As Zimbabwe celebrates the fall of the Grand Old Man of African politics, Robert Mugabe, the spotight falls on his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa. And whether he will bring real change to the cash-strapped country.
We spoke to Dr Hazel Cameron, Lecturer at school of International Relations, St Andrews, Scotland.
“Mnangagwa is someone who has walked hand-in-hand with Mugabe since independence in 1980. he has been responsible for gross violations of human rights. He has been involved in the looting of diamonds both in the Congo and Zimbabwe itself. He’s been involved in election rigging and all sorts of forms of corruption within the government.”
Mnangagwa has also denied playing a pivotal role in the Matabeleland Massacres of the 1980s blaming the army for the killings
“The most important thing to a vast number of people and that would be the Ntabele people of Matabeleland who suffered at the hands of Mnangagwa in Gkurahundi. He was the architect of these atrocities that resulted in the deaths of 20,000 people and the torture, the beatings, the detentions, the mass rapes of hundreds and hundreds of thousands more. They’re seeking for an establishment of truth, they’re seeking accountability and some form of justice.”
When the euphoria of Mugabe’s downfall dies down, there are fears these scenes of jubiliation may be short-lived.
“With the military intervention that we’ve seen it could be that the best case scenario would be that it does go onto protect against other threats to democracy in the country. And it may well pave the way for fresh elections and a transition to a democratically elected goverment. Only time will tell how things are going to unfold in Zimbabwe and it really is too early at the moment to make any forecasts.”
One thing is certain the next few months are critical for Zimbabwe and possibly Africa as a whole.