In the words of Graham Norton, "What a week it's been!"
The theme of the week was ‘Be knowledgeable about Politics and Economics’ and politics was everywhere. Zimbabwe has a new president, Emmerson ‘The Crocodile’ Mnangagwa, after Robert Mugabe stepped down after 37 years in office. The people of Zimbabwe were seen on TV news programmes celebrating the news; dancing and cheering in the streets and waving the national flag.
Why are they so happy? What did 93-year old Mr Mugabe do wrong? Many say he was a dictator with an iron grip on the country, taking over people’s land, arresting those to disagree with him, fixing elections and using violence to get what he wanted. The country is rich in natural assets but remains incredibly poor, with food shortages and huge inflation. Zimbabwe has not had its own currency since 2009, after hyperinflation led to One Hundred Trillion Dollar bank notes having to be printed! We complain about the new £5 and £10 notes! Life expectancy in the country is only 54 years. Last week, he sacked his long-term ally and vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, paving the way for his young wife, Grace, to succeed him. Is seems that was the final straw, and the army intervened to force him to step down.
What can we learn from this? Never underestimate the wishes of the people. The people of Zimbabwe took their time complaining but in the end enough was enough, so he had to go. At Invicta, we take great pride in our Student Voice body, making sure the wishes of all are considered.
Democracy is something worth fighting for. In the UK, we are lucky to live in a democracy; those in power are elected and can be replaced relatively quickly. In many African countries, all the power belongs to one particular family, who protect their power at all costs. At Invicta, our Prefects are elected by the students and staff.
Strong opposition is important. In the UK, we are used to scenes from the House of Commons and TV news programmes highlighting everyone shouting and arguing, and this is how it should be.
This week I have learned more about Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe than I could ever have imagined. I wonder what will happen next week….?
Mrs Le Sbirel
Associate Assistant Head Teacher