Zimbabwe at a crossroads. The country of southern Africa is still waiting for the much-awaited renewal after the fall of long-time leader Robert Mugabe. But hopes tend to vanish given the current situation of the country.
On November 14, 2017, Zimbabwean army tanks were occupying the streets of Harare, the country’s capital. The alleged objective is to remove “criminals” from the entourage of the country’s president, Robert Mugabe, in response to the dismissal of then-vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa. A fact unheard of in this country that lived for 37 years under the reign of Robert Mugabe.
The army’s coup was hailed by an exasperated Zimbabwean population who subsequently went to the streets demanding the resignation of its president. Finally, after pressure from the army, the population and his political entourage, Robert Mugabe resigned on 21 November. Harare exulted, imagining a return to the economic miracle of the past decades.
Then, a year has passed since Emmerson Mnangagwa, confirmed head of state, came to power after the July elections. The euphoria has faded, the horizon is still dark for many Zimbabweans.
It must be said that between Zimbabwe before November 2017 and today, not much has changed. The economic crisis remains as prominent. For several weeks, the country has returned to lack of liquidity, creating long lines in front of banks. In September, inflation reached its highest level since 2010. Stores and pharmacies are out of stock. To make matters worse, the country suffered a cholera epidemic that left at least 50 dead in the capital Harare.
Back to the past ?
Episodes that are feared a remake of 2009, when Zimbabwe has experienced a collapse of its economy characterized by hyperinflation that has reached 500 billion according to the IMF . In the process, a cholera outbreak killed 4,000 people.
We are not there yet. And the new Zimbabwean government believes that efforts are being made to improve living conditions in the country. While the economic situation remains critical, Harare is pleased with greater freedom of expression and association. “(…) Things that were taboo in the past are now rooted and fortified now,” Associated Press Energy Mutodi, deputy minister of information, told reporters. “Police roadblocks, where motorists were regularly harassed for bribes, were removed, for example,” he added.
Upon taking office, Emmerson Mnangagwa promised a radical transformation of Zimbabwe, including economic and human rights. To bail out the state coffers, he imposed a 2% tax on all electronic transactions. He also called on foreign investors to join the capital of Zimbabwean companies.
But his efforts were undermined by his disputed election in July, when six people were killed in clashes between the army and opposition supporters. Events denounced by the international community. The banning of anti-government demonstrations and the arrest of trade unionists in recent weeks make the rest fear a return to the past.