While it’s unlikely that many Zimbabweans yearn for former ruler Robert Mugabe’s return, the occasion of his 95th birthday on Thursday has led some to see him in a softer light.
“Comrade Bob” was toppled from 37 years in power in November 2017 following a brief military takeover that saw him replaced by his one-time protege, deputy and latterly, political rival President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Immediately after Mugabe’s resignation, there was an outpouring of joy and many people took to the streets to celebrate.
Six people were killed after soldiers opened fire in downtown Harare following presidential elections in July, which Mnangagwa won despite rigging allegations and an appeal by the opposition.
In January, at least 17 civilians were killed according to community groups after a crackdown sparked by thousands of Zimbabweans taking to the streets to protest an overnight doubling of fuel prices.
There were also harrowing accusations by civilians of torture and sexual assault by the security services.
“Mugabe made mistakes but he was not as ruthless as those security services.
“Mugabe made mistakes but he was not as ruthless as those who took over from him. We thought things would be better under Mnangagwa but now many people are saying Mugabe was better,” said Edmond Jera, an unemployed accountant.
Source: Guardian Newspaper