According to Reports coming out of Zimbabwe, former president Robert Mugabe was reportedly offered $10 million dollars plus medical cover, protection of his property and security. According to News24, the $10 million was part of the deal that led to his resignation. Other reports say that he was also given immunity from prosecution, negotiators were able to strike a deal with the army that enables Mugabe not go into exile but enjoy retirement in Zimbabwe. Mugabe has been in charge of the country for the last 37 years, until recently when there was a soft coup. In those years, Mugabe has managed to turn a prospering Zimbabwean economy into one of the worst in the world. On top of that according to the human rights watch, there have been cases of human rights abuses, through the government use of excessive force to clamp down on dissenting voices.
So Now that Mugabe no longer in power what will change, the successor Mnangagwa and the army general have been friends for a long time. The current president has been a ZANU-PF high-ranking member and a friend of Mugabe, to an outsider like me, this is no cause for celebration. So then why are most Zimbabweans celebrating? From what I gather they are celebrating the possibility that for the first time in a long time they can hope for a better life and future. When I have asked some Zimbabweans, how is Mnangagwa any better from Mugabe? They normally say the only person that could be worse than Mugabe is Hitler. History has shown us that there have been worse people in history than Hitler, for example, the numbers in China under Mao Zedong are staggering. Stalin, who many do not consider to be as bad as Hitler oversaw the death of over six million Kulaks. It seems no matter how bad things are, there is always something you can do to make it worse.
In saying that though, there are already encouraging signs for Zimbabwe, for example, Mr. Mnangagwa is already hinting that Zimbabwe will be having elections next year. Whether the elections will be free and fair is another story, my bet is Mnangagwa will win overwhelmingly. This is because Zimbabwe does not have a strong opposition party, the majority of the seats in parliament are ZANU-PF. On top of that Mr. Mnangagawa now has hero status, how long that will last? we will wait and see. The idea of going to the election is good though I think he is just following the constitution. But considering the current condition of the opposition party, it would have been better for ZANU-PF and the opposition to form a joint Government. Otherwise, ZANU-PF will win without much competition.
Also, he is pledging compensation to the white farmers that were driven out by Mugabe, I don’t know where the money will come from to compensate the 5000 White farmers. The announcement is likely an appeasement to the international community to lift the economic sanctions currently imposed on Zimbabwe according to some critics. Furthermore, in his inaugural address, president Emerson Mnangagwa said he wants to be the president for everyone, it does not matter the race, gender, tribe or religion.
Lastly, from what I am seeing so far, President Mnangagwa wants to be unifying figure for Zimbabwe. After being in Mugabe’s shadow for a long time, he has the opportunity to leave a lasting positive legacy on Zimbabwe. So far he is saying all the right things, whether his good intentions will translate to actual good policy and governance is yet to be seen.