First and foremost, I am as excited as most of you—this moment in Zimbabwe’s history inspires cautious optimism and hope.
With that stated, what I am about to express may sound harsh and it’s definitely not my intent to come off that way or to rain on the Mugabe-is-gone parade, but Zimbabwe’s last three decades have made me wary. Not simply wary of our leaders, but more wary of our propensity as a people to follow blindly. A blindness that makes us forget that before Lacoste and G40 were enemies, they were running and ruining the country together.
Whether its Mugabe or Mnangagwa, Magaya or Makandiwa, us Zimbabweans have an annoying habit of putting people on pedestals and following them with little reservation or objectivity. Perhaps it’s a cultural impulse that implores us to follow in such ways: we are so wired and conditioned to follow one man, figurehead or mambo, that we inadvertently give them too much reverence and power while failing to hold them accountable when we need to.
But understand, I still have hope; hope that Zimbabwe will be a country in which people can thrive economically, can voice their opinions freely without fear of persecution, and have the opportunity to live happy, full and fair lives in Zimbabwe, regardless of their race, tribe, gender, politics, sexual orientation etc. And I hope Mnangagwa delivers on this, but until then, I will be a cautiously optimistic son of Zimbabwe that remembers a previous leader that promised a lot, but never delivered.
Once bitten, twice shy.