More than swearing in a President, are the hopes and aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe and her diaspora, of how this new era should be the dawn that will give birth to the sunshine to light all dark areas of the country. From corruption to unemployment, poor health service, abuse of public office to even issues of revisiting the contentious request of land redistribution injustice against the white settler minorities.
However, as an onlooker, does the swapping of Mugabe for Mnangagwa by ZANU PF really present the dawn of a new era? Maybe yes, maybe no. I play the devil’s advocate, not because I do not wish Zim well, but because the dusk of the dawn seems to blur many and this article I believe will begin to draw attention to some critical issues and warning signs that could render the euphoria of jubilations in Harare to nothing. Despite my earnest well wishes.
Almost everyone who has publicly or privately rooted for the exit of Robert Mugabe cannot be innocent for using his age against him. Of special note is that the change in that country sees the new President assuming office at age 75. To complete the tenure of Mugabe and obviously lacing his boot to contest for presidential election next year. The new President, in the appointing of his government officials, certainly has no other choice than to reshuffle most of the appointees of the former leader. At worse, go for the war veterans who have not really had a bite at real political power as part of their retirement benefit. Simply put ninety percent of them will cross the sixty years mark.
What hope does this reality present to the young and awaiting leadership of the country who have equally used age and long year in office to oust Mugabe? So as to have a chance to also participate in the political administration of the country.
G40 is on the run and if any high-ranking official of that movement is not on the run then certainly he or she are now anxiously contemplating the fate awaiting them. Make no mistake, President Mnangagwa is a war veteran who has the reputation of ruthlessly dealing with the opposition, with some 2000 lives to account for. Bearing this history in mind, I ask this critical question: Will he be merciful to leading members of the G40? His fiery first speech at the party headquarters in Harare cannot be ignored in its heated subtle nuance. It tells me that political persecution could plunge the country into a turbulent era if the warning signs are ignored.
Ironically, the army is the apparent king -maker in Zimbabwe. Be it a coup or not . For what the army did had no place in the constitutional democracy of the country. Even though the Supreme court later interpreted it as not illegal, it still leaves a very wide and deep grey area to be exploited in future. Zimbabwe must settle that more clearly and boldly draw the line determining the borderlines of the army in a constitutional democracy.
The ‘Crocodile’ reforms will not take an easy path as going to the IMF and World Bank is to denounce the land redistribution policy of the Mugabe era that gave the country a sense of meaning and ownership. One should not expect an easy battle. Particularly to carry out the much-needed reforms in the prevalent conditions of engagements in massive corruption deals.
I truly wish my Zimbabwean brothers and sisters well in this current state of transition. However, the legitimate questions and concerns raised bear reference. It took an army to enforce a 93-year-old President to step down. A former 75-year-old war veteran is now the leader. Though peace prevailed to achieve what was once considered impossible, there are flags raised that mark warning signs that could prevent the country from achieving all the dreams and expectations that came along passing tanks and armoured vehicles.
A new era with an old system. The age of the ‘Crocodile’ is now upon Zimbabwe. Still, we hold fast to our prayers for a glorious Zimbabwe to arise from the dust and ashes of its yesteryear.