For millions of Zimbabweans, the 21st day of November will forever remain a historic day for that was the day what book-makers had thought impossible happened in the Southern African country as the strong man of Zimbabwean politics; President Robert Mugabe, was forced to step down as President after 37 years in power.
Worthy of note here is that Mugabe was not forced to resign by the common Zimbabweans protesting on the street or the activities of Morgan Tsvangarai-led main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change. He was forced out of power by his own ZANU PF party, his own Military and his own ZANU PF dominated parliament.
Earlier, the 93 year old leader had been placed under house arrest by his own Military before being sacked by his party as the leader followed by threat of impeachment which was actually initiated by Zimbabwean Parliamentarians before his resignation letter arrived parliament late Tuesday.
Trouble started for the Nonagenarian when he sacked his 71 year old close ally, the very powerful Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa, as Vice President, in a move interpreted by many as an attempt to position his wife, Grace Mugabe, as his successor.
Ironically, the sacked vice President will now take over Mugabe position and serve out his remaining term which will see him remain in office till late 2018. This is according to an official statement released by the ruling ZANU PF party.
History will remember Mugabe as a Patriot and Pan Africanist who played a significant role in the armed struggle to free his country from the chains of the British Imperialists and gifted his people with arguably the highest literacy rate in Africa. But on a negative side, the same history will see him as a Moses-turned-Pharaoh who saw himself as the only “Messiah” in the whole of Zimbabwe leading to numberless lethal crackdown on his perceived political opponents and gross human right abuses.
His well-intentioned but not-well-executed land reforms have seen the Southern African country face severe sanctions from the West leading to near-total destruction of the economy with the currency becoming almost useless.
Beyond the euphoria occasioned by Mugabe’s resignation, the key questions remain:
What next for Zimbabwe?
Was Mugabe forced out of power out of a genuine desire to enthrone genuine ‘change’ for Zimbabweans or was it just a fallout of intra-party power tussle informed by selfish interest of ZANU PF politicians and the army seen by many as the military wing of the ruling party?
Will Mugabe’s potential replacement, the ex spy chief and shortly exiled sacked Vice President, Mr Mnangagwa a.k.a “The Crocodile” be any different from Mugabe, considering that him, it was, who personally supervised almost all the grave cases of human right abuses and lethal crackdown on opposition which saw hundreds dead and thousands forced out of their homes in 2008?
Will Zimbabwean military which once swore never to take orders from the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangarai, start seeing itself as a national military meant to obey anyone democratically chosen by Zimbabweans or will it continue to act as ZANU PF Military wing?
All these and many more are questions that will be answered in the coming weeks and months. Whatever answers they get, one thing is certain:
For Zimbabwe as a country, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Whether it is the light of a young moon or that of an oncoming brake-less trailer, only time will tell
It is not yet Uhuru for the former British colony.