Ex-Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was an “easy sacrifice” to make, said Pan-African firm UHAI Deeper Life executive director Brian Kagoro at a dialogue titled ‘Zimbabwe: The Morning After’, held at the University of Johannesburg on Friday.
The dialogue analysed the developments in Zimbabwe in relation to the upcoming 2018 national elections and the role the Southern African region, especially South Africa, should play.
Mugabe stepped down as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years after the army seized power and the ruling party Zanu-PF turned against him.
Kagoro pointed out that the removal of Mugabe had not been an overnight phenomenon, with the ‘Mugabe Must Go’ slogan some time in the making.
“The militarisation of leadership did not happen last week. The coup started [during] 2008, when the election results were only released after 40 days. Mugabe was an easy sacrifice to make. What is happening in Zimbabwe is [a] renewal of [the ruling party] Zanu-PF,” he said.
Kagoro added that it would be vital for the upcoming elections to be supervised by the United Nations, without excluding the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union.
He stressed that the SADC needed to set different standards and assess the elections in Zimbabwe, as was done in other countries, without changing the rules.
He went on to call for civil society in Zimbabwe to ensure that they were active and urged them to partner with political parties to ensure accountability.
Kagoro said the Zimbabwean economy would improve, but only for a few.
He thus went on to call for industrialisation and serious interventions in mining policy and added that key players could drive local economic developments.
“Fibre access to the youth is important. [Zimbabwe] will be able to attract more tourists when the county issues visa-free access because it will open more doors,” he said.
POLITICS IN ZIMBABWE
Zimbabwean political party the Movement for Democratic Change –Tsvangirai (MDC-T) secretary general Douglas Mwonzora said his party hoped to take power through peaceful means.
He said his party had been invited to assist during the negotiations that saw Mugabe ultimately step down as President.
“MDC-T took part in that peaceful demonstration in numbers. It was clear that Mugabe was a dictator and that we could not allow him to run our country any further. Some call it a coup but we say whatever it was, happened,” said Mwonzora.
Meanwhile, Mwonzora said Mugabe was seen as benefiting from power while he was out of power and accused the newly elected leader Emmerson Mnangagwa of acting like Mugabe. He was also critical of the fact that Mugabe would receive about $10-million a month as part of his exit deal.
“Mnangagwa’s speech was a great speech like the one that was made by Mugabe in the 80s which led to genocide in Matabeleland,” he averred.
Mwonzora went on to disagree with Mnangagwa’s suggestion that February 21 be declared a holiday in Zimbabwe.
He said MDC-T was against the military taking part in politics, as it was stipulated in Section 208 of the Zimbabwean Constitution that the military should be non-partisan and should not interfere with partisan politics.
Mwonzora went on to plead with Zimbabweans living in other countries to return home and partake in “the struggle”. He promised MDC-T supporters that his party was working on rectifying the mistakes which led to them losing the 2008 elections.