When Robert Mugabe was forced to take a bow from the Zimbabwe’s top job, liberals and democrats all over the world were exploding with joy.
Zimbabweans ecstatically took to streets to show the whole world what a great accomplishment and relief it was to have Mugabe kicked out of office.
The army had delivered the people’s will (everyone thought). A new era was to be born; a new leadership had to be ushered in, in the name of Emmerson Mnangagwa, the long-feared crocodile.
A few pessimists like myself warned, amidst all these jubilations, that Zimbabwe was Jumping from a frying pan to flames for reasons that I tried to explain and won’t fully repeat here. It is now been almost two months since the stubborn nonagenarian faced his exit.
Emmerson Mnangagwa then took the oar, thereby sending the world into loud whispers. Were we to expect anything better? Wasn’t this the same hand that Mugabe had used to terrorise Zimbabwe? Wasn’t this the force that brought people on their knees with unspeakable poverty and inflation?
Was the country in a leadership crisis that there were no other options to take over for the remaining months before elections?
All these pondered in people’s minds. But with the hope and belief in reform, we decided to wait and see how the crocodile would later turn into a dolphin.
Mnangawa’s first task was to appoint a cabinet. This was his time to shine, to prove to the world that it was not business as usual. It was his chance to bring in new players, on merit. This was his golden opportunity to get rid of the rot by the looting fellas that had surrounded Mugabe.
This wasn’t the case. What the new big boss did was to look back to all his (and Mugabe’s) old colleagues, most of them still in government and rewarded them more with all the fat jobs in cabinet.
These were majorly his fellow coup plotters and sympathisers who ensured that Grace Mugabe doesn’t slide into the comfortable sit or else, they would all, including Mnangagwa, would be buried.
A big percentage of the undoubtedly corrupt cabinet was retained. Major general Sibusisiwe Moyo is now the Foreign Affairs minister, Obert Mpofu was retained as Home Affairs Minister and then the last nail in the coffin came with the recent swearing in of General Dominic Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi as the new vice presidents.
General Chiwenga led the so-called military takeover that ousted Mugabe and demanded the return of Mnangagwa. At that time, his new co-vice president Mohadi was the security minister, a post he had held for a very long time.
This clearly means all they were doing was fighting for themselves. If Chiwenga had been so patriotic and democratic, he would not have taken the VP job or rush to retire from the army so as to pose as a valid candidate for the vice presidency.
This then confirms everyone’s fear that the overnight capture of state broadcaster and forcing Mugabe to step down wasn’t for or even about Zimbabweans, but for a group of hungry and angry ZANU-PF individuals who only wanted to protect their positions and the unimaginable amount of wealth they have amassed over the years. Grace Mugabe was a threat to this arrangement and this is why she had to be dealt with.
There are numerous alternative leaders at Mnangagwa’s disposal if he is to show the world how transformed he and Zimbabwe are. Morgan Tsvangirai is tried and tested. His leadership brought about massive economic turnaround between 2009 and 2013.
He has, with no doubt, won people’s hearts given that it is believed he won the 2008 presidential elections. What more can, therefore, add to Zimbabwe’s transition than his ardent leadership? He doesn’t have to be president, as that perhaps is still a ZANU-PF affair, but he at least deserved to be in cabinet.
If Mugabe himself managed to bring him in once, why not Mnangagwa, who has a point to prove? Keeping out the opposition at this stage still shows the intolerant and despotic leadership of Mnangagwa and his colleagues.
If the coup was, indeed, for the people, let’s see some inclusion in the politics of Zimbabwe.
It doesn’t have to wait until the July 2018 elections because we can almost be sure that someone somewhere might say: “We have not had enough time for the transition, we just got here, give us some more time to set everything back in order, then we will have the elections anytime soon.”
The author is a social and political critic