Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980. The ululations for liberation have turned into anguished cries of despair over the years. Zimbabweans have lived through the disintegration of the “Bread Basket of Africa” while making idle chit-chat in one of the many queues for basic necessities.
There are many theories about who will take over the country when Mugabe passes away and many possible scenarios have been offered. Without the staunch, calculating and intelligent ruler that Mugabe is, a power vacuum is likely to follow. Powerful groups inside and out outside of the country will have reignited interest in the future of Zimbabwe.
One of these primary interests is the vast natural wealth Zimbabwe possesses; which could turn out to be a curse for Zimbabweans more than an intended blessing. Mugabe’s “Look East” policy has led to extensive Chinese investment in the country. The Chinese and other powerful groups would not want their economic interests to be threatened.
There are two main potential successors in the event of President Mugabe’s demise. Legally, the constitution says the Vice-President will take over for 90 days. This would be Joyce Mujuru, who is democratically minded. However, if Zimbabwe’s history has taught us anything it’s that the law does not necessarily apply to those in Zanu PF.
There are reports of infighting within the Zanu PF party with Emmerson Mnangagwa, the current Minister of Defence. He is rumoured to be next in line for presidency, he is nick-named “the crocodile” for his ruthless reputation and ability to inflict horrific injuries on percieved enemies, which is not what most would hope for in a possible president.
It leads me to wonder that maybe the worst is yet to come. The political turmoil Zimbabweans have experienced so far, may pale in comparison to the political turbulence that will occur after President Mugabe. There is no clear ray of hope to lead the country forward.
The youth have a pivotal role in life after President Mugabe. We complain about the situation yet most of us have no intention of playing an active role to ease the nation’s transition. Chaos will soon ensue when Mugabe is no longer in power.
A leadership change will not automatically erase all of Zimbabwe’s problems. Many fear a succession crisis, unrest, chaos and possibly violence. The military has the potential to rebel and reinforce their interests which will merely inflame any chaos.
Economically, the situation may improve if the transition is free and fair; The EU and US may relieve their extensive sanctions on Zimbabwe. However, immense debt hangs over the country. Political and economic uncertainty will still linger in the post Mugabe era.
Change is long overdue. I am scared for Zimbabwe’s next chapter post Mugabe. But I do believe that it is always darkest before the break of dawn.