It’s unclear the future that awaits Zimbabwe, after 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe reportedly refused to stand down Thursday, despite a plea by regional envoys.
Many Zimbabweans have warmed to the military’s intervention in what could have been a bloodbath in the ruling Zanu-PF.
Mr Mugabe’s wife, Grace had instigated the dismissal of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, seen as the natural successor to the old-guard. She had described him as a “snake” that “must be hit on the head” last week, hours before he was sacked.
The army’s intervention Wednesday was after it had warned against the “purging” of the Zanu-PF members “with a liberation background.”
There are deafening calls for Mr Mugabe to resign, views echoed by the main opposition leader in Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai. He has urged an immediate resignation of the president, leading to a “negotiated all-inclusive transitional mechanism.”
But will any change in Zimbabwe do? And will Mugabe’s exit signal a new era of political freedom in Zimbabwe, given Mnangagwa, could become the next leader of the Zanu-PF at the party’s Congress in December?
The military’s favourite for Mugabe’s successor is not popular across the country because of his past. As Security Minister in the early 1980s, Mnangagwa led government forces that ruthlessly crushed a rebellion in the Midlands and Matabeleland province that led to the death of thousands of civilians.
Although he had denied having blood on his hands, some Zimbabweans who lost relatives have found it difficult to forgive him.
“He can’t be trusted at all,” a Zimbabwean reportedly said of the country’s Chair of the Joint Operations Command.
Mrs Mugabe, 52, could also take-over from her husband because of Mnangagwa’s fearsome reputation in the party. There are reports that he is little loved because he is politically cunning.
But the presidential typist turned First Lady is not a worthy successor to Africa’s longest-serving president.
Grace Mugabe’s unbridled appetite for extravagant things earned her the moniker Gucci Grace. She has also been cited in several cases of human rights abuse in the country.
In May anti-riot police harassed, beaten and ordered 200 families off a farm linked to President Mugabe’s family on her orders, Human Rights Watch reported. The violent removal of the villagers from the Manzou Farm was reportedly for her to expand her sprawling business empire.
I am convinced there will not be any significant change if the leadership of Zimbabwe is handed to either Grace or the ‘Crocodile’.
The country needs a transitional team made up of the opposition political parties, ruling party, clergy and other interest groups to hold a free, fair and credible election in the coming months.
The situation in Zimbabwe should send a message to other African leaders who have no succession plan for their countries. Being a president of a country should be a privilege and not one’s right.
Africa will do better when it has leaders with better thinking abilities.
The author, Austin Brakopowers is a Broadcast journalist at Joy99.7 and views expressed here are exclusively his and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Multimedia Group Limited or Myjoyonline.com. You can reach him via Brakomen@outlook.com