Stop waiting for Robert Mugabe to lose. Visit Zimbabwe now

Posted by Paul Maughan-Brown on 13 August 2013

Zimbabwe has long been a contentious destination for tourists. It includes some of the most beautiful places one could hope to visit (Zimbabwe travel packages and tours), but it also has a madman as its president. Rampant corruption, starvation, lack of judicial oversight and open, vocal contempt and hatred for western influences all contribute to an image of Zim as a travel destination which is possibly more sketchy than it’s worth. If you have been waiting with bated breath for the end of Mugabe’s rule in order to visit the country, it may be best to stop waiting and decide whether you want to go, regardless of who is in control (read: A woman’s solo road trip from Cape Town to Zimbabwe).

Mugabe recently stated at the country’s Heroes’ Day celebrations that ZANU-PF will never ‘go back on [their] victory’. This statement may refer specifically to the recent election in Zim, but it seems clear that it alludes more broadly to the victory of uncle Bob and his party in their struggle for unending absolute power in the country. Stating in the same breath that opposition members who were unhappy could go and hang themselves, could commit suicide, and that dogs would not even eat their flesh, Mugabe showed his own confidence in the fact that he and the Zimbabwean presidency are man and position, to have and to hold, for worse or for worse, until death do them part.

The appeal from the MDC to the constitutional court will fall on ears clogged with dollar bills. The election result will stand, and Bob will be sitting (not-so) pretty in his seat of opulence until he decides it is time to renew his fault-legitimacy with another predetermined election. So what does this mean for those who are waiting to go to Zim? Stop waiting and get going.

Although things are incredibly dire for millions of people in Zim, the country has been relatively stable for a while now (perhaps mainly due to the coercion and nepotism of the state). Political transitions are often the spark for unrest and when Bob does take the trip from the land of the living to the blue yonder (or the fiery-red yonder, as the case may be – I don’t know, I don’t set the entrance requirements) it will be interesting to see how ZANU-PF manages to stick together in his wake. It is entirely possible that the structures of distribution of power and wealth, headed by the main-man himself, could continue to operate as they do now, but with a new leader. It is also possible, however, that a change-up could lead to some struggle over who gets to conduct the gravy train. This is a situation which might lead to a fragile or volatile political atmosphere.

All of this is complete conjecture, of course, but it seems that now might be as good a time as any to visit ‘the land of the free’, as one of my best mates (who lives in Harare) refers to it. If anything, the dollars you spend while there (US dollars, of course) could help someone or some group of someones who have been neglected and forgotten by their leaders.


 

Ed’s note

Zimbabwe has always been a tricky one. Now is no different. However, despite there always being something on the boil tourism is growing steadily (read: Robert Mugabe: the stay-at-home dad). And when pitted against Zambia’s current phase of price-hiking its tourism sector, Zim also poses a viable option for those wanting to experience Victoria Fall and the Zambezi. Give Zimbabwe a little more thought before dismissing it entirely as your next destination. Think its time to go? Find affordable accommodation options anywhere from Hwange to Victorial Falls here.






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