Zimbabwe: The struggle is not over

The struggle is not over for Zimbabwe as the victorious mood inspired by the resignation of former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe looks set to be short-lived.

Activists on Wednesday morning said the “oppressive” political system that kept Mugabe in power and disregarded the needs of citizens was complicated and would not be dismantled by his exit.

“Yesterday (Tuesday) was a victory, but the struggle is not done. The Mugabe infrastructure, the culture, the ideology, the system that I refer to as ‘Mugabeism’ is still there,” Maureen Kademaunga said.

READ MORE: Mugabe resigns: Pandemonium in the streets of Harare

Kademaunga, an activist from Zimbabwe and leader of the #SheVotes campaign, was speaking at a Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum panel discussion in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on Wednesday morning.

Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum veteran and human rights activist Venetia Govender and southern Africa director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa division, Dewa Mavhinga, also formed part of the panel discussion.

Mugabe resigned on Tuesday with immediate effect after 37 years in power, shortly after Parliament began impeachment proceedings against him.

“This is an opportunity for civil societies and for poor democracy movements to start mobilising and going forward,” Kademaunga said.

‘Never again’

She said Mugabe’s stepping down had unshackled Zimbabweans who should now demand free and fair elections.

Govender agreed with Kademaunga that the biggest challenge Zimbabweans faced was the country’s political system.

READ MORE: Timeline: How Zimbabwe’s ‘coup’ unfolded

“The challenge going forward would be the system that kept Mugabe in power, the system that enabled him to do what he did and a system that protected him – that system is very much still in place,” Govender said.

Govender said the second challenge for Zimbabweans was how to ensure that they never find themselves in the same situation again.

“Never again to face the humiliation, indignity and the oppression that they had to endure for the last 18 years. It is an immediate challenge and also a long-term one,” Govender said.

She said the next step would be the most difficult.

‘We need a fresh start’

“It can be a hallelujah moment now, but it could also be a moment to realise that the hard work starts now.”

Mavhinga, however, highlighted the role the military had played over the years and in the resignation of Mugabe.

He recalled the “final push” protest in Zimbabwe, back in 2003, when the military was sent by Mugabe to “crush” protesters.

READ MORE: Zimbabweans in Jo’burg rejoice as Mugabe Resigns

“I remember clearly in one of the townships in Harare when a soldier put his boot to my head, crushing it against the tar before we were detained for 80 days and 80 nights,” he said.

He said Mugabe and the military were cut from the same cloth, adding that the military’s involvement had been a key factor in the country’s instability.

“These are comrades and allies whose system remains and continues. The military stopped and reversed the will of the people during elections in 2008. The military has invited people to their table, but on their terms.”

He said comprehensive development in Zimbabwe was needed.

“We need human rights, we need development, we need accountability and we need a fresh start for everyone.” — News24

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


South Africa has been junked

Treasury says the credit ratings downgrade “could not have come at a worse time”, as country enters a 21-day Covid-19 lockdown with little money saved up

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories