Zimbabwe Update: #notacoup Day 4
A NEW ZIMBABWE (IT’S JUST A MATTER OF TIME) – DAY 4
Plans to update on the situation here every day were put on temporary suspension yesterday as the power here went off...
This is nothing unusual for us. It’s pretty ‘normal’ here in Zim to have no water, no power for days, weeks, months, even years. Just like it’s ‘normal’ to have to queue in round-the-block, all-day bank queues to draw out 20 bucks, 50 if you’re lucky. It’s also pretty ‘normal’ to have to do illicit money deals to ensure you keep up with the slowly rising inflation rate against the US Dollar we seem to have created here in Zim. (Yes, we are the only place in the world that can have a non-violent, non-coup, not to mention a non-resignation… but we are also the only place in the world that can have such a dire economic situation as to have inflation on the US Dollar…)
We are, in short, one Big Fat Contradiction of a country. And I love it…
Talking of contradictions... So yesterday started with people still trying to scrape their broken jaws off the floor after one of the most surreal addresses to the nation any president has given – under the circumstances. Monday seemed to tick along even slower than Mr Pres.’s speech did the night before.
What’s going on? WTF are we going to do now?
This was the general call of so many Zimbos caught in that weird numb space between disbelief & temper-tantrum-able frustration. We thought the military had got us on the right track last week. That we had done it all on by rising up as one on Saturday. And then the ruling party had done the rest for us on Sunday. The public resignation to the nation would be a simple formality. Right? Surely?
But, like every cliché in the book – the key thing here is that All Good Things Come To Those Who Wait. Just as we have learnt to wait for our power, our water, our cash or our basic commodities here in Zim, so we have to learn to wait for the consequences of our efforts after the Day of Freedom & Change we had on Saturday. I realise we all want to get our quick fix here in Zim. We all want to speed up time. Humans have a bad record of unnaturally pushing Mrs Time along her ambling path (climate change anyone??)
I realise Zimbabweans all want Tangible Change & to experience the actual effects of Real Freedom - speech, gender, race, sexual preference, etc. - that has been kept away from Zimbos for so long here. And I have no doubt we will. It’s just gonna take a little time.
What is so important to note in this #newzimbabwe situation is how measured and, sometimes annoyingly, controlled the (mostly military) intervention has been here this past week. Don’t be fooled - these are not idiots. People who serve in the military will tell you some things about life in uniform: you learn discipline & respect, you learn trust, and you learn that the shortest route between 2 places is not necessarily the easiest one. The corrective process they have stated they are supporting (#thisisnotacoup), and the legal & constitutional process happening today & tomorrow in Parliament, not to mention the higgledy-piggledy political power play running concurrently to fill the vacuum, is all happening in a timeframe that does not trigger alarm or panic, and that can be justified as the morally correct one when all the dust has settled.
We also need to realise the incoming interim president (even if many think he’s not the best one) has a pretty tough gig ahead of him – how does he appease his constituents, make up with those who don’t trust him & his party, bring in the opposition into an interim government, sort out the economy, get schools & clinics back to being the best in Africa again, get the farms working again, get the revenue from the vast mineral resources coming out of Zim ground to stay in Zim, get Zimbabwe right back at the top of the regional tourism map, tap dance to the international trade & aid drumbeat, allow people to revel in the Freedom they have stood up for, and still come across as the good guy…?! Enviable task I tell you – Arsene Wenger’s job is a walk in the park compared to this. Leadership cannot swing overnight from zero to hero… there are tough intermediate steps – just ask Mr Obama about this. Going the other way seems to be a lot easier, a lot quicker (right America?).
But choosing to do things Right. Choosing to do things Better. Choosing to do things for a Greater Good. Well, these choices take Time.
And so it kind of makes sense that it takes a bit more than a bumbling non-resignation speech in front of some generals for these choices to kick off…
These past 2 days have seen everyone waiting expectantly for news of impeachment progress. For news on the position & future of the opposition in the new interim government. For news on the status of those ‘arrested’ by the military. For any news. For any updates we can get… Those like us without TV’s have VPN’d the hell out of international streaming news bulletins. ZBC has never had so many subscribers in its history. The government mouthpiece, The Herald, is actually being bought, and read, and taken as gospel… whaaat?
Time-lapse video through the next 36-48hrs though and a nation will wake up on Thursday with a Whole New Reality… one whose future we have absolutely no idea of at this stage, but that we are eternally hopeful for. And like all things New & Shiny, we will all need to learn the important lessons of how to care for it, nurture it, manage it, love it, and - if/when needed – change it all over again.
In the interim, resignations, impeachments, inter- & intra-party negotiations, prayer meetings, student marches, and the like will continue in real time. Power cuts & bank queues will continue as 'normal'. Our real-er lives will continue as 'normal'. And as frustrating as these all are to the people of Zimbabwe, there will be one major fundamental difference to weeks of the recent past, one thing that hopefully becomes the new normal:
This week all Zimbabweans finally know what it means to be Free. What it means to trust unconditionally in the Goodness that has been set free in Zimbabwe. And hopefully that will allow us to sit back, relax and enjoy the crazy, messy, all-too-human ride here in Zim – for once…