What happened in Zimbabwe still feels like a dream. Many people had hoped for the day to come, but had least expected it to come in the manner that it did. For many years, Zimbabweans had tried to force Robert Mugabe out of power. He never flinched to these threats, he did all he could to remain in power.
Since the mid 90s, Zimbabweans had always longed for Robert Mugabe to leave power. The resentment was growing, and it was becoming too much to handle. Mugabe used his unorthodox means to remain in power. In 1999, the rise of the workers under the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions sent shocking waves rattling the ruling party, ZANU-PF. The secretary-general, Morgan Tsvangirai, was very fierce, resilient and paraded the determination that was enough to send Mugabe packing. Mugabe invited Tsvangirai to "join politics and form his own party" to which Tsvangirai did.
The entrance of Morgan Tsvangirai and his party the Movement for Democratic Change almost brought Robert Mugabe to his knees. It defied the de facto one-party state that had been created by Robert Mugabe. However, despite all the popularity that the MDC had, Robert Mugabe remained president. The MDC has failed to remove Mugabe from power through the ballot. The closest came in 2008, a murky, bloody year that saw Morgan Tsvangirai being denied the presidency when he had triumphed during the first round of the elections. A second round was declared, but it was a sham. Robert Mugabe emerged the winner, because the violence that had been unleashed on the opposition supporters had forced Tsvangirai to pull out. Supporters were abducted, tortured and killed. It remains one of the darkest periods in the history of Zimbabwe; the other being the infamous Gukurahundi genocide.
This forced Robert Mugabe to enter into a coalition government with Tsvangirai and other opposition leaders. In 2008, the economy was comatose, the currency had reached astonishing hyper-inflationary levels and everything to do with the economy had been marked with epitaphs. The coalition of 2009-2013 saw a brief revival of the economy. But the ZANU-led government that won elections in 2013 has presided over a sinking economy with no hope of respite in sight. Hope has now come with the removal of Robert Mugabe, with many being of the expectation that incoming Emmerson Mnangagwa will resuscitate the economy while the country awaits elections.
And now the whole issue now lies with the phenomenon of elections. It is of importance to note that even though the Robert Mugabe is gone, the rogue system he has helped create over the years, with the unwavering help of Emmerson Mnangagwa, is still in existence and very much alive. Mugabe resigned, but his corrupt ministers have not. The evil system called ZANU-PF is still alive. It is very intact. One can hope Mnangagwa will bring some reform to the ailing economy, but the ultimate victory would rest in the obliteration of ZANU-PF, at the very least.
Now the only way in which this can be done legitimately is through elections. Zimbabweans must keep focus on the forthcoming elections. In the past, elections have failed to remove a dictatorship because of hook-or-crook means. Violence, vote-rigging, lack of electoral reforms have all worked to create an uneven electoral field in Zimbabwe. This is the time for the opposition to be of tremendous unison when the inspiration and euphoria is still alive for them to demand electoral reforms and put an end to vote-rigging machinations. This will inspire the deflated electorate, and thus give the opposition a chance to dismantle the Zanu regime that has caused untold suffering to Zimbabweans for all these hard years.
The ultimate recourse for Zimbabwe to return to its glorious state is through elections. The resignation of Mugabe is one step towards freedom and it must be thoroughly celebrated, with the vision to do away with the whole system. Given the history of Zanu, chances that the system will reform in its entirety are somehow slim. If they become better at leading the people, so be it.