Is Mnangagwa Zimbabwe's Kagame?

Is Mnangagwa Zimbabwe's Kagame?
Published: 05 December 2017 (314 Views)
PRESIDENT Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa's inauguration speech was full of promises on the economy, good governance, international relations and a promise to smoothen relations with multi-lateral financial institutions such as the Bretton Woods institutions, in the process winning him the hearts of many.

The event was regal, full of pomp and fanfare, just like the coronation of a king after coming victorious from war.

Mnangagwa on November 24 assumed the reins of power after a tumultuous three weeks that saw him fall to his lowest and bounce back politically, albeit with the support of the military.

After two decades of Zimbabwe in the wilderness, cut off from the international community, it was about time to mend the fences and Mnangagwa did not disappoint.

He spoke in the language the West wants to hear – foreign direct investment, improving ease of doing business, parastatal reforms, crackdown against corruption, a revamp of the civil service work ethic and compensation for dispossessed white commercial farmers.

In short, Mnagagwa nailed his flag to the mast as a reformist and neoliberal. This is not new in international politics and it has been witnessed in China and more recently Rwanda.

Mnangagwa has a reputation like that of Rwandan President Paul Kagame of being a strong-man and implementer.

Both men assumed office on the basis of their strong support or backing from the military. In Kagame's case, the Rwandese army general won his stripes from the battlefield in a bloody civil war that killed over 800 000 people in the Great Lakes' nation.

Kagame's Rwanda has become a model African country in successfully recording annual economic growth and receiving foreign direct investment.

Mnangagwa on the other hand gained power by forcing his mentor Robert Mugabe from office in a bloodless coup that lasted a week.

In his first speech to Zanu PF supporters last Wednesday at the party headquarters Mnangagwa confirmed as much when he said: “I was in constant contact with the service chiefs throughout. I wish to also thank the manner in which our defence forces and general Chiwenga have managed the process very peaceful.”

Mnangagwa like Kagame all rely on delivering his programmes through command and having very good relations with private capital.

The new president spoke of his command economics that started with command agriculture production. These programmes build on the relationships Mnangagwa has with the military.

In other words, Zimbabwe will see more of the military administration in the running of State affairs. The military are by far the largest player in the diamond industry where they enjoy 50% shareholding in most of the concessions in Marange diamond fields.

Mnangagwa as Mugabe's deputy had started working on the ease of doing business project, a politically correct term for neo-liberalism. Neo-liberalism is a form of capitalism where solutions to most of the economic programmes are found through privatisation.

In the euphoria of having a new leader after Mugabe's 37-year old rule, many people missed the aspect that Mnangagwa did not speak anything to the realignment of laws to the new constitution, liberalisation of the airwaves or repealing of the obnoxious Public Order and Security Act and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

More worrying, however, is the fact Mnangagwa deliberately skirted addressing the issues of how he came into office.

Not once in his speech did he speak to issues pertaining to ministers and several security agents who were detained by the military.

It is now common cause that former Finance minister Ignatius Chombo was tortured while in detention for a whole week and so was Central Intelligence Organisation director in charge of security Albert Ngulube who was also badly assaulted.

The exact number of those detained or tortured is not clear but many conservative estimates put it closer to a hundred people.

Other senior politicians who had their properties ransacked include G40 kingpins Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch last week urged the government to account for all persons who were illegally detained.

Abductions of civillians are not new to Zimbabwean politics. More than 200 MDC-T supporters were abducted and killed during the bloody 2008 presidential election run-off.

It is not far-fetched to say Mnangagwa like the Chinese and Kagame in Rwanda will usher in a new dispensation where the State will play an increasing role in the economy.

Privatisation will be the order of the day under State capitalism and the poor will have little access to services in a thriving economy.

On the political front, Mnangagwa by declaring that “2018 harmonised general elections will be held on schedule” dampened any hopes that there would be any electoral reforms before the polls expected before August.

Like Kagame, Mnangagwa's excesses may be forgotten or forgiven if his economic reforms work and investors are happy.

Kagame this year in August ran a one man race after he arrested his female challenger, Diane Shima Rwigara, a 35-year-old accountant, who is still in custody.

With Mnangagwa's reputation from Gukurahundi and the 2008 presidential runoff violence, Zimbabweans should be wary, have cautious optimism and demand for observation of human rights enshrined in the constitution.

For now Mugabe is gone but the hard work begins. Opposition and civil society has to keep on the alert, push for reforms, hold the government accountable for its actions and above all fight for the poor and vulnerable who usually bear the brunt of neoliberal economics.

- the standard

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

The newfound freedom to speak our mind

by Mike, Harare | 25 April 2018 | 6 Views

3 game ultimatum for Dembare's Lloyd Mutasa

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 49 Views

Dembare legends raise the red flag

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 40 Views

Pupil steals $1 000 from teacher

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 50 Views

Police undergo customer relations training

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 37 Views

'Chart path towards Zimdollar return'

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 49 Views

Ngezi Platinum to defend home record

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 31 Views

Zimbabwe seeks place in global village

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 31 Views

Govt promise to urgently resolve nurses' grievances

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 34 Views

Econet rewards brand ambassadors in Matebeleland

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 32 Views

Chivayo fails to complete pre-commencement works

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 31 Views

Middle class economy possible, says CZI

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 19 Views

Bribe attempts at Nust DNA centre

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 38 Views

Gangster 'killer' surrenders self to police

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 38 Views

Tendai Ndoro loses, goes to Safa arbitration

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 35 Views

3 men claim paternity for 1 child

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 34 Views

Lecturer tries to bed student in office

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 38 Views

Man refuses to maintain 'drunkard' wife

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 26 Views

3-yr- old drowns in well while mum entertains lover

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 28 Views

Mnangagwa enrols for PhD

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 25 Views

2 presidential candidates for MDC-T?

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 45 Views

Chamisa's legitimacy woes mount

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 16 Views

Zanu-PF campaign hit by 'fictitious registers'

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 22 Views

Khama Billiat contract matter closed, says Mosimane

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 13 Views

Village gossip sparks family violence

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 16 Views

Ritual killing: Victim's body unclaimed for 11 months

by Staff rpeorter | 25 April 2018 | 14 Views

4 die in road accidents

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 17 Views

Zanu-PF embraces devolution

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 14 Views

'Chamisa taking rural folk for a ride'

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 14 Views

'Mujuru party ready to join hands with MDC-T'

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 16 Views

Military bosses must undertake to respect free, fair polls

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 15 Views

Mnangagwa to meet war veterans

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 14 Views

Mukupe, Gumbo renew Harare East fight

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 15 Views

When firing backfires

by Paul Kaseke | 25 April 2018 | 39 Views

New contractor gets Chirundu-Beitbridge highway tender

by Staff reprteer | 25 April 2018 | 19 Views

Nurses, Chiwenga impasse hearing date set

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 15 Views

Chamisa, Khupe fight takes a new twist

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 15 Views

Zimbabwean judge in nasty land row in Namibia

by Staff reporter | 25 April 2018 | 15 Views