Mnangagwa's poisoned chalice

Mnangagwa's poisoned chalice
Published: 24 November 2017 (397 Views)
ZIMBABWE's incoming interim president designate Emmerson Mnangagwa might have survived the poison that nearly took his life in August this year, but will he survive the poisonous legacy that his predecessor Robert Mugabe has left him?

On August 12, at a rally in Gwanda in Zimbabwe's Matabeleland South Province, Mnangagwa fell seriously ill vomiting blood in what was alleged to be an attempt on his life. He had to be airlifted from the rally and then flown to South Africa for treatment, amid rumours that he was poisoned by ice cream manufactured at Gushungo Diary, a company owned by Mugabe's wife, Grace.

While at first the then president Mugabe tried to downplay the incident, saying Mnangagwa had not been poisoned but was suffering from some other illness, rumours that he had been poisoned did not die, drawing anger from Grace.

At the next rally in Bindura, Grace lambasted Mnangagwa, without mentioning him by name, for telling people about his illness and poisoning as if he were the only one who ever gets sick. She said the president had also been sick, but did not go around telling people about it.

This event and the ones that followed marked Mnangagwa's fall from Grace. Eventually he was kicked out of both the Zanu-PF Party and government.

While Mnangwagwa might have survived the poisonous “ice cream” or whatever it was that nearly took his life, he is once again faced with a poisoned chalice.

Poisoned economic legacy

The economy he is inheriting from Mugabe has the potential to kill his political career. The political environment he is inheriting is one that is not acceptable to the  opposition parties, who have been calling for election reforms.

Will he be able to make concessions without appearing weak, let alone risk losing the next elections in 2018? One of the reasons why Mugabe managed to hold on to power for so long is that he never gave his opponents the reforms they kept asking for.

Will Mnangagwa stick to Mugabe's tactics without losing the goodwill the world has given him?

Still on reforms, Mnangagwa is inheriting an economy with growing calls for civil service sector reforms. International monetary institutions are on record as saying they are ready to loosen their pursesm if the country embarks and implements civil service sector reforms.

Currently, civil service sector wages gobble up over 92% of the country's national budget. Implementing the reforms has however proved difficult over the years, as government workers are considered Zanu-PF election machinery and support base.

Despite the Zimbabwean economy's struggles to the extent of running a huge budget deficit, it had to guarantee paying civil servants annual bonuses, just to keep them happy. How will Mnangagwa implement reforms without risking losing a key party ally?

The land reform hot potato

Then there is the issue of land. In 2001 Zimbabwe embarked on a chaotic land reform programme that saw most whites losing their farms without compensation. Mugabe simply refused to share land with whites and was strongly against blacks who invited whites to partner them in farming.

The land reform programme is one of the reasons why Zimbabwe was put under sanctions by Western countries. So as Mnangagwa takes over, British eyes, led by Theresa May and Boris Johnson, both of whom have said they are ready to support a new Zimbabwe, will be upon Mnangagwa to see if he will allow their kith and kin back on the land.

But if he does, how will the locals react? There are also blacks, most of them Zanu-PF members - including Mugabe - who have more than one farm. Will he take some from them without risking losing support?

Crecey Kuyedzwa is a Fin24 correspondent. Views expressed are his own.

- fin24

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

ZimFirst leader promises a new Zimbabwe

by Stephen Jakes | 20 February 2018 | 210 Views

Tsvangirai FOREVER

by Itai Mushekwe | 20 February 2018 | 505 Views

Tsvangirai's son endorses Chamisa

by Stephen Jakes | 20 February 2018 | 339 Views

Dynamos, Caps to face Zambian sides

by Staff Reporter | 20 February 2018 | 109 Views

Build Zimbabwe promises to develop the nation to competitive status

by Stephen Jakes | 20 February 2018 | 70 Views

Pizza Hut launches in Zimbabwe

by Staff Reporter | 20 February 2018 | 135 Views

The New Zanu-PF has shown political maturity and tolerance

by Dr Masimba Mavaza | 20 February 2018 | 112 Views

'Late Tsvangirai forgave Mugabe'

by Staff Reporter | 20 February 2018 | 240 Views

Zimra implements new strategies

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 89 Views

Obert Mpofu Parly probe over missing $15bn postponed

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 99 Views

Govt to proclaim bonus pay dates

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 100 Views

Khupe, Mudzuri, Elizabeth shut out at Tsvangirai funeral

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 232 Views

Peter Zwide Kalanga unveiled as Ndebele King

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 139 Views

Tsvangira's Freedom Square last bow

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 67 Views

'Companies tired of bankrolling Zanu-PF'

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 88 Views

More drama at Tsvangirai send-off

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 282 Views

Domestic dispute ends in tragedy

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 83 Views

Chivayo, business partner clash

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 68 Views

Kombis banned from CBD

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 105 Views

Man kills wife's lover

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 86 Views

Mnangagwa to repossess Chipanga's Farm

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 140 Views

Mzembi freedom bid thrown out

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 51 Views

Pupil bites 14 classmates

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 46 Views

Bosso turn tables on Chicken Inn

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 36 Views

Zifa lift Peter Dube suspension

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 54 Views

Matabeleland communities seek apology over Gukurahundi atrocities

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 32 Views

Govt starts offering STEM scholarships for teachers

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 35 Views

Mnangagwa's compassionate politics good for country

by Nick Mangwana | 20 February 2018 | 97 Views

Banning second hand car imports not fully thought out

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 100 Views

Gogo Tsvangirai trending

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 137 Views

Council clears Egodini for mall project to resume

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 27 Views

Mobile network operators directed to tackle money transfer hiccups

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 55 Views

Fierce game of thrones hits Zimbabwe opposition

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 31 Views

Mugabe birthday low key event

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 191 Views

Bulawayo flash floods leave trail of destruction

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 38 Views

Govt moves to promote local motor industry

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 37 Views

Chiwenga commands political parties to observe peace

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 42 Views