One year ago the unthinkable happened in Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe fell from power. Tanks rolled in the streets of the capital, Harare, on November 14, 2017, and the military put Mugabe under house arrest, in reaction to Mugabe’s firing of vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans danced in the streets to celebrate the end of Mugabe’s repressive rule that had brought ruin to the once prosperous economy. Mugabe, then 92, soon resigned, ending his 37-year rule.
A year later Zimbabwe’s economic problems have worsened and restrictions on basic freedoms remain, bringing some Zimbabweans to ask ‘What has changed?’ and ‘Are things better?’ The euphoria at Mugabe’s fall has evaporated. Mnangagwa promised Zimbabwe “a new dawn” but to many the country looks depressingly familiar with long lines at the banks to withdraw paltry amounts of cash and shortages of basic goods have led to the rationing of cooking oil, bottled water and beer. “They played us, we marched for nothing,” Adrea Magoronye, a Harare resident said as she stood in a line for cooking oil at a supermarket.