Mugabe: goodbye, thank you!

Mugabe: goodbye, thank you!

ZIMBABWE’S President Robert Mugabe was last night still under “house arrest” after the army dramatically moved to strip him of his power on Tuesday night. Mugabe’s bloodless ouster, after 37 years of uninterrupted rule, marks the end of an era for Zimbabwe.
It would be an understatement to state that Mugabe, who is still revered as a liberation icon on the African continent, was the author of his own downfall.

At 93, Mugabe should have handed over power a long time ago.
Perhaps his biggest mistake was to antagonise the military by sidelining veterans of the 1970s liberation struggle.
His decision to groom his wife to take over power proved the final straw.

He clearly failed to manage his own succession. The result is that he dug his own political grave and buried himself.
The army is arguing that Mugabe had now been surrounded by a power-hungry clique that wanted to usurp power. They had to act in the national interest.
Instead of being vilified for dabbling in politics, the Zimbabwean army is now being seen as a savior for ousting a tyrant.
For almost two decades, Zimbabweans endured an unprecedented economic crisis blamed on Mugabe’s ruinous economic policies.
He brooked no dissent and battered his own people into submission.

The result was that a quarter of Zimbabwe’s 13 million people fled the country to seek better life elsewhere.
Although Mugabe had done well in educating his own people in the first two decades of independence, his biggest handicap was his failure to manage his own succession.

And when he pushed his own generals, the writing was written on the wall.
But things did not have to go this route.

Instead of protecting his own legacy, Mugabe allowed his name to be dragged in the mud by his own wife, Grace, a polarizing figure who antagonised a key power broker in Zimbabwe – the military.
That gamble backfired terribly this week.

The political earthquake in Harare has however been met with both fear and excitement by Zimbabweans unsure of what the future holds.
Excitement because Zimbabweans had struggled to shake off the chains of tyranny for 37 years.
Mugabe was the only leader Zimbabweans had ever known since independence from Britain in 1980.

But there is also the element of fear because no one knows what a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe will turn out to be.
It can however not be worse than what was currently obtaining in the country.
It is our hope that the army will quickly hand over the reins to civilian authorities and return to the barracks.
We hope there will be a swift return to civilian rule in Zimbabwe.

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