Why I am not too excited about Mugabe’s Exit

Robert Mugabe

Forgive me for being cynical, but when it comes to African politics, a healthy dose of cynicism is required to accurately assess the  issues bugging the continent.  If you have been paying any attention to the news lately, you should be aware that the self proclaimed ‘revolutionary marxist’ Robert Mugabe, was ousted from Office earlier this week.

Whilst Zimbabweans jubilated on the streets of Harare (which I don’t blame them for doing), I felt somewhat uneasy considering the fact that his cronies are still in government and his closest ally Emmerson Mnangagwa, is due to be sworn in on Friday as the next president.

So does this constitute change?

My answer is, that I don’t know.

However on a spectrum of Yes and No, I would lean towards No. This is because I was well aware that the corruption in Zimbabwe, like many other countries did not start and end with one person. In Zimbabwe’s case even Mugabe himself complained that government officials were doing a poor job of monitoring the flow of revenue from Diamond sales, he further went on to blame the Chinese mining companies too, but the point had been made, Mugabe was telling the world that his hands were not the only ones in the Honey Jar.

Further investigation from independent bodies such as ‘IMPACT’ paint a picture of a selfish elite, looting and enriching themselves at the expense of the nation. The 36 page report lists evidence after evidence that can be best described as jaw opening.

The big number here is $2.8billion, this is an estimate of the amount of money stolen by the regime since 2008. At the helm of these accusations lie the former minister of Mining and Mining development, Mr Obert Mpofu who was indirectly accused by the Minister of Finance at the time of overseeing the theft of $300 million in revenue from Diamond sales.

In response to these charges, Mr Mpofu said …

“I am minister of mines not minister of revenue. If revenue has not been collected it is not our fault. ZIMRA collects the revenue. Ask me about Mining issues not revenue issues and I will explain”.

Mr Mpofu is still in government, he currently serves as the Minister of Home affairs in Zimbabwe.

The rest of the report reads like a Casino’s betting book, $20million in expenditure from a man who is supposed to earn $800 a month, $4million in cash promised by government officials for illegal diamonds, millions of dollars obtained from illegal diamond trades spearheaded by the ruling party, Zanu PF. The paper described them as a ‘Gang’ that hunts and feeds together, sharing illegitimate profits.

Mugabe’s exit does nothing to change that structure within Zanu, the structure of thievery if you may. I have optimistic friends who told me interesting theories on the Zimbabwe situation. One of them said that Mugabe’s decision to fire Mnangagwa from the Vice presidency was seen as a step too far by the Zanu PF party. They (Zanu) understood that this decision may not have been Mugabe’s idea but that of his ambitious wife – Grace, otherwise known as ‘Gucci Grace’ in reference to her famous shopping sprees abroad.

Therefore, it became necessary to ensure that she never gets anywhere near the presidency. The story goes on to state that she and her posse (G-40) caused an internal dispute within Zanu, and thus Mnangagwa would be the right man to clean up this mess and turn things around for Zimbabwe.

It almost sounds like a happy ending story doesn’t it?

They even say that the whole thing was spearheaded by China, because according to them, the Chinese wanted to open up the Zimbabwean economy for more trade and Mugabe was becoming difficult to negotiate with. Now I do not for a second doubt the possibility of Chinese influence on the events that led to Mugabe’s exit. After all Constantino Chiwenga, the Zimbabwean Army commander who has close ties with Mnangagwa, visited China a few days before he led the mini invasion on Mugabe’s home.

But my skepticism remains the same, I suspect that my friends probably got their theories from a well oiled PR machine working for the new regime in Zimbabwe.

But in all honesty, this is one of those moments where I hope that I am wrong.

Will Emmerson Mnangagwa bring forth the much needed change in Zimbabwe??  or will he continue to dance to the drums of the rest of the Zanu political elite?

Only time will tell….

But before I end this piece, I would like to remind you that Emmerson Mnangagwa who has been part of the regime for over 30 years was investigated for 39 counts of Fraud a few months ago. I don’t know what happened to the charges, not that they matter anymore.. the man is going to be president within a week from today.

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