ANNOUNCEMENT of President Robert Mugabe’s resignation after 37 years of iron rule ended the joint session of Parliament at the Harare International Conference Center (HICC) on Tuesday, November 21, 2017, as opposition legislators demanded real democracy in Zimbabwe.
Debating an impeachment motion raised by Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, Harare West MP Hon. Jessie Majome said Zimbabweans needed to take the opportunity of the end to former 93-year-old President Mugabe’s rule to cultivate a new political culture.
Quoting British writer, Willian Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Hon. Majome said: “There is a tide in the affairs of men (and I must add women since we are now gender sensitive) which, taken at the flood leads to fortune; omitted, all the voyages of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.”
Hon. Majome had supported the motion, saying the dilapidated infrastructure everywhere, such as potholed roads testified to bad governance.
In the middle of the debate, parliamentarians and those in the gallery broke into celebrations as the Speaker Jacob Mudenda read from former President Mugabe’s resignation letter.
Seconding the impeachment motion earlier, Mabvuku MP Hon. James Maridadi dedicated his submission to victims of the oppressive government such as former ZIPRA commander and liberation war hero Lookout Masuku who died in detention in the 1980’s and Itai Dzamara, an activist who was abducted in March 2015.
Hon. Maridadi who previously moved a motion for the former President’s impeachment in the past few months, which was readily resisted by ruling party politicians called for legislators to be loyal to the interests of the people rather than of their parties.
Hon. Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga challenged her colleagues from the ruling party Zanu-PF to embrace a new culture of tolerance and respect for free expression, reminding the house of the tragedies that have befallen the country in the past decades such as the Gukurahundi massacre in Matabeleland and repeated election violence.
In her motion, Senator Mutsvangwa had accused the former President of allowing corruption, divisions and patronage to fester in the country, and bending to his wife, Grace Mugabe’s whims.
She also said the President’s frailties such as his fall at the airport, awkward walk to the stage at the last United Nations (UN) General Assembly, his near fall in India and his regular sleeping at international forums had become a source of embarrassment for the country.
Even as people celebrated in the streets of Harare last night, they also remained sceptical of the future until free and fair elections as well as basic freedoms are not guaranteed.