THE push for democratic change in Zimbabwe is under threat from the “remnants of dictatorship, their propagandists and enablers, both at home and abroad”, Tendai Biti has written.
In an article published in the Washington Post, Biti wrote, “Our longtime ruler, Robert Mugabe, was forced out by a military coup in November 2017. But do not be fooled. The dictator may be gone, but his machinery of repression is alive and well.”
He added, “Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s former understudy, is now president, having been ushered into power by the leaders of last year’s coup. The world has been introduced to him in a carefully managed publicity campaign, designed to project an image of reform.
Some world leaders seem to believe the charade that a new dawn has somehow arrived in Zimbabwe. It has not.”
The former finance minister said “rather than offering reform, Mnangagwa heralds a return to Zimbabwe’s dark past.”
“Mnangagwa may speak abstractly of national healing when he’s abroad, but it can only begin when those responsible admit to their crimes and commit to a process of real accountability,” wrote the People’s Democratic Party leader.
According to Biti, those who believe the military junta will allow free and fair elections should “look no further than the 2008 electoral defeat of Mugabe” and check how Mugabe refused to leave power with the help of Mnangagwa and the army.
“Mnangagwa did not seize power in an unconstitutional coup and then, miraculously, become a reformer or a democrat overnight. His long record of abuse did not disappear, nor have his brutal tactics of repression. To our friends around the world: Do not be fooled by the propaganda and false promises being promoted by well-funded lobbyists in Western capitals. Mnangagwa remains who he always has been,” Biti’s article further said.