Any hope of Mnangagwa breaking the Mugabe dictatorship mould is misplaced!

Any hope of Mnangagwa breaking the Mugabe dictatorship mould is misplaced!
Published: 09 January 2015 (975 Views)
"Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa is a man on a mission, so we are made to believe," wrote The Independent Editor, Vincent Kahiya.

"He has already met business leaders and appears to strike the right chord with investors after promising to relax the indigenisation law which has been the bane of foreign direct investment in Zimbabwe."

How I wish you were right, Vincent! No doubt Mnangagwa himself would like to believe he is a man on a mission and that he is the man to turn the Zimbabwe's economic fortunes rounds. Sadly his confidence is just as misplaced as that of Mugabe before him; the two are tyrants and, as Mugabe has already shown, tyrants do not build the destroy.

Nothing would please Mnangagwa more than to see everything working like clockwork; foreign investors pouring back into the country, businesses starting, the regime delivering on its promise of 2.2 million new jobs, no power cuts, clean running water in every urban home, etc., etc. If the truth be told, and it must, we are not in this hell-hole not because this is what Mugabe wanted to happen.

When he started, Mugabe was cock-sure his scientific socialism would delivery mass prosperity, "Gutsa ruzhinji!", if he said once he said it a thousand times a day in the 1980s. 35 years there is no doubt that his gutsa ruzhinji has become mass destruction of everything the nation inherited at independence and mass poverty.

There is no limit to the grandeur of the imaginary palaces we build for ourselves because we do not have to pay for anything in sweat, cash or time and nothing ever going wrong in design or execution. Egotistic people like Mugabe are dangerous to themselves and a curse to those who should have the great misfortune to call them leaders because their ego blurs the boundary between what is real and imaginary; a sure recipe for disaster.

People like Mugabe work on the premise that they know-it-all and know-what-is-best-for-all; the self-assured arrogance become unbeatable when it is reinforced by its twin brother the insatiable love for power, influence and wealth. In his arrogance, Mugabe has stifled debate at national level and even within his own party Zanu-PF because has all the right answers. To him all calls for democratic debate, for everyone to have a meaningful say in the governance of the country, etc. are a waste of time and petty bourgeois self-indulgency.

Mugabe's response to calls for an open and functional democratic Zimbabwe was to ruthless crash all such notions and creates a de facto one party dictatorship with himself as the overlord.

The Zanu-PF dictatorship has worked very well for Mugabe in that it has successful kept him and party in power for 35 years. The down side of the monolithic system is that it has totally destroyed the nation economically, politically, socially and in every other way. The system is like one of those toy cars, once realised, will continue in the same direction regardless. The nation's economy cannot be run like toy cars, they need constant feedback and correction to ensure they stay on the right track; the lack of democratic debate and competition deprived it of the feedback and correction and so we ploughed on from one blunder to the next.

Of course Mugabe does not have the answers to everything, never did; he is as fallible as every other mortal. Zimbabwe's ruined economy is the cumulative sum of his blunders which the nation did not corrected because there was no mechanism to do so. The greatest failure of the de facto one-party dictatorship was its failure to get rid of Mugabe himself as party leader and national leader even when it was self-evident he was the dead-weight dragging the party and nation into the abyss.

If VP Mnangagwa was to be different from Mugabe, if he was to rebuild where the later has destroyed, then he should have broken the I-know-it-all mould and embrace the need for an open and vibrant democratic system both in the party, Zanu-PF, and in the country at large. Mnangagwa could not have had a more inauspicious start as a democrat.

After Mugabe, Mnangagwa is the next most senior member of the Join Operation Command, the junta, which masterminded and executed the vote rigging in the 2013 national elections. Mnangagwa played a pivotal role in the rigging of Zanu-PF's own electoral process to unconstitutional elbow Joice Mujuru and all her supporters out of power. No democrat would do such things; a tyrant, yes!

The first thing Mnangagwa will do the day he is finally sworn in as president will be to consolidate his own hold on power by recasting the Zanu-PF dictatorship in his own image by appointing individuals loyal to him the ethos that Mnangagwa knows-best! His outreach to business leaders and foreign investors is born out of the necessity to do something to end the economic meltdown and they can make all manner of demands on him provided none of those demands threaten in anyway his hold on power.

The single most important demand business leaders and would-be investor must make, if they dare, is for VP Mnangagwa to end the Zanu-PF's political patronage system that is behind the mismanagement and corruption, the cancers destroying the national economy. Of course he will never ever dismantle the system because, like Mugabe, his continued rule is totally dependent on the system; much more so now when the party has lost all political credibility!    
Wilbert Mukori can be contacted at

- Wilbert Mukori


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