Many Zimbabweans thought any president would be better than Robert Mugabe. What’s more, they high hopes that the Crocodile – Emmerson Mnangagwa – had undergone a Damascene conversion as he took over the reins from Mugabe following a military take-over. But, as the dust settles, it becomes clear that Mnangagwa has not made good on his early commitment to overhaul Zimbabwe. His new cabinet is made up of the same people who supported Mugabe, plus some extras from the military. Zimbabwean opposition politician Eddie Cross highlights the disappointment that has come as the Mnangagwa honeymoon comes to an abrupt end. International investors and those in the diaspora who were hoping to return to rebuild their home country are adopting a wait-and-see approach in the hope that next year’s elections might be the spark needed to get the failed state back on a growth trajectory. This is not only a disappointment and set back for Zimbabweans; many South Africans had been pinning their hopes on grand-scale change north of the Limpopo sending a message to the ruling ANC to clean up its act. – Jackie Cameron
When Mr. Mugabe fired Emmerson Mnangagwa as Vice President and then tried to arrest General Chiwenga on his return from an official trip to China, it was a step too far for that old fox and a grave error of judgment.
He got away with Gukurahundi and the near total destruction of ZAPU and its founder, Joshua Nkomo, then he got away with the elimination of his rivals and competitors for 20 years until MDC pitched up. He got away with 17 years of mayhem on the farms, selective killings of opposition activists of all hues and the destructive swathe of Murambatsvina. He got away with rigging elections in his favor a dozen times.
He got away with the premature deaths of 3 million Zimbabweans as life expectancy crashed from over 60 years in 1980 to 35 years. He got away with the forced expulsion of 5 million Zimbabweans into the Diaspora to find refuge from political thuggery and economic collapse. He got away with the collapse of our currency which for over 100 years had been stronger than the mighty US dollar and the British pound. He got away with turning one of the most diversified economies in Africa and a major agricultural producer and exporter into an importer of everything and leaving his poorest and most vulnerable people, living under the constant threat of starvation and dependency on food handouts by the international Community.
But he did not get away with the last mistake of his Presidency.
In an extraordinary sweep of events, the army took complete control of the Country in one night, arrested a number of people (we still have no idea of how many) and held him under house arrest until he agreed to resign “voluntarily” under threat of a swift dismissal process through a Parliament which two weeks before were singing his praises and vowing to support his bid for a final term in Office in 2018.
Im calling for those Zimbabweans in diaspora to participate in rebuilding our Zimbabwe nation which shall include diaspora voting and dual citizenship.
I had mixed feelings through it all – Mr. Mugabe had made a significant contribution to the liberation of Africa from colonial rule and European dominance. He was a brilliant man and could be charming. He knew nothing of economics or business (even though he had a degree in the former) but at times a massive figure in Africa, like so many of his contemporaries – then to watch him being metaphorically dragged through the streets and humiliated – but it was his own fault.
Riding on the back of this slick, totally ruthless operation that had all the hallmarks of Emmerson Mnangagwa, was the man of the moment and his army. He arrived back in the country, having fled just two weeks before in ignominy across the border in the Eastern Highlands, to a rapturous welcome and his own motorcade filled with praise singers from the Airport. In another week he was sworn in as President of the Republic by the Chief Justice in front of a huge capacity crowd and several Heads of State.
To drive home the message that real change had come, he made several speeches in which he promised a clean, lean government and a new beginning for the country. He drove to work in his Ministerial Merc, stopped at the traffic lights and smiled when greeted. The international Community rushed to assure him that if he fulfilled his promise to return Zimbabwe to democracy and the rule of law, they would recognise his government and support its efforts to get the economy back on its feet after the most recent collapse which followed the 2013 end of the GNU and a resumption of Mugabe’s absolute rule. The thousands of now destitute white farmers and their hundreds of thousands of former workers and staff were promised compensation. Better late than never, even though many have died in poverty since their forced evictions from their homes.
A real sense of anticipation gripped the country, what would his first team in power look like – inclusive, new blood, younger people, some technocrats?
The honeymoon with Mnangagwa is over – he has made a major tactical error and both the Country and the international Community are going to adopt a wait and see attitude, which is really what he does not need. He has been unable to throw off the mantle of Zanu PF and the military Junta in the form of the JOC. Can he carry them over the finish line just 8 months away in the form of an election?
What he has done is throw the opposition a lifeline. For me, the even bigger question is, can we get our act together and pick up this rope and pull ourselves into our real future? We need to sort out our leadership, only Morgan Tsvangirai has the national support required to defeat Zanu PF, he needs support and help to do so, and he needs it NOW. People have got to get off the fences they are sitting on and help us finish what we started in the past fortnight.
He needs a team of competent people who can sell our policies and programs as being the way out of this mess and to take us into the future, he needs people of capacity and integrity. He needs money – lots of it because you cannot fund a national political campaign without resources. Finally, he needs the International Community to stick to its guns and maintain the stance that their help and assistance will only be given to a Government that has clear-cut democratic credentials.
By: Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 2nd December 2017/BizNews