Emmerson Mnangagwa (252968)
Credit: Wikipedia

Now that the dust has settled in Zimbabwe after the ouster of 93-year-old Robert Gabriel Mugabe by the military and with the induction of the former Vice President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa as the nation’s second president since its independence in 1980, all eyes are on the economy and holding open, fair elections.

In an email message to the AmNews, The Elders, a 10-member committee of former leaders, chaired by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, urged all stakeholders in the southern African nation “to implement immediate socio-economic measures to address urgent issues that affect ordinary Zimbabweans’ welfare and provide relief to their pain and suffering.”

Annan added, “The period between now and the 2018 election are critical both for reconciliation and organized transition in Zimbabwe. All stakeholders should come together and engage in serious debate on a future vision and public policy.”

Graça Machel, co-founder of The Elders and a former freedom fighter in Mozambique, said, “The departure of Robert Mugabe offers a huge and rare chance for the people of Zimbabwe to chart a new course toward a peaceful, prosperous and inclusive future. Zimbabwe must look to the future, but also deliver justice to those who have suffered in the past.”

Some observers say that the new government must deal with record-breaking unemployment, closure of once world-renowned companies, hyper-inflation, a cash shortage, unpaid salaries to tens of thousands of workers, retrenchment packages and pensions, schools without books and hospitals without basic medical instruments.

Economic analysts say rebuilding the economy requires injection of liquidity by foreign powers and some real efforts toward honesty and transparency.

“We want to grow the economy,” Mnangagwa said in his first speech, according to CNN. “We want peace in our country. We want jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Reuters reports that the new president on Nov. 28 announced a three-month amnesty for the return of public funds illegally stashed abroad by individuals and companies.

However, on Nov. 14, the youth leader of the ruling ZANU-PF party, Kudzai Chipanga, said that the former VP and General Constantino Chiwenga, who headed the military house arrest of Mugabe and his 52-year-old wife Grace Mugabe, allegedly are responsible for the disappearance of $15 billion in diamond revenues.

Chipanga stated that Mugabe, during his 92nd birthday celebration while being interviewed by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp., revealed the disappearance of the diamond revenue.

Many observers are charging that nothing has changed with the so-called new government.

“Why did Mnangagwa see fit to return the same acting finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa, the same individual who led the freefall of the country’s economy, witnessed by today’s cash crisis?” asked Tendai Ruben Mbofana, a Zimbabwe-based social justice activist, in an email to the AmNews.

“All the major players against Mugabe do not come to the table with clean hands,” stated a Christian Science Monitor op-ed writer on Dec. 2. “If the history of the main characters in the ouster of Mugabe is anything to go by, things in Zimbabwe are likely to change, but remain the same,”

“The World African Diaspora Union condemns this ‘white sugar coup’ against the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe targeting President Robert Mugabe as a terrible precedent in southern African politics and leadership,” wrote Min. P.D. Menelik Harris of WADU in an email to the AmNews.

Menelik argues that such coups are concocted especially for Africans to expand the bitter militarization of African political life. “Indeed, the coup which is endorsed by key governments of white supremacy [USA, UK, EU] as legitimate is their neocon plan to create and spread chaos through regime change targeting key leaders will be repeated across Africa with greater frequency and intensity,” Menelik said.

“What we need now is for Mnangagwa to form a coalition that would push forward the hopes and aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe,” Professor Stanford G. Mukasa explained to the AmNews during a telephone interview. Mukasa is a Zimbabwean scholar based at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Mukasa said, “There needs to be a pressure group so as to establish an indisputable process toward the return of the rule of law and democracy through internationally supervised open and free elections. And also to allow the various parties access to the state media, freedom of movement and freedom of political activity.”