Un sátrapa

¿Sabe usted por qué millones de africanos quieren entrar a Europa como sea, arriesgándose a morir ahogados en el Mediterráneo? Porque, por desdicha para ellos, todavía hay en el África buen número de tiranuelos como Robert Mugabe, el sátrapa que durante 37 años fue amo y señor de Zimbabue y que acaba de morir en el Hospital Gleneagles, de Singapur. Tenía 95 años de edad, era muy aficionado al cricket, a las langostas y al champagne francés, solía gastarse unos 250.000 dólares en cada una de sus fiestas de cumpleaños y se calcula que deja a su viuda Grace —apodada Gucci por su afición a la ropa y a los bolsos de esa célebre marca y varias décadas más joven que su marido— una herencia de nada menos que unos mil millones de dólares.…  Seguir leyendo »

Children stand beside a mural of former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe in Harare. Photo: Getty Images.

Robert Mugabe’s death at age 95, after nearly 60 years at the helm of Zimbabwe’s liberation and post-independence politics, is a momentous occasion. Mugabe was the founding father of modern Zimbabwe, with all its stunning successes and grievous failures. As he moves into national legend, contestations over his legacy demonstrate that, in death as in life, the man known as Gushungo (from his family lineage) still continues to polarize opinion.

His failings are well known, including the mass murders of more than 30,000 civilians in Matabeleland during the 1980s Gukurahundi campaigns, and the killings and torture of opposition activists in the 2000s and 2010s.…  Seguir leyendo »

The remains of a 2013 election poster for Robert Mugabe in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Mr. Mugabe, who ran the country for 37 years, died on Friday.CreditCreditZinyange Auntony/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The death of Robert Mugabe, the 95-year-old former president of Zimbabwe, on Friday elicited a mixed and somewhat subdued response from Zimbabweans, in part because he had already suffered his political death after being overthrown by the military in 2017.

Zimbabweans had celebrated the end of Mr. Mugabe’s 37-year-rule with enthusiasm on the streets and on social media. Until the coup, we Zimbabweans had been resigned to living under Mr. Mugabe’s rule till his death. There was a feeling he would outlive us.

After his ouster, Mr. Mugabe’s presidential portrait was replaced in public buildings by that of his longtime associate Emmerson Mnangagwa, who created a certain narrative of the coup: Emmerson was the dutiful son who merely took the reins from Robert, the ailing father and liberation hero who was being abused by his much younger second wife, Grace and her cronies, a faction of politicians who were born too late to participate in the war of the 1970s that ended white minority rule.…  Seguir leyendo »

Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is seen at the closing ceremony of the 28th Southern African Development Community summit of heads of state and government, in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Aug. 17, 2008. (Jerome Delay/AP)

Zimbabue ha recibido variadas y grandilocuentes palabras de homenaje para su caudillo y exgobernante, Robert Mugabe, quien murió el viernes de la semana pasada. El presidente de Kenia, Uhuru Kenyatta, calificó a Mugabe de “faro brillante de la liberación de África”. El presidente sudafricano, Cyril Ramaphosa, dijo: “Lo recordamos como un líder destacado de la lucha por la independencia del pueblo de Zimbabue” y “como un líder destacado en el continente africano”.

Estos homenajes pueden sonar sorprendentes, particularmente en Occidente, dado el infame historial de abusos contra los derechos humanos de Mugabe. Sin embargo, la realidad es que, para los zimbabuenses, el legado de Mugabe es más complicado de lo que muchos en el extranjero piensan: fue un libertador que se convirtió en un opresor, y ambas facetas están siendo recordadas después de su fallecimiento.…  Seguir leyendo »

Children pass in front of a wall with a mural of the Robert Mugabe in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Saturday, a day after his death. (Tafadzwa Ufumeli/Getty Images)

In 1980, after coming to power following the brutal 15-year guerrilla war he led against white minority rule, Robert Mugabe, independent Zimbabwe’s first leader, made an extraordinary speech in which he addressed the country’s anxious white population:

“If yesterday I fought you as an enemy, today you have become a friend. If yesterday you hated me, today you cannot avoid the love that binds me to you.”

I was 12 years old at the time, and it was partly because of that moving speech that my parents — white Africans of many generations — chose to stay in Zimbabwe, though an estimated 60 percent of the country’s white population would leave over the next six years.…  Seguir leyendo »

Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is seen at the closing ceremony of the 28th Southern African Development Community summit of heads of state and government, in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Aug. 17, 2008. (Jerome Delay/AP)

Glowing tributes of Zimbabwe’s strongman and former longtime ruler, Robert Mugabe, have been pouring in since he died Friday morning. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta called Mugabe a “shining beacon of Africa’s liberation,” while South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said, “We remember him as a towering leader of a struggle for independence of the people of Zimbabwe” and “as an outstanding leader on the African continent.”

This praise may come as a surprise, particularly in the West, given Mugabe’s infamous record of human rights abuses. Yet the glaring reality is that, for Zimbabweans, Mugabe’s legacy is more complicated than many abroad would think.…  Seguir leyendo »

In Zimbabwe, former president Robert Mugabe has died, but the institutional legacies that helped shape his long and repressive regime live on. In 2019, the current economic crisis under President Emmerson Mnangagwa — created by a mix of drought and bad monetary policies — has led to mass unrest and new signs of repression.

A wave of protests that began after a 130 percent rise in fuel prices in January continued throughout the year. The government response has grown increasingly violent, with reports that security forces were beating and detaining protesters. In August, the crackdown escalated with the arrest of members of the Rural Teachers Union who were campaigning for wage increases.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cuando el presidente de Zimbabue, Robert Mugabe, fue derrocado en noviembre de 2017, después de 30 años en el poder, muchos esperaban que la decadencia económica generada durante su gobierno se revertiría. Pero, un año y medio después, la economía no da señales de recuperación, gracias a una crisis monetaria en curso. ¿Una criptomoneda basada en la cadena de bloques podría ser la cura para los males de Zimbabue?

Hace poco más de diez años, Zimbabue se vio aquejado por una hiperinflación tan severa –que alcanzó un pico de 89.700 millones por ciento en noviembre de 2008- que decidió abandonar su moneda y adoptar en su lugar una canasta de monedas internacionales, encabezada por el dólar estadounidense.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Our nation is now trapped in a cycle of terror and unrest. Armed soldiers are a fixture on the streets, manning roadblocks and fuel stations.’ A military patrol in Harare. Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

Like the fleeting blossom of Jacaranda trees in spring, faith in the government of Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has waned, following another round of state violence towards unarmed citizens.

A Harare woman wounded in the leg by a close-range gunshot from a soldier’s gun is ferried in a wheelbarrow to seek medical help. Elsewhere in the capital, a young footballer is killed for standing outside his home – his sole crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. These days, on the streets of Harare, an unnatural silence and fear have displaced the wild cheers of celebration that accompanied the 2017 resignation of Robert Mugabe as president.…  Seguir leyendo »

Supporters of Martin Fayulu chant slogans and carry placards as he delivers his appeal contesting the CENI results of the presidential election at the constitutional court in Kinshasa, on 12 January 2019. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe

A dispute over the results of the DR Congo’s 30 December election cast a dark shadow over what should be a historic transition of power but a surprisingly robust reaction by regional actors offers a genuine chance for a course correction. According to official tallies, opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was the winner, but these stood in stark contrast to a parallel count by Congolese Catholic Church observers, which indicated a landslide for Martin Fayulu, another opposition leader. Data leaked from sources within the electoral authorities confirm the church’s figures, strongly suggesting an effort to rig the vote in favour of the opposition candidate more palatable to incumbent President Kabila and his allies.…  Seguir leyendo »

Angry protesters barricade the main route to Zimbabwe's capital Harare from Epworth township after the government announced a hike in fuel prices, on 14 January 2019. AFP/Jekesai Njikizana

What triggered this explosion of unrest?

On 12 January, in response to persistent fuel shortages compounded by manipulation and mismanagement of a currency crisis, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a fuel price hike of over 200 per cent to $3.31 per litre – making the country’s petrol price the highest in the world. It is unclear how this move would address the shortages, outside of pricing fuel out of the reach of many; already, the knock-on effects of transport and commodity price increases are adding evident stress to ordinary Zimbabweans’ lives.

The massive rise sparked a general strike, along with widespread protests, which in many areas was characterised by violence and considerable destruction of property.…  Seguir leyendo »

A family member of Kelvin Tinashe Choto reacts during his funeral in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe, on Saturday. He was killed in a violent crackdown by security forces on protests. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

More than a year after the ousting of long-serving President Robert Mugabe in a military coup, and six months after the election of new President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe is once more in crisis. Security forces have cracked down brutally on large-scale protests, leaving at least 12 dead, hundreds injured and more than 600 detained. To resolve the crisis, leaders in Zimbabwe, the region and internationally will have to look beyond the artificially constrained choices of the past.

A massive increase in the price of fuel triggered the latest upheaval. Citizens deeply frustrated by the ongoing currency crisis, shortages of critical items such as medical supplies and the absence of real economic progress took to the streets in protest last week.…  Seguir leyendo »

Soldiers patrolled as people gathered in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Tuesday to protest a steep increase in fuel prices.CreditCreditTsvangirayi Mukwazhi/Associated Press

After replacing Robert Mugabe as the president of Zimbabwe in late 2017, Emmerson Mnangagwa promised a “new” Zimbabwe, a country with “a thriving and open economy, jobs for its youth, opportunities for investors and democracy and equal rights for all.” But those hopes have died as Mr. Mnangagwa has turned out to be no different from the strongman he served for decades and eventually deposed.

On Sunday, Mr. Mnangagwa announced a more than 150 percent increase in the fuel price. In response, the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions and the prominent civil society leader Pastor Evan Mawarire called for a three-day strike starting Monday against the increasing fuel price and worsening economic conditions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 26. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Nearly a year ago, on Nov. 21, the Zimbabwean armed forces toppled Robert Mugabe after a week of attempts to coerce him to resign from the presidency. The coup surprised many observers, as the armed forces had long supported Mugabe’s tenure. Afterward, the coup plotters tried to convince observers, both at home and internationally, that it wasn’t in fact a coup. Rather, their aim was to fix what they saw as Zimbabwe’s deteriorating political, social and economic conditions — or so they tried to persuade the world. For instance, soon after taking power in December, the new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, promised “free and fair” elections in “four to five months.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Zimbabwean anti-riot police officers at the Rainbow Towers where the election’s results were announced, as supporters of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), protest against alleged widespread fraud by the election authority and ruling party, in Harare, on August 1, 2018.CreditCreditLuis Tato/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The old guns have retained power in Zimbabwe. On Friday the country’s constitutional court confirmed Emmerson Mnangagwa, the leader of the incumbent Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, as the president after rejecting a legal challenge by the leading opposition party seeking the annulment of the results of the country’s July 30 election.

According to the official results, the incumbent ZANU-PF led by Mr. Mnangagwa narrowly won the elections — the first after the fall of Robert Mugabe — with 50.8 percent of the vote, and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa won 44.3 percent of the vote.…  Seguir leyendo »

Opposition supporters burn posters of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa while protesting election results in Harare on Aug. 1. (AP)

On July 30, for the first time since 1980, Zimbabwe held general elections without Robert Mugabe on the ballot. Many Western donor countries have had sanctions on Zimbabwe since 2002 because of the government’s political repression and human rights abuses — and promised to lift these once the country held free and fair elections.

But free and fair do not appear to apply. Officially, President Emmerson Mnangagwa — a former Mugabe lieutenant who grabbed power in a November 2017 coup — won with 50.8 percent of the vote, narrowly avoiding a runoff election. And his ruling ZANU-PF party won a two-thirds majority of 149 seats in parliament’s lower house, permitting it to amend the constitution at will.…  Seguir leyendo »

Supporters of the newly reelected Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa celebrate in Mbare, Harare, on 3 August 2018. MARCO LONGARI / AFP

The Zimbabwean government posited that the first elections after the November 2017 ouster of Robert Mugabe would enhance the state’s credibility and strengthen the country’s prospects for economic recovery. Voters responded in kind, heading to the polls in unprecedented numbers. The results, however, confirmed that the country is deeply divided, with the opposition contesting the electoral commission’s determination that Emmerson Mnangagwa won the presidency. Several parliamentary challenges are also underway in separate petitions. The opposition is accusing the electoral commission of bias and fraud in its legal petition to overturn the election results. The Constitutional Court is expected to announce its judgment in the case later in August.…  Seguir leyendo »

People queue in order to cast their ballot outside a polling station located in the suburb of Mbare in Zimbabwe's capital Harare, on 30 July 2018. Photo: Luis Tato/AFP/Getty Images.

Before Zimbabwe’s general election on 30 July, there was a lot of talk about there being ‘landmark change’ and ‘credibility.’ But in many ways it was déjà vu. President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling ZANU-PF party won the parliamentary vote, taking a majority 144 seats out of 210. The opposition MDC Alliance, a seven-party coalition led by Nelson Chamisa, won 64 seats—an improvement on their 2013 showing of 44 seats, but still falling far short of expectations.

The presidential results were much closer. After clashes on Wednesday, the incumbent Mnangagwa was declared winner early Friday morning, taking 50.8 per cent of the vote against Chamisa’s 44.3…  Seguir leyendo »

Zimbabwean voters line up before dawn Monday to cast their ballots in the country’s general elections in Harare. (Reuters)

Over 5 million Zimbabweans have registered to vote in Monday’s elections. The majority of registrants, 60 percent, are under the age of 40.

This is Zimbabwe’s first election since the ouster of long-term leader Robert Mugabe last November and the death of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February. Mugabe broke his silence on the eve of the election and said he will not vote for those who tormented him.

Voters will choose from 55 registered parties to elect their president and members of the Senate and National Assembly. Should a presidential runoff election be necessary (to meet the majority threshold), it will be held Sept.…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman walks past election posters in Harare, Zimbabwe, 19 July, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

What’s so important about the credibility of these polls?

On 30 July 2018 Zimbabweans will go to the polls to elect a president, parliamentarians and local councillors. The elections are an unprecedented opportunity for Zimbabweans to choose who they believe can deliver economic recovery after decades of violent, predatory and authoritarian rule by former President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). This will be the first vote since a Very Peculiar Coup in November 2017 ousted Mugabe and made way for President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a 75-year-old ZANU-PF stalwart. Mnangagwa is contesting the election on pledges of reform and economic recovery.…  Seguir leyendo »