The Zimbabwean election results took me by surprise. And what a wonderful surprise it was!
I had overestimated the ability of the entire Zanu-PF state apparatus to rig an election. But clearly their ineptitude got the better of them – or perhaps the people in power knew that change was inevitable so they ended up doing their election sabotage operation half-heartedly.
The opposition MDC – which would have rightfully won years ago had the proceedings been free and fair – now has more seats than the soon-to-be-former ruling party.
As euphoria fades and uncertainty grows, questions hang like a pregnant cloud over Harare. What will happen when the presidential results are released? Will there be a run-off? Will Mugabe allow himself to be wheeled off centre-stage? Where will he go – will the South African government give him sanctuary? Will he be granted immunity for all his heinous crimes?
And then there are, of course, the questions around the rest of Zanu-PF machine. How is the military and intelligence going to respond? And if they do, what will happen? My bet is that the soldiers are also starving. That they’re also sick of 100 000% (or whatever astronomical sum it is now) inflation.
I am also dying to know how the South African government – notorious for its dislike of the MDC – will respond to the new order. And how it will exploit the election result in its already deplorable treatment of refugees. Will they round them all up, shunting them home because the Big Man has fallen? Many will seep back through our border soon enough – because as it will take time for Zimbabwe’s economic and social systems to start functioning again, there’s not much of an incentive to stay.
So many questions. Only time will tell. But as Cathy Buckle sums it up so neatly in her latest newsletter:
It’s not clear how this is going to end but what is clear is that the avalanche towards change has started. It may take a few days or even a few weeks but we will continue to wait patiently until we can stand up with dignity and self respect and say that we are proud to be Zimbabweans.