangagwa has lost support and confirmed everyone’s worst fear: there is someone who can run the country worse than Mugabe.
Innocent Zhakata, a book vendor on Harare’s streets, told Al Jazeera things have gotten tougher since Mnangagwa took over.
“Life is getting tough. Prices are going up. There is no money in the economy. During Mugabe’s time, life was better. People are now realising they made a mistake [supporting the military coup that catapulted Mnangagwa to power],” Zhakata told Al Jazeera.
“In the few months we have been with these guys, things have gotten worse. Things were better. We could buy property, furniture and other things. Now, we can’t even buy clothes.”
Munyaradzi Mufambi, a 22-year-old beverage merchandiser in the capital, said the last year had been disillusioning for him.
“I am not sure about the future of our generation in light of the problems we face as a country. I wonder if I will ever be able to raise a family and provide for them adequately,” said Mufambi.
“In all fairness, I don’t know if the president has plans to fix the problems. Maybe he just hasn’t communicated these plans to the nation.”
Mufambi, like Zhakata, said the standards of living were much better under Mugabe.
“Given a choice between Mugabe and Mnangagwa, I would choose Mugabe,” said Mufambi.
“School fees was $20 in my time. A quart of beer was $2. I have to forego beer now, save money and buy essential things. I now buy second-hand clothing.”
Ibbo Mandaza, a respected academic and director of a local think-tank Sapes Trust, said Mnangagwa’s first year as president had been a total failure.
“Ever since that coup in November 2017, things have actually been getting worse. It’s been worse than we expected. We are now faced with a far worse political and economic crisis characterised by power shortages, rising prices, currency crisis and fuel shortages,” Mandaza told Al Jazeera.
“What is more worrying is that whilst we are in this crisis, there is virtual absence of government intervention. One can be forgiven for thinking there is now government. At this rate, I don’t see this government getting to 2023.
“Under Mugabe, things were getting bad. It’s the same group of people essentially. It’s them and it appears it ends with them. This can’t go on forever. I am concerned with the apparent lack of an alternative political solution in this crisis to step in and help end the crisis.”
In the run-up to the elections last year, Mnangagwa promised millions of jobs, a better life, and a better Zimbabwe.
A year later, none of the promises has been delivered.
“He lied. We thought industries were going to open and new jobs created. He lied. None of the things he promised have been delivered,” Zhakata, who was laid off from one of the country’s largest bakery, Lobels, pointed out.
Not many citizens will vent their anger in public.
Some said Mnangagwa is far more brutal than Mugabe and an even worse dictator.
In January, five months after being sworn in as the country’s third president, more than 17 unarmed people were shot and killed by the military for protesting against high fuel prices.
Scores were wounded or arrested. Mugabe had generally been seen as a dictator, but he had never unleashed soldiers on protesters.
Earlier this month, Zimbabwe has also stopped issuing passports and vehicle registration number plates, with currency shortages making the government unable to import any of the specialist inks and materials.
* Of course, the real reason for Zimbabwe’s continued decline is not because one dictator has replaced another, but because of the direct correlation between race, IQ, and civilizational levels. Zimbabwe has an average IQ of 82 - one of the higher in Africa (neighboring Mozambique, for example, has an average IQ of just 64).
An average of 82 is however still way below that required to create and maintain a First World society, economy, and social structure - as is evidenced by the fact that the average black IQ in America is also on the same level as Zimbabwe, and black controlled areas such as Detroit - are also disaster zones.
Hence it is irrelevant which “leader” is in control of Zimbabwe, as the population is simply incapable of achieving anything more than that which is best suited to Africans - and cannot maintain white-created First World standards.