Deeply compromised like their mentor Robert Mugabe, neither Mnangagwa nor Chiwenga are part of the solution. Rather they are part of the problem. On attaining power in 1980, ZANU rapidly revealed that its espoused democratic principles were merely a veneer with Mugabe’s enforcers being Chiwenga and Mnangagwa.
Main picture: Emerson Mnangagwa
First rightfully heralded as a liberator for having evicted the Ian Smith regime from power, Robert Mugabe and his close aides were soon cast in the role as oppressors and despots in their own right. The Blacks of Zimbabwe had merely replaced one oppressor with another. The veil of the rule of law was ripped off Zimbabwe in 1982 with the Gukurahundi – derived from a Shona language term which loosely translates to “the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains” – spear-headed by Mnangagwa whereby Mugabe unleashed the North Korean trained Fifth Brigade on the Matabele. The aim of this campaign was to suppress the Matabele. It was during this operation, in which 20,000 people were reported to have been murdered, that ZANU’s intolerance for their political opponents was starkly revealed.
Being an African hero, nary a word of criticism was forthcoming from this continent. In fact, he was and still is held in awe by most in Africa. Likewise, the Brits, the USA and Europe maintained their dignified silence lest the Mugabe Regime cast aspersions against them for racism.Subsequent to this massacre, Emerson Mnangagwa was at Mugabe’s side in his role as the enforcer over the years in the suppression of all democratic movements including that of the MDC. Fast forward to recently. It was these actions which earned Mnangagwa his nickname of Crocodile in view of its habit of waiting quietly before sinking its jaws into its rivals. Over the years, Mnangagwa lived up to his reputation for ruthlessness.
Timeline of current events
What is the timeline to this showdown:
- In 2013 Emerson Mnangagwa was perceived to be the mastermind of the defeat of the MDC and so he expected to be rewarded by Zanu-PF but instead he was sidelined
- He then launched a campaign against Joice Mujuru, had her removed and took on the role of Vice President
- Robert Mugabe appointed a 2nd VP, thereby diluting Mnangagwa’s power and Mugabe made it clear that the VP’s would have no chance of being his successor
- Grace Mugabe become increasingly powerful as Head of the Women’s League, formed a group called G40 and created a pool of funds from corrupt activities which amounts to $2/3m per day
- Grace Mugabe controlled 7/10 provinces and had been setting herself up to replace Mnangagwa at the next ZANU PF congress
- An attempt on Mnangagwa’s life was made. He survived, but a number of high profile murders have since occurred.
- It appears that the real tipping point that led to this week’s military action was Mugabe’s last trip to Singapore, Mugabe’s doctors stated that they could not do much for him and that he should “get his affairs in order”.
- Grace Mugabe realized Mnangagwa was in a position to take power if Mugabe passed on, which would force her to flee.
- At a Bulawayo rally Grace Mugabe criticized Mnangagwa publicly and the following transpired:
- Mugabe met with the Generals on a Sunday
- The Zimbabwean Attorney General wrote to Mnangagwa on the Monday dismissing him. This was unconstitutional.
- Mnangagwa ‘s security was withdrawn on Tuesday. He left the country ultimately ending in China where he met Chiwenga (Head of the Zimbabwean Armed Forces) where they put the finishing touches on the military action that has since transpired
An alternative denouement
This alternative future is based upon an article in the prestigious journal, The Economist. According to a recent article, Mnangagwa “has let it be known he would reverse the racist indigenisation business ownership law…has argued for some kind of settlement for white farmers acknowledging that their skills are needed…and has put out secret feelers to the opposition, hinting at a unity government.”
The global diaspora of an estimated five million homesick Zimbabweans would delight in such a result. Furthermore, they possess the skills and resources desperately needed to rebuild Africa’s one-time breadbasket.
If “The Economist” is correct, Mnangagwa is fully aware of what caused the economic implosion and intends sparking this revival.
What Zimbabwe requires now, above all else, is a clean start. What Mnangagwa and Chiwenga represents is the past. Can a leopard change its spots? By now those spots are indelibly embedded and imprinted.
The primacy of the will of the people needs to be respected. As such, nothing less than a new generation of leaders needs to grasp the baton from the hands of those who have failed the Zimbabwean people. That includes Emerson Mnangagwa and his ilk.
Apparently, Zimbabweans are unfazed by this development. For them the adage “anybody but Mugabe” seems to apply, even if Mugabe’s successor is Mnangagwa.