A ruthless dictator of 37 years humiliated. His wife having larger than life presence shut down. And people are celebrating the ouster.
And why not? Even if it is for a day! Even it if it is for a week!
They are celebrating the departure of a man who made their country a living hell, who crushed and killed them at will, who lived a lavish life while they were cursed to live a life of have-nots.
‘Zimbabwe and economy’ and ‘Zimbabwe and industry’ have been made misnomers by Robert Mugabe.
They were living and dying in utter poverty while the dictator’s wife was a millionaire shopper of luxury brands in western countries, earning even the nickname of ‘Gucci Grace’.
So, it is their day. They are singing. They are dancing. They are chanting. They are simply overjoyed.
They can openly called names for that man. They can freely mock him. They can make jokes in his (and his wife)’s name without fear of persecution. They were protesting and now they are speaking their mind, something unheard of in the country so far.
Even if it all may be a clever ploy to install another dictator, who used to be the henchman of the outgoing dictator, and is nicknamed ‘crocodile’ for the way he has lived so far.
Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe may be paying the price for the foolish acts of his wife Grace Mugabe. It all began when 93-year old dictator-cum-president Mugabe tried to remove his henchman and vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa to make way for his wife Grace Mugabe, a reviled figure in the country. Well, the henchman fled the country, but with designs in his mind.
And then things moved quickly behind the scenes. Probably, Grace was not just totally unacceptable to ordinary Zimbabweans only but also to its army and the sole ruling party Zaanu-PF, the power coterie that has had been sanctifying the Mugabe dictatorship. So, within weeks, the oldest serving head of the state on the planet is gone and his henchman-turned-sacrificial lamb-turned-foe is slated to take over from him.
So, in a sense, nothing is expected to change. The coterie that was behind Mugabe is still calling shots. And Mnangagwa for Mugabe! Well, that is not a change in real terms.
But that should not take away the rare event of freedom and celebration that Zimbabweans have got after for 37 years, ever since the country came into existence after its independence in 1980. That was the year when their revolutionary hero, Robert Mugabe, who was also trained as a teacher, took over the reins of the country.
But a revolutionary who quickly showed his colours, like most of the revolutionaries around the world have done, be it in USSR or in China or in Cuba or in many other countries, and clung to power like a leech. The next decades were testimony to his fiefdom; bleeding and humiliating a nation like even most dictators fail to do. Going of such a person in such a humiliating way is a befitting healing touch for their wounds.
So, they will see what happens tomorrow. For the moment, let them bask in the glory of people power, even if it is symbolic, for they have got this healing touch after decades. The day, the event, has come as a ‘dream come true’ for them.
For them at the moment, they are speaking and Mugabes are silent, and it is what matters for them.