When the despotic ruler; Robert Gabriel Mugabe was removed from power, the whole world celebrated thinking this was the birth of a democratic Zimbabwe. Tears of joy streamed down the faces of many Zimbabweans after hearing the news that Robert Mugabe was under house arrest and the army had seized control.
After the coup, General Constantino Chiwenga and his counterpart Major-General Sibusiso Moyo were seen as the good Samaritans who had been sent by GOD to liberate the people of Zimbabwe out of bondage. When it was announced that Emmerson Mnangagwa was back in the country from South Africa where he had been hiding, Robert Mugabe International Airport was flooded with people from all walks of life.
People were celebrating that the leader of the Zimbabwean economy had come; little did they know that they were celebrating the birth of a dictatorial regime. During his first speech, Emmerson Mnangagwa promised people that this was the beginning of an unfolding democracy in Zimbabwe and also that the will of the people will always succeed. He further went on to say that no Zimbabwean is more important than the other, and he encouraged the people of Zimbabwe to be united and work together to bring the country back to its original state of the Bread basket of Africa. Employment creation was one of the promises that Mnangagwa made to the people of Zimbabwe. His speech was captivating, persuasive and thought-provoking. Even the international community gave him the benefit of doubt – they thought everything he was saying was true.
In all his speeches, Emmerson Mnangagwa mentioned that Zimbabwe is open for business, and he always continued to promise that Zimbabwe is going to become the new jewel of Africa where investors shall rush to open businesses. He said that for that to happen, it required the efforts of all Zimbabweans to work together in a unified harmonious whole. Mnangagwa told the world that he wanted a ‘peaceful, transparent and credible election’. Through his speeches and interviews, some of the Western governments believed in him and even commented in his favour that he was better than his predecessor Robert Mugabe who rigged multiple elections through ballot box manipulation and violence. Even though the world thought that Emmerson Mnangagwa was saying this from the bottom of his heart, I personally knew that he was just a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
As the 30 July 2018 elections approached, what was once hidden was now fast becoming clear for all to see. The people of Zimbabwe went out in huge numbers to vote for the President who was going to bring positive economic changes in the country, Advocate Nelson Chamisa. This was made impossible because of the dishonesty and illegal behaviour of Emmerson Mnangagwa and his administration who captured the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and manipulated the people’s votes. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission delayed to announce the results and then after some days, it declared Emmerson Mnangagwa as the winner. What then shocked the world is that on the 1st of August 2018; when people demonstrated against the delays in the announcing of the election results, there was a military crackdown on protestors in which six people were shot dead in the capital of Harare. Soon after the incident, Emmerson Mnangagwa later established a commission of inquiry into the post-election violence. This commission of inquiry was just a cover up to the world because up to now, none of the soldiers who killed the people was arrested. This on its own showed that Emmerson Mnangagwa is the one who commanded the military to shoot and kill the peaceful demonstrators.
Emmerson Mnangagwa and his high level government officials continued to travel around the world preaching peace and promising that his government is going to deliver governance reforms, respect of human rights, and respect of the rule of law. The world continued to give Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government the chance to reform, but he never practically demonstrated any signs of reform. On the 14th of January 2019, there were widespread protests in Zimbabwe against the 130% fuel increase. Emmerson Mnangagwa announced on national television that the fuel price is going to increase to curb the shortages. This didn’t go well with the majority of poor Zimbabweans who then flocked the streets of Harare to peacefully demonstrate against Mnangagwa’s decision. The army cracked down on the peaceful protestors and used maximum force. This resulted in the deaths of three people (according to government statistics) but non-government sources claim that about 17 people were killed and at least 200 people were arrested. The soldiers and the police were breaking into people’s homes in townships overnight and assaulting suspected demonstrators particularly the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) members and supporters. The harassment of the poor citizens continued in the streets of Harare, Gweru, Bulawayo and other places around the country.
In August 2019, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) planned a peaceful demonstration but it was banned by the police. MDC challenged the police’s decision to ban the demonstration, but the court upheld the decision. This clearly showed that both the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the judicial system are captured by Emmerson Mnangagwa. On the day of the demonstration, we witnessed again a wave of repression on civilians by the police. The heavily armed police force flooded the streets of Harare and they were beating people. Some checkpoints were set up in Harare to stop the peaceful protestors from entering the City Centre. According to the human rights groups, it’s reported that during that week, there was a series of abductions and torture in which about six activists were taken from their homes at night by armed men. The activists were accused of being involved in the demonstrations.
These human rights abuse contradicts with Emmerson Mnangagwa’s speeches where he always preached that Zimbabwe is open for business. He always talked about peace and unity amongst Zimbabweans, but these were just political speeches meant to attract investors into the country. He thought that maybe if the potential investors listen to his speeches, they will jostle for business opportunities in Zimbabwe. Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF in-group didn’t know that foreign investors are cautious when it comes to investment in a foreign land. They do proper assessment and make sure that there is security and protection of their investment rights, and also that the government of Zimbabwe upholds laws and principles that guarantee investment protection. In their assessments; they also make sure that there is improved governance and the rule of law, freedom of expressions and association, and also an aggressive fight of corruption. Emmerson Mnangagwa’s governance strategies failed to yield satisfying results to attract foreign investors and therefore; leading to the continued isolation of Zimbabwe from the international community.
The only option that is required for Zimbabwe to re-engage with foreign investors and attract foreign capital is through implementation of friendly policies that create multilateral relations with both the regional and international communities. There should also be political reforms that are in alignment to the laws of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government should create a democratic environment that reduces political violence, human rights abuse, corruption and vote rigging. Once these reforms are implemented, this can pave way for strengthened relationships with the international community. But the most worrying thing is that, Emmerson Mnangagwa is the gang leader of corruption and human rights abuse. He is the author of all the treacherous acts that are currently happening in Zimbabwe, hence; it’s difficult for reforms to be implemented in Zimbabwe.
Youth Assembly Treasurer, UK & Ireland Province
22 January 2020