Zimbabwe is experiencing a rough transition. One that may alter its fortunes forever. Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa known by his political nickname the “Crocodile” is trapped in a hotel room, following him having lost the international recognition of the Southern African Developmental Community (SADC) over vote rigging.1 Following his decision to press ahead with his inauguration on the fifth of September, 2023, Mnangagwa lost all presidential recognition and now he receives instructions from journalists on what to utter in his televised addresses, and even then, what he says is totally scattered in both sense and content.3 This political crisis and upheaval can be traced back to the overthrow of Mnangagwa’s predecessor long time dictator President Robert Mugabe in 2017, and resulted in a long-standing power struggle within the country’s political landscape.4 (Zimeye)
The “crocodile” who rode a wave of support on being a symbol for hope and change for the nation, embarked or rather continued on a path of authoritarianism and corruption that led to widespread discontent.5 Faced with growing public outrage, the international community swiftly disavowed his presidency, refusing to recognize him as Zimbabwe’s legitimate leader.6 With no clear President of the Republic, the nation plunged into disarray.7 The absence of a functioning government has resulted in a severe breakdown of law and order.8 The basic services like healthcare, education, and infrastructure maintenance have grounded to a halt, leaving Zimbabwe’s citizens in a dire state of uncertainty.9 (Zimeye)
One of Mnangagwa’s key mistakes was to not even attempt to consult with the Zimbabwean masses about amending or changing the country’s constitution. He did not even implement the idea of term limits for the presidency. This would have at least served to prevent a Mugabe type situation where Mnangawa could run for as many terms as he was alive. Eventually with the exposure of large-scale involvement in illegal gold smuggling by Mnangagwa, his wife and the highest levels of government by Aljazeera trust in state institutions was eroded.10 This is all a matter of reaping what has been sown. Mnangagwa is earning back what he has created since his early days in Mugabe’s government as Minister of defence. Systematic repression and torture can only go so far.
Meanwhile Mnangagwa’s Vice President, Kembo Mohadi is in legal trouble over having abused his office to solicit sexual favours from women.11 He resigned in 2021 but was recently reinstated to his position. It was alleged from recorded calls from Mohadi of soliciting sex from married women who are his subordinates were leaked to the local media.12 Mohadi for his part has not been charged with any sexual offence and has refuted the audio saying he was a victim of a political plot and voice cloning.13 His claims have never been investigated and the matter seems to have been swept under the rug.14 “Mr Mnangagwa is obviously not bothered by Mohadi’s sex scandals or anyone for that matter,” says Gladys Hlatywayo, a CCC senior official.15 (AllAfrica.Com on MSM)
“In fact, we have always known that the sex scandals were never the reason why he was forced to resign and were a mere cover-up to a political motive.16 The message that Mr Mnangagwa is sending by reappointing Mohadi is that he does not care at all about women’s rights issues,” she tells IPS.17 (AllAfrica.Com on MSM)
Mnangagwa is now stuck between a rock and a hard place. With mass protests on the streets and possible calls for him to step aside Mnangagwa has to talk to the opposition. He should do also do something Mugabe never did: Listen to them (the Opposition). They may call for the permanent removal of Mohadi as Vice President and his replacement for some one more suitable. Mnangagwa being the crafty crocodile his nicname suggested had plans to hasten the appointment of Commander ZDF General Philip Valerio Sibanda to the post Mohadi occupies.18 This is scandalous as Sibanda was already appointed an executive official of the ruling Zanu-PF’s Politburo, without resigning his military position. This is unconstitutional under Zimbabwe’s laws.19 (My Zimbabwe New)
Now Mnangagwa has to reconsider his options. These include negotiations with the Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and its Leader Nelson Chamisa. These should be about Transition to a new system and constitution in which the president may only stand for two terms. The least Mnangagwa can take from this is legal immunity from prosecution in exchange for the truth concerning his, his government and his party’s crimes.
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