By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration is refusing to change the “authoritarian” system that was used by the late former president Robert Mugabe to govern the country, political commentator Dr Pedzisai Ruhanya has told the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).
On Monday, investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono who recently exposed alleged government corruption involving President Mnangagwa’s son, Collins in the supply of coronavirus supplies, was arrested and charged with inciting citizens to “participate in public violence.”
Speaking to the SABC on Saturday, Ruhanya said the arrest of journalist was evidence that the country was being run by an authoritarian regime similar to Mugabe’s administration.
Since the overthrow of the late former president Robert Mugabe, by the military in November 2017, “there has never been fundamental changes in the institutional framework, in the institutional governance framework of the republic of Zimbabwe,” Ruhanya argued.
“So, the predatory, extractive, parasitic nature of the party state military complex did not change. So, what changed was the face of the president but the system which is violent, corrupt and predatory did not change.
“So, what we saw in November 2017 was not a change of guard but a change of the structures, the institutions and the agencies that are responsible for corruption and human rights violations.
“For instance, where in the world have you ever heard of a journalist who masterminded the overthrow of a government.
“How does it happen that a journalist who exposes corruption, graft, human rights violations, things that the government does not dispute that there have been massive human rights violations, massive corruption to do with Covid-19 PPEs and they go on to arrest the journalist who is assisting the public to understand what is going on in the state amidst the coronavirus pandemic.”
Ruhanya added that the Zanu PF regime was corrupt and has failed to deliver its promises.
“It will be unfortunate for us to address hallucinations of a failed regime. Those are delusions of a corrupt, authoritarian regime that is failing to deliver on its promises.
“They came as a new dispensation, they came as open for business, they came trying to do business with the international community but what they are delivering is corruption.
“What they are delivering is violence, and surely violence, corruption cannot redeem a State that has been going under political and economic decomposition for the past four years.
“They have not changed how the State was operating under Mugabe and as a result the problems that Zimbabwe faced during Mugabe period are the same problems that the country is facing under Mnangagwa because he is refusing to change. He is refusing to reform the political system.
“They want to reform the economy under authoritarian tutelage without reforming the political but the economic regeneration of Zimbabwe is tied to its political regeneration. So, there can never be economic regeneration without political regeneration.
“So, the political regeneration and economic regeneration are tied together. It is difficult to have marketisation of the economy without marketisation of the politics and democratisation of politics.
“Mnangagwa wants to have marketisation of the economy without democratization. That is why they are going for journalists. What is tragic and sad is that Zimbabweans did not expect that the country would sink this low after Mugabe,” Ruhanya added.
Chin’ono was Friday denied bail by the magistrates court and this raised speculations about the integrity of the justice delivery in the country.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Friday issued a statement and called for an end to the “pattern of intimidation” seen in Zimbabwe, warning that authorities may be using the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to “clamp down” on freedom of expression.
“We are concerned at allegations in Zimbabwe, which suggest that the authorities may be using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to clamp down on freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and association,” a spokesperson for High Commissioner Liz Throssell. Nehanda Radio