The dust has began to settle in Zimbabwe after “Uncle Bob” finally decided to bow to the ever-increasing pressure to resign. After a 38-year uninterrupted rule, the once iconic freedom fighter alas falls from grace together with Grace.
The emotions that have accompanied the saga ever since the military took matters in their hands ran high. The difference with some other countries is that everything was done in an orderly manner; there was no hint of violence, there was no looting or name calling.
What is taking place in Harare should serve as an example to many towns in Kenya whose political atmosphere is also charged following disputed elections. President Uhuru Kenyatta was given a clean bill of health by the Supreme Court but the opposition is having none of that.
Already scenes of barricaded roads, burning vehicles, looting – and in some cases killings – have dominated the news. There is fear that the election issue is slowly being turned into an ethnic tug-of-war.
Both Zimbabwe and Kenyan situations were fueled by similar bone of contention; the person occupying the presidency. In Zimbabwe, the protesters showed maturity, discipline and tolerance. The same cannot be said of Kenya.
There are many lessons to be learned from the above two scenarios; the most important is that no one person should be allowed to hold a country hostage and set it on fire.
There are worse things happening on the continent than the person in the driving seat; slave markets have opened in Libya where migrants are being sold like sheep and just this week, over 50 people were killed in a suicide attack in Nigeria.
At the end of the day, the person on the street holds all the cards and can decide whether to flush their country’s future down the drain or strive for peaceful change.