Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been at Robert Mugabe’s side for 50 years, and he was considered to be Mugabe’s fixer, Derek Matyszak, an analyst with the South Africa-based Institute for Security Studies (ISS), told Deutsche Welle (DW) in an interview last week.
Ordinary Zimbabweans and the international community believe that Mugabe, alongside Mnangagwa and many dignitaries of the ruling ZANU-PF, are responsible for the country’s current economic woes and the people’s misery, poverty and hunger.
While more than four million Zimbabweans have fled the country in quest of a better life, another four million now depend on foreign food aid to survive.
“Mnangagwa is regarded as extremely ruthless, shrewd and calculated and a lot of people hold him in fear and awe,” Matyszak said. “He is certainly not a very democratic individual. People should have no illusions.”
Many people in this troubled Southern African nation have echoed the analyst’s sentiments.
“It’s true. It will be business as usual as long as the old, thieving and corrupt ZANU-PF political elite continues to lead this country,” university student Alfred Moyo told Sifa News.
“The Crocodile have shed innocent people’s blood and he is ready to do it again to stay in power. He is worse than Mugabe,” a man identified only as Tapiwe told Sifa News.
Mnangagwa gained notoriety for allegedly directing the infamous operation ‘Gukurahundi” in the Matabeleland the 1980s, in which North Korean-trained elite soldiers fatally targeted perceived government dissidents from the country’s Ndebele ethnic group.
Reports said an estimated 20 000 people were killed.
Mugabe, Mnangagwa strategic partnership
Matyszak described the on-and-off Mugabe-Mnangagwa relationship as a strategic partnership.
“The relationship between Mugabe and Mnangagwa seemed as one of mutual convenience rather than friendship,” Matyszak told DW.
“You would have thought that some kind of bond had formed between them, but the manner in which Mugabe was prepared to fire Mnangagwa suggests that Mugabe has no sense of loyalty towards Mnangagwa whatsoever,” Matyszak added.
Once a thief, always a thief
Many observers have been angered by reports suggesting that Mugabe has reportedly negotiated a US$10 million payout deal and immunity from prosecution.
“Mugabe is a thief, and will remain a thief until his last breath. They have no heart and don’t care about our suffering. And what good can you expect from another thief and murderer like Emmerson? Nothing. No democracy, no justice and no financial transparency. Our struggle must continue until this old guard is removed from power,” Tendai, an unemployed father of four, said.
Pic: Zimbabwe acting president Emmerson Mnangagwa. Credit: DW