Will we finally see democracy in Zimbabwe?

Sadbh Maguire

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Zimbabwe a country in southern Africa with a population of over 16 million. Has been talked about more in the last few weeks than in a long time. Why is this might you ask? Well due to the hugely controversial former president Robert Mugabe.

Robert Mugabe first became prime minister of Zimbabwe in 1980 seven years later in 1987 Mugabe was elected president of Zimbabwe, with a promise of a declared policy of racial reconciliation and for extending improved education and health services to the black majority.

Since becoming president 37 years ago Mugabe has run the country into the ground. He held on to power by increased repression of human rights and the rigging of elections. He also enriched himself by taking large amounts of money out of the country.

The people of Zimbabwe came together on Tuesday to celebrate the news of Mugabe’s resignation. After years of fearing Mugabe they had a weight lifted from their shoulders. The story started with a report last week that the army had stepped in to prevent Mugabe handing over power to his wife, who is 20 years younger than him.

Zimbabweans are hopeful that the resignation of Mugabe will be the start of a better Zimbabwe and a better life for those who live there, and that the country will regain the wealth and strength that it one had.

Some are hopeful that these events are signs of the prospects that their votes at democratic elections will actually count.

Robert Mugabe poster outside the Zimbabwe information centre, Photo Credit Ben SutherlandRobert Mugabe poster outside the Zimbabwe information centre, Photo Credit Ben Sutherland 

Brief timeline of the events that took place in Zimbabwe in November.

November 6th 2017 – Mugabe fires his long term Vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe accused Mnangagwa of plotting to take power via witchcraft. Many though Mugabe would give the position of Vice president to his wife First Lady Grace Mugabe.

November 15th 2017 – Mugabe was placed under house arrest by the army, troops are seen on the streets. An operation has begun to arrest ‘criminals’ who harm the economy.

November 17th 2017 – Mugabe makes his first appearance since he was put under house arrest, he appeared at a graduation ceremony to a polite applause.

November 18th 2017 – An anti-Mugabe demonstration takes place on the streets of Zimbabwe.

November 19th 2017 – The ruling party Central Committee expels Mugabe as a party leader and tell him to step aside or face impeachment.

November 20th 2017 – The ruling party Central Committee say Mugabe and Mnangagwa have made contact and the fired deputy will return to Zimbabwe shortly.

November 21st 2017 – Mnangagwa calls on Mugabe to resign immediately. Mugabe resigns.

 

Ireland has strong links to Zimbabwe. Back in the 1950s and 60s many Irish people emigrated to Rhodesia to start a new life. Now students come to Ireland from Zimbabwe for an education. Here is a voice clip from such a students.

 

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Sadbh Maguire

  • Sunniva Batalden

    Great article! Lovely work with the interviews.

    • Sadbh Maguire

      Thank You