“A Climate Of Fear Still Lingers In Zimbabwe, 5 Years After Mugabe’s Ouster” – BBC

A climate of fear still lingers in Zimbabwe, five years after long-time ruler Robert Mugabe was deposed, BBC reported.

Few people are willing to speak openly about whether President Emmerson Mnangagwa‘s government has honoured its promise of transformation, either in terms of raising living standards or guaranteeing human rights.

One street vendor who spoke on condition of anonymity told the BBC: 

I mind my own business. People who speak their minds – some end up in prison. So, I keep things to myself and do what I have to do to survive.

Little has changed in this regard since President Mugabe’s departure as many ordinary people and critics still face arrest for insulting the president, a human rights lawyer said.

If found guilty of insulting the President, one faces up to 10 years in jail, a fine or both.

A university graduate who sells groceries out of his car boot says being a street vendor is the only way he can earn his living because there are no jobs available.

Said the vendor who graduated with a double major in marketing and human resources management:

Things are the same or even worse since Robert Mugabe left. But while it might sound far-fetched, I still have hope about the future.

Inflation today is 268% – many times higher than it was when Mr Mugabe left office, according to data from Zimbabwe’s national statistics body.

Meanwhile, the proportion of Zimbabweans in extreme poverty has almost doubled – from 30% in 2017 to 50% during the coronavirus pandemic, says the World Bank.
Members of the public celebrated Mugabe’s resignation on 21 November 2017. A week earlier army tanks had rolled onto the capital’s streets as the military seized the public broadcaster and placed the 93-year-old president under house arrest.

Mugabe’s former vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, rose to power and vowed to end poisonous and polarising domestic politics, turn around the economy and repair fractured relations with Western nations.

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