Zimbabweans hope for a better Zimbabwe after the Mugabe era

Zimbabweans on Thursday weighed in on a future without their leader of nearly four decades, after the army placed the 93-year-old liberation hero turned authoritarian leader, under house arrest.

Many citizens have not known a time without Mugabe, who has dominated every aspect of public life since coming to power in 1980 on the country’s independence from Britain.

The nation was left stunned after the veteran president was confined to his residence late Tuesday, soldiers took up positions at strategic points across Harare and senior officers commandeered state television.

The Southern African Development Community, a bloc currently chaired by Zimbabwe’s neighbour South Africa, was to meet in Botswana later Thursday to discuss the dramatic situation.

Nothing has been heard from Mugabe or his 52-year-old wife Grace since the start of the army operation.

But many Zimbabweans hoped the crisis would pave the way to a more prosperous future.

“Our economic situation has deteriorated every day – no employment, no jobs,” Tafadzwa Masango, a 35-year-old unemployed man, told AFP.  “We hope for a better Zimbabwe after the Mugabe era. We feel very happy. It is now his time to go.”

However a spokesman for Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, Simon Khaya Moyo, insisted it was business as usual.

“It’s normal, everything is normal with the party,” he told AFP.

Harare’s residents have largely ignored the military presence on the streets and continued commuting, socialising and working, while analysts speculated that Mugabe and the army could be negotiating a transition.






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