By Hon Caston Matewu | Walking along the streets of Marondera, one could cut the despair and tension in our beloved country. Desperate parents thinking how they can get school fees as the looming opening days are around the corner. The past year has been characterised by a brutally enforced lockdown. Most citizens are out of work and live on informal trading which has been the most affected industry as all; flee markets and trading places closed, coupled with restricted movements, it has surely been a disaster.
Despite the lockdown, political persecution is at its most high, the government has been using the Covid-19 pandemic to curtail the rights and freedoms of political and human rights activists.
The continued illegal arrests of MDC Alliance officials such as Hon Joanna Mamombe, Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume and a host of others has been to reinforce fear and make it clear who is in charge. However a government run by fear will not last long. Government has never changed its modus operandi, for long since the Mugabe era to the second republic this has been the norm. I am also reminded of the January 2019 demonstrations which left a trail of blood by the state apperetors, MDC Alliance members such as Chamu Chitota, Godknows Ncube, Simon Chikomba, Emma Mhashu, Isaac Kalawila and Engreedy Manzanga were severely assaulted with the later had to fleeing to Ireland for thier safety. The protests ignited by the unreasonable increase in fuel left 12 people died on the streets of Zimbabwe.
The Covid 19 pandemic in 2020 brought in an excuse by the government and its apparatus to disrupt the opposition political landscape and consolidate ZANU Pf’s grip on the people of Zimbabwe. The Supreme court judgment delivered at the inception of the pandemic was the perfect antidote to try and bury the MDC Alliance and prop up a political dead and defeated MDC T. As a payback the MDC T became subservient to its ruling party masters. Some of us despite being overwhelmingly elected in 2018 found ourselves being recalled from Parliament.
Despite the pandemic the ZANU Pf politburo continued with its statutory meetings whilst the MDC Alliance was banned. Any meeting by the MDC Alliance was met with arrests and police brutality, a case in point is the MDC A Mashwest Provincial Executive which was raided despite having the minimum number of people allowed to gather. Curiously the MDC T was allowed to gather thousands of its members during the height of the Pandemic.
2021 started with the deaths of ZANU Pf heavy weights falling to the pandemic. It remains to be seen what’s instore for Zimbabwean politics in 2021, but lo and behold the people’s party led by President Adv Chamisa will never die.