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‘This is like a new era for us’

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Not everything is coming up rosy for all Zimbabweans as members of the first family have become social recluses

Picture: AP Photo/Ben Curtis

HOPE intertwined with scepticism is the feeling of many Zimbabweans scattered across the globe as they lie in wait to see whether the new regime will bring change that will lure them home.

With celebrations around the fall of former president Robert Mugabe starting to fade, the Zimbabwean government, its citizens both within the country and outside is hashing out plans to get the country back on track.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration last week saw thousands flock to the national stadium in Harare to witness the end of a 37-year reign by Mugabe. Most Zimbabweans are optimistic of a bright future ahead them.

Sarah and Nicholas Lindon, former farm owners who fled the country in 2001 when their farm was taken away, went back to Zimbabwe for the first time last Thursday in time for the swearing in of a new President.

“This is like a new era for us, we have not been back home for the past 16 years and it was a very emotional experience for us,” said Sarah.

“We left here fearing for our lives having lost everything to seek refuge from our own home country after we were chased away like dogs because of greed.

“Our children do not even remember their birthplace because they were still very young and we cannot wait to return here for good.

“Both my husband and I are encouraged by the words of the new president. We are hopeful but also optimistic. We have taken a decision to wait it out until the elections next year before we decide whether the new government will not follow in the footsteps of the past.”

In his speech President Mnangagwa promised to deliver elections next year and also stated that although land cannot be returned as the land reform was necessary, farmers who were removed would be compensated.

Former Zanu-PF member, Christopher Mutsvangwa, speaking to journalists said, they were speaking to all those farmers who left Zimbabwe to come back as there was more than enough land for all.

Asked whether white Zimbabweans would be allowed back into the country, Mutsvangwa said: “I am working with them very closely, they are Zimbabweans. There is enough land in this country. The history, we must overcome it, we want to see how to come from it.

“We want the diaspora to come back, those who left before the independence and the new diaspora. We want a talented pool of Zimbabweans who can be the new bridge of economic participation.”

In Cape Town last week a handful of Zimbabweans gathered at the Embassy to usher in a new post-Mugabe Zimbabwe for them and their families back home.

But not everything is coming up rosy for all Zimbabweans as members of the first family have become social recluses.

Former first lady, Grace Mugabe, 52, has barely been seen since the military takeover last month with talks of her already having left the country dismissed. The idea of asylum being granted to the Mugabes has also been dismissed with talks of bringing charges against the 97-year-old even though he and his wife were granted immunity in their home country.

For Mugabe’s sons, Robert Junior, 25, and Bellarmine Chatunga Mugabe, 21, their life of leisure is rapidly coming to an end along with their father’s grip onto power.

The boys, who are known for their extravagant and boastful ways on social media, have gone quiet in the wake of their father’s resignation.

Both their Instagram accounts, which used to be filled with pictures of the boys attending parties and showing off expensive clothes and cars, have been privatised following rants from Zimbabweans targeted at the brothers.

And with the festive season upon us, many Zimbabweans living in diaspora will be heading home for the first time since the regime change, not only eager to see their families but to assess and start planning means to try and return their homeland’s status as the bread basket of Africa.