Ho Kya Raha Hai, in Zimbabwe?


Ho Kya Raha Hai, in Zimbabwe?

Illustration: Sushant Ahire

If you follow the news or use Twitter or even check Facebook for cat videos, you know something’s up with Zimbabwe — and it’s not their cricket team. Earlier this month on November 6, Zimbabwe’s 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe fired his long-time vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa aka the Crocodile, saying he wanted to wrest power away from Mugabe by… wait for it… witchcraft. But then who are we to laugh, especially in a month where black magic became a big issue in Karnataka.

With the Zimbabwe economy in tatters, the army decided enough was enough, and tried to take control of the country from November 13. The next day they took over state-run media, their equivalent of Doordarshan. The army then placed the president under house arrest, claiming to wipe out “criminals” around him, even as Grace “Gucci” Mugabe, the first lady and Mugabe’s second wife, made a play for the top job.

Her fiercest rival for the presidency btw, is none other than Mnangagwa, whose advisers alleged that the first lady had tried to poison him with ice cream sourced from her dairy farm. The state-run media, now run by the army, published photos of Mugabe chilling with the army commander, most probably to quell rumours of a coup. The army continues to address the nonagenarian as “President”.

How are you not entertained?

This might seem like a garden-variety coup by the army; you know, the kind we saw Pervez Musharraf launch in Pakistan in 1999. Except in Zimbabwe, it gets weirder.

This is a pretty compelling tale filled with blood and drama and high stakes.

The people understandably, were pissed off with whatever the hell is going on. They decided to lodge massive protests outside Mugabe’s house in the capital of Harare. Several civil society groups and opposition voices rallied together to ask Mugabe to leave. This drama was followed by the ruling party asking Mugabe to resign. But no one puts baby in a corner, so obviously they’re now going to impeach him. In all of this, Mugabe seems to be the only one with a chill factor verging Arctic.

That should surprise absolutely no one. Mugabe for the record, is quite controversial. He proudly carries the long tradition of winning a peace prize and then killing millions. He hates Black Zimbabweans, LGBT people, has rigged votes, but also made a lot of money. Funnily, his rise from a Marxist independence fighter to a dictator is very reminiscent to that of Fidel Castro in Cuba.

So what’s next?

Well no one knows. What shit Mugabe will pull to stay in power remains a mystery, but looking at his illustrious track record, he will definitely do something. And what about his wife? The heir apparent? Where does she fit into the narrative? This is a pretty compelling tale filled with blood and drama and high stakes.

House of Cards might’ve ended (RIP), but in 2017, real world politics is just as unappetising.