Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Does the fall of Mugabe mark a new era?

By Whitlaw Mugwiji

Good morning Zimbabwe and complements of the new year. It has been a while since we last had a conversation. A lot has transpired during my absence. 2017, could not have ended any better. I cannot fathom anything better than the fall of the incompetent and corrupt Robert Mugabe and his ignoramus wife.

Whitlaw Tanyanyiwa Mugwiji
Whitlaw Tanyanyiwa Mugwiji

They have eyes, but they do not see

Ancient wisdom must have informed Grace Mugabe that when a drum is playing too loudly, it’s close to tearing apart. But I cannot fault her, even our so called political analysts did not see November coming. They could not even, decipher the decisive import of Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga’s press statement. But my greatest disappointment came when they failed to understand the meaning of tanks in the streets of Harare. There and then, I perfectly understood what Jesus meant when he said they have eyes, but they do not see.

Like doubting Thomas, they had to see the now Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister, Retired Lieutenant General Sibusiso Moyo on the television, clad in his military gear to understand what was happening. Quite frankly, if I was the opposition, I would not be comfortable taking political advice from such people.

Has Zanu PF become stronger?

As if their failings were not enough, they tell us now that the opposition is going to be walloped in the coming elections. Speaking with so much authority as if they have crystal balls to see into the future.

Before Mugabe’s downfall, they constantly told us that Zanu PF under Mnangagwa would be weaker. Now they are singing a different hymn. What is it ma comrades, has Zanu PF become stronger?

In order to prepare adequately for the forth coming elections, the opposition must study this issue seriously. I personally posit that, Zanu PF has become stronger under Mnangagwa and here is why.

  1. The Economy

Since the early 90’s, our economy has been struggling. Some have often cited the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) as the progenitor cause. However, I sincerely disagree. The genesis of our economic problems was laid in our economic policies in the 80’s. Thus, we have never been financially prudent as a nation. We relied too heavily on aid to finance recurrent expenditure and to fund development. Anyone with a bit of sense, would have known back then that it is an unsustainable way of funding growth. What ESAP tried to do and dismally failed was to address those structural challenges. In the late 90’s with the straining of relations with the international community, donor aid dried and the balance of payments support was frozen and the rest is history.

Mnangagwa unlike his predecessor, understands that investment and not empty platitudes is key to solving our economic challenges. However, there are two caveats, to this point.  Firstly, it is one thing to know what needs to be done and another to doing it. In as much as many Zimbabweans, welcome the changes in the government ‘s tone on the economy, they remain sceptical on its ability to implement its plans. Secondly, investment is a long-term game, unfortunately our people want short term improvements in their lives. In short, Mnangagwa will not be able to appease many of the urbanites. And therein lies the opportunity for the opposition to take advantage of. But, in order to do so, the opposition must change its language and start speaking Economy.

  1. Weak opposition and petty pro-opposition activists

I have noticed a very worrying development in the pro-opposition camp. Instead of talking about, unemployment, healthcare, corruption, investment, good governance, devolution etc, the opposition is focusing rather on petty issues. One day it’s about the number of Mnangagwa’s bodyguards. Another day, they are questioning, why the First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa did not do hospital visits before becoming the first lady. These are petty bourgeoisie discussions. They do not answer the everyday, bread and butter issues affecting the common man/woman in the streets. Each day, with such discussions we are losing the moral high ground on the economy. Have we forgotten that the economy is our forte?

Adding on top of those senseless discussions, our opposition is currently weak. The MDC coalition (which is our ray of hope) is riddled with strife and contradictions. Its leader, Tsvangirai is not feeling well and worst of all its coffers are dry. David Hofisi in his blog post, supports my claim that the opposition is weak. He asserts that Mugabe’s removal was aided by the fact that the opposition is currently weak.

I am sure there is little disagreement on this issue. Our challenge is to put our house in order, with the little time that is left. If we are not careful, we will be sitting on the opposition benches once again, come elections.

  1. The consolidation of Zanu PF’s pillars of support

The frail, power hungry Mugabe together with his erratic, infantile and divisive wife had estranged Zanu PF’s key pillars of support. The war veterans and the security sector were the Mugabes’ prime targets, even though they had been key to Zanu PF’s survival post 2000.

Now, after successfully disposing Mugabe they are bubbling with energy and oozing confidence. They are going to be the key actors in Zanu PF’s election strategy. Of course, chiefs are another key component to that election strategy, but they are malleable. They have neither conviction nor backbone, they follow wherever the wind blows.

That said, Mugabe and the G40 faction still have supporters within Zanu PF, their numbers are unknown and unverifiable. On top of that, we must bear in mind that this is the first election after Mujuru left Zanu PF. Hence, if the  opposition is cunning enough, it can manipulate and facilitate ‘Bhora Musango’ 2.0.

In a nutshell, Zanu PF has become stronger, but I do not believe that the 2018 elections are a lost cause.

Did the fall of Mugabe signal a new era?

In concluding, let us re-visit the original question; has the fall of Mugabe signalled a new era in Zimbabwe? Regardless of what Jonathan Moyo and his G40 cohorts say, Zimbabwe has entered a new era. The challenge for us, is to decipher what kind of new era, it is.

We do not have to dig too deep to find the answers. Mnangagwa’s interview with CCTV Talk Africa programme sometime in 2015, gave us an insight into his ambitions and his vision for Zimbabwe. He modelled answers along how Deng Xiaoping transformed China. Thus, studying Deng Xiaoping and the transformation of China we can learn at least two lessons. Lessons, I think are going to be key in this our new era.

Mnangagwa sees himself as the replica to China’s Deng Xiaoping.

In that interview Mnangagwa saw himself as a replica of Deng Xiaoping, with a mandate to modernise Zimbabwe. With just over a month in charge, he has shown an unbridled focus on the economy. His re-engagement efforts, the national budget and his State of the Nation Address pontificate to this.

A new era

Here is the flip-side to Deng Xiaoping’s transformation of China. When Deng Xiaoping took the reins of power, many anticipated, he would democratise China. However, in 1989 he dispelled that notion, when he ruthlessly thwarted the Tiananmen Square protests. Armed with live ammunition and tanks, the army massacred hundreds among hundreds of thousands of demonstrators. Demonstrators who had been calling for democracy, greater accountability and freedom of the press.

This makes me believe that Mnangagwa like Deng, will vigorously attempt to address our economic challenges but will not extend such vigour and effort in levelling the electoral playing field. Even if he personally wanted to, the army will not accept such shenanigans. They invested a lot, when they disposed Mugabe, now it’s their time to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

The 8 Mthwakazi Republic activists

To get a glimpse of what this new era is not about, let us re-visit the story about the 8 Mthwakazi Republic activists, who were arrested two weeks ago. They tortured and detained for demanding truth and justice for Gukurahundi. So, yes, we might have moved away from Mugabe’s empty and meaningless platitudes but it is not yet uhuru. As we prepare for the forthcoming elections, we must know that Mnangagwa will keep one eye on the economy and the other on power retention.

Our struggle for democracy continues unabated, hopefully in this new era, on full stomachs.

  • Yes new era without Mugabe and its up to the people to define the nature and extent to which it differs from Mugabe era

  • No sir rather it is a conthnuation of his despotic rule.

  • definitely although the new Era reflects the fall of the unknown

  • we r still in the early stages of the game,ed wil not fail to run the country but he will fail to revive it.the removal of mugabe on its own is a huge achievement.road blocks hv been reduced and corrupt pipo are being arrested , at least.

  • Unobvunza ani

  • Noooooo noooooo noooooo

  • Not at all first what’s the meaning of the word new era

  • Just a change of drivers same old mhunga bus

  • lawyer

    A very stupid article which i could not finish reading. One man wont change the economy, Mugabe did not destroy the country alone, its still the same thugs who worked and created policies with Mugabe and only an idiot would believe that we have a new era when the head is still the same, only the difference is the haircut! Worse still with a clueless and corrupt General as vice president, things are gonna turn out to be worse!

  • Whitlaw man Mnangagwa is no magician. He cannot just wave his wand and make all our economic ills disappear. Investors know that he was part of the cabal that kept Mugabe in power after a humiliating defeat, they know how one of the current VPs obtained his farm. They won’t just pour in their money without guarantee of security of their investments. They have to see indicators of real change like a credible election which Ngwena must win decisively. Mnangagwa like Mugabe before him has a legitimacy problem and that’s not good for investment. Other indicators point to the economic situation getting worse since Mnangagwa’s ascendancy. Premiums on the US dollar sharply increased and banks reduced withdrawal limits. And prices keep on rising which is why they have come up with that ad hoc committee. You must admit that even the best political pundit could not have foreseen the events of November 14 because of the secrecy in our security forces and the army was always loyal to Mugabe. There was no reason to suspect they would desert him. And the opposition doesn’t rely on the Manyerukes and Ruhanyas of this world for advice. They have experts with provable experience for that. Its not petty to question Mrs Mnangagwa’s motives in view of what her predecessor did. She seems to be usurping the powers of civil servants and we know how that turned out for Grace. These donations are a costly PR exercise and people see it for what it is.

  • Change does not take a month especially to a country like ours……things are changing inthe right way just give this garwe katime mbichana so

    • Read today s paper Ndlangamandla. You will know wbo you are dealing with. This is all about power not about you.

    • Above all the change is being made in quest of their own power …..plus its gud for them to have power but how they apply it to the country is all that matters ans if he be abusing power people wil take off the power from him.It doesn’t have to be abt me but Zimbabwe as a whole.

    • Did you ‘changing in the right direction’ how price increase right direction or continued cash shortages or giving land back to the whites?

    • Power should be with the people not a few government or the army

    • Power is what you did by removing Mugabe

    • Which whites are given farms back coz I know of a law passed by Zimbabwe that white people are only allowed to work under 49/51 rule, meaning they can invest in Zimbabwe not own property or land in Zimbabwe

    • And the army always have power nomatter who the president is…..these reoresents the whole country’s security &safety they protect us Zimbabwe but the way they’re using the power sometimes is abusive again to Zimbabwean citizens so those are the first changes they have to work on……and know how to use power since for the past years power is been abused by those who have it in Zimbabwe.

  • Not real, the system in which Mugabe operated is still alive and ticking. All the conservative dead wood remained intact in Zanu.

  • No

  • ZanuPf minus Mugabe and a few people is not a new dispensation it’s still same old ZanuPf

  • It depends what one calls a new era and what key parameters are used as measures of differentiation What struck me is that it is Zanu pf people calling an end of 37years of Mugabe rule an end and the beginning of a new era. The irony of it is that all are behaving as if they were inactive participants in the 37years A chameleon blends in for camouflage but remains the same chameleon. Let’s see the live billboards scores on reforms of Zanu-PF then we will talk about a chameleon that changed not only its colour but totally transformed

  • wilbert

    “As we prepare for the forthcoming elections, we must know that Mnangagwa will keep one eye on the economy and the other on power retention,” you say.

    Mugabe did that in the early 1980s but when he felt the economic prosperity he had hoped was slipping away from him, he started paying more attention to vote rigging than the economy.