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Zimbabwe Update: #notacoup Day 2.5


So this evening millions of people across the globe watched with baited breath for the Zimbabwean president to resign. He didn't. Hah!

Surprised? Not really. A little down, a little sad, yes. But like many others out there who perhaps now, a little after-the-fact, feel less surprised... I have to realize that it was - let's face it - only in keeping to the crazy, punctuation-less script we have been reading from of late here in Zim...

The half-full glass of cheap plonk in front of me suggests that we need to take a more optimistic look at all this, a rosy view through the murky & somewhat un-natural waters of international & internal politics. We have to read between the lines. We have to realize that resigning on international TV in front of a room full of generals amounts to nothing more than your common garden coup. And the wonderful events in Zim this past week have been anything but common garden variety, to say the least. The last minute, unexpected Game of Thronesian twist in the tale this evening, if you consider it within the current political context of Zim, is completely and utterly in keeping with a script not written by one man, or one family.

Dictatorships are all about the one, sure. But this is no longer that. This past week has seen a changing of the way people deal with their fears in Zim. It has seen a dictatorship dynasty crumble. It has seen the rise of The Many. The collective. It has seen people get carried away on a wave of enthusiasm & optimism, myself included. And why not. The resignation-that-wasn't tonight, and the twists and turns in the rollercoaster ride ahead for us all in Zim over the coming days, weeks, months has nothing to do with a single person (resigned or not), or even with a very-much-needed military intervention this week to stabilize a very wobbly ship... and everything to do with political strategy and positioning in a country that has everything to gain from Doing Things Better from here on in. Let's face it, Zim was/is on her knees. The economy has been kicked into disarray. The people have been oppressed. Spirits are battered. Hope had been pushed into very small recesses of our country as a whole, until this week. When your back's well & truly pushed so hard against the wall you can feel the paint peeling on your skin, you have to consider that the only way out is Up. Towards the light. Away from chaos & confusion towards some sort of sense & decency. And Zim & her people have an understanding for that now. Thanks in large part to the military, but more importantly to the people in general who have said enough. It will just take a while for the political cogs and behind-the-scenes processes to catch up.

Politics*. I personally can't abide by the concept of politics in all forms... far too us-and-them-ish for someone who believes in egalitarian values & human nature over ego... but it's important to understand the bigger picture at play here in Zim:

- the need for this not to be seen as a military coup to avoid international & regional backlash, and potential sanctions, review of much-needed kick start aid, etc for the New Zim;

- the importance politically for things to be seen to go through a constitutional process such as impeachment or resignation to parliament (& not to generals) - all of which is due to play out this next week starting tomorrow;

- the need for the ruling party & the immediate benefactors thereof to be kept foremost on people's minds given the reality of a general election at some time in the next 12 months...

One thing we could consider is what would have happened if he had resigned this evening... would it have given us much more than we already have? I feel people here are waiting for the magic fairy godmother to wave her wand and make it all right again. They have been for some time, let's be honest. Tonight was, to many on the surface of it, their fairy godmother moment gone horribly wrong. But we seem to have very short memories - like all from tribe human. We seem to forget yesterday. And this morning. And even earlier this afternoon. Within each one of us in our hundreds of thousands yesterday in Zim (& earlier today for those still not sold) we already overcame the powerful grip the old regime had on our collective & individual psyche. We broke the fear bubble. We already know, or should be very quickly beginning to know, that this whole leadership thing is way bigger than one person politically. We know that the military and others involved in this #notacoup do not want a violent or non-peaceful resolution here - they have had their fair share of opportunities to get nasty if they wanted to, and to their credit, to a man they have not. So again, I consider what it would have meant if he had actually resigned on TV today...

After the empty bottle of bubbles was smashed on the wall of forgetfulness, and the dances danced... what then? We'd still be left with a nagging feeling that the military or the other honchos involved here could be plotting something behind our backs, something a little scary & quite likely unlawful - which I am hopeful they are not. Fear would still have its tendrils in us. In that case, the validity & role of the interim president & government would come under deep scrutiny. And how different would they be then, from the very system they are trying to change. Perhaps if things are truly to work out in Zim, & in similar political tornadoes across the planet - perhaps we have to see a wholly inclusive program of change from all the respective parties, institutions, civil groups & citizens as a whole? The people involved here are going to great lengths to ensure this thing all stays on the right side of the law. An impeachment process involves the whole of government (including the opposition, not just the ruling party or military). It involves the judiciary and it involves the very core of the country, its constitution. If we are to truly see radical change politically, perhaps it needs to be a radically inclusive process as should play out this coming week, and not just hinged on a few wished-for words on a Sunday evening from Mr Pres. - perhaps the (on the surface) extremely disappointing press conference this evening was not actually such a bad outcome after all...? Perhaps.

Hell, what do I know. What do any of us...

Hope & Fear are opposite sides of a constantly revolving mirror ingrained in our human collective conscience. But both are empty emotions without the actions, reactions & intentions of us, the people looking into the mirror at any one time. In order to keep the mirror more on the Hope side, we need to act on our faith & trust in the Goodness that is within us all, and thereafter we need to act on that goodness. Just as so many did on the streets of Zimbabwe yesterday. Hope is based on nett-positive action, reaction & intention. And a little, weirdly optimistic part of me believes that the disappointment of tonight will be a nett-positive revelation to us all soon enough. Either way, Zimbabwe (and the world let's be honest) are in largely unchartered waters of late... And since the beaten path is for the beaten man - I say let's explore where this unchartered path takes us, as humans, together, before pushing the panic buttons too wildly tonight...

{* As an aside - on the future of politics in its current form... more and more I believe a deep realization is growing in people from within & without the little stage that is Zim, that most, if not all, of our current political structures are flawed on a practical level, and many on a theoretical level too (and for those that aren't there yet, House of Cards/America-now is there to serve as a reminder). The importance of a radical review and revision of the way we play this game of Humans-on-Earth going forward can not be underestimated, not just for our immediate sakes but for there still to be an Earth left to play on in the future...}

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