Violent Street Protests in Zimbabwe: End of Mugabe Era?

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For more than 30 years, President Robert Mugabe has been in power in Zimbabwe. During all those years, Zimbabwe has been relatively quiet in terms of protest and demonstrations on the street. Not because Zimbabweans are well off or are mostly satisfied with their economic conditions and lives. Not really. Years ago, Zimbabwe was indeed one of the few African success stories ““ at least, economically. Agriculturally, the country had more than enough food to feed her population; supermarkets and shops were fully loaded with essential commodities. To be far, one must give President Mugabe some credits for the robust economic performance. However, the government mismanaged land reform, coupled with the Western sanction and endemic corruption amongst the leaders have created excessive and unbearable economic hardship amongst many poor citizens. For years, President Mugabe has succeeded in exercising near absolute control of the country`s state of affairs, through pragmatism, intimidation and sometimes with brute naked force. Those tactics definitely helped in bringing some degree of fear and level of order in the country.

Not anymore. At 92 years, with, logically speaking, his health increasingly showing sign of diminishing returns, President Mugabe is no more the political fox or juggernaut he used to be. Yes, he might still have some political acumen to get things done his way, but his once feared and respected authority is systematically being challenged. With both the police and army forces ““ the diehard supporters of President Mugabe, who are undoubtedly strongly needed for his maintenance of power ““ paid just for about 12 days late last month, the security forces seem to have perhaps realized that it is time to shift alliance – something President Mugabe is not used to. The succession infight within his ruling ZANU-PF party is definitely driving the engine of the ruling locomotive train to the wrong direction.

Now that government workers are not paid for months, banks are operating without cash, many basic imports banned, despite the massive drought that has devastated the country and left millions hungry, coupled with excessive economic crunch, many Zimbabweans are increasingly voicing their frustrations and hardship. Worse still, the presence of social media has given a new type of impetus to an average Zimbabwean. Many citizens have suddenly found a relatively safe and open way to express their opposition to Mugabe.  Faced with the Street protests, national work boycotts and social mobilization via social media, the power of the aging President Robert Mugabe has never before been openly challenged like it is presently.

Could this be the begging of the end of President Robert Mugabe`s regime? It does not help that Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), the main opposition party in Zimbabwe, is recovering from the colony cancer. Is this an opportunity or the right time for the powermongers to jump to the political arena? Could it be that some powerful elements with political ambition within the ruling ZANU-PF party are secretly supporting or turning a blind eye to the protests and thereby hoping that the power of the President Mugabe could be undermined and the President removed through a popular revolt? Or could it be that the old fox is in fact secretly planning his political tricks and response ““ as usual? Whatever the case may be, Zimbabwe might be in fact, heading towards anarchy or totally a new positive political direction. Zimbabwe needs your prayers more than before.