Editorial | Polls signal hope for a better Zimbabwe
Zimbabweans went to the polls on Monday for the first time since the ousting of Robert Mugabe last November and over the next few days the world will closely be watching the outcome.
Despite the change in presidency, Zimbabwe remains a country in crisis and one with overwhelming troubles to overcome.
The election was a significant opportunity to show the international community the country was ready to start making its way back into the fold.
Zimbabweans are hungry for change; the economy is in ruins and infrastructure continues to crumble.
Poverty and unemployment are rife, and millions have left their home country for a better life in the likes of SA.
A free and fair election would undoubtedly have helped pave the way towards both international acceptance and much-needed financial bail-outs, but unfortunately it is still not certain all indeed has been above board. For instance, it did not take long for claims to surface that both presidential candidates had flouted electoral laws.
At least the loathsome Mugabes are no longer pulling the strings – much of the “fear factor” once associated with the ruling Zanu-PF has dissipated and Robert’s geriatric antics are little more than a comedic sideshow nowadays.
And Grace, quite possibly even more reviled than her husband, got her nose bloodied by the law on Monday when the high court in Johannesburg ruled she should not have been granted diplomatic immunity following her alleged assault of model Gabriella Engels at a Gauteng hotel last August.
Despite the countless hardships they had to endure under the dictatorship, Zimbabweans remain an optimistic people who will never give up hope that life in their beloved country can and will one day be better. Sadly election promises are easy to make and often amount to little.
Regardless of which party turns out to be victorious, that is to say if there is an outright winner, massive policy reform and a genuine break with the past are needed if there is to be any hope of a brighter future for Zimbabwe...