Perspective: Who is ‘Crocodile’ Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s new president?

Can a crocodile change its modus operandi?

We woke up to the breaking news that Emmerson Mnanagwa has been sworn in as the third president of the in the news Zimbabwe. A country where the army toppled their 93 year old president whom they swore to be loyal to. They placed him under house arrest. Mugabe has been in power for almost four decades (37 Years) since 1980.

Emmerson Managwa was today sworn in as the third president of the new nation formerly named Rhodesia under white minority rule which in 1980 was renamed Zimbabwe with guerilla leader, former school teacher Robert Mugabe sworn in as Prime Minister. In 1987 when their system of government changed, Mugabe was sworn in as their second president of this newly liberated African nation. Zimbabwe’s first president was Canaan Banana.

The ZANU-PF is the political vehicle used to rule Zimbabwe.

Mnanagwa is no angel, if media reports are correct, he was the spy chief of Mugabe who is accused of eliminating thousands who did not share their dreams and aspirations.
Mnanagwa and Mugabe were like a peas in a pod … they ruled with an iron hand.  Mugabe was the president, but he could not have ruled alone. Mnanagwa was the vice-president for years and was Mugabe’s “enforcer”.  He was ruthless and along with the army did many unpleasant things. He was nicknamed the “Crocodile;” for his cunning ways. The change, in my perspective is not a real change. ” I will be president for all irrespective of colour, creed, or custom”. Declared the newly sworn in president of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnanagwa. Laudable ideals indeed. Will these promises be kept or will it be business as usual?

Mnanagwa supported Mugabe’s nationalists policies. Lands, farms and businesses were redistributed to party faithfuls and Henchmen as they pursued their nationalist agenda.

The new president of Zimbabwe was sworn in by Chief Justice Luke Malaba, who himself was sworn in as CJ since March 27, 2017. The Chief Justice (CJ) swears in the president according to section 168 of the Zimbabwean constitution. The CJ retires by law at 70 but has no term limits.

Mnanagwa said he will focus on job creation. Has pledged to “create jobs for the youths and reduce poverty for all”. A legacy from Mugabe era was a very literate populace estimated to be 89 percent. Mugabe was a former school teacher before being president of Zimbabwe.

Land Reform

Turning his attention to the vexed issue of land distribution, Mnanagwa declared “Land reform was inevitable and cannot be reversed” but the mainly white “land owners displaced will be compensated.”

This promise to compensate those whose property was expropriate or nationalized appears to be a move to appease those who were wronged.  It also distances him from the Mugabe era. Interestingly he (Mnanagwa) was party to this not so popular move, depending on who you are.  White land owners so affected were very upset. This would have been likely illegal.

We wish the newly sworn in president all the success. Will he honour his promises, mainly to create more jobs and to compensate those whose property was expropriated by the state after the declaration of Independence in1980 from the white minority rule government of Ian Smith in the former Rhodesia now Zimbabwe?

Can a crocodile change its modus operandi? The verdict as usual is yours.

This is our perspective. What is yours? Let us get your feedback.

Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is senior international correspondent & Photojournalist for Vision Newspaper (Canada) with a keen interest in political issues.

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