Mnangagwa is reported to have decreed that 21 February – the date on which Mugabe was born – be declared a public holiday, resulting in the closure of businesses, schools, and other important institutions.
This decision, I am sure, could be the direct result of three things; to fulfil the military intervention’s ‘operation restore legacy’, to reveal his undying loyalty and admiration of Mugabe and his policies, and as a sign that he intends to continue these policies.
On the first, point, it is beyond me, as to how and why the Mnangagwa regime would want to ‘restore’ Mugabe’s legacy, as the former president made sure that he did a thorough job in ruining his own legacy through his disastrous policies.
There is no need for anyone else to destroy Mugabe’s legacy, as no one ever deliberately intended to smear his reputation, but he did that all by himself.
What legacy would be left for a man who presides over a genocide that wiped out nearly 50,000 innocent men, women, and children on the grounds of tribe?
What more can be said of a man who boasts of possessing degrees in violence, leading to the deaths of more innocent lives of opposition figures, and innocent White farmers – in the name of protecting the country’s sovereignty, and land redistribution?
This is not to mention countless unresolved abductions, illegal arrests, torturing, and the razing of opponents’ homes.
Even in his own political party, many were victimized and expelled just because they desired to have a new leader – a fate Mnangagwa could not have forgotten already, as he suffered the same only three weeks ago!
What will history say about a man whose hogwash bush economic policies drove a once prosperous and proud nation down a cliff – resulting in untold suffering of the vast majority of the nation’s people, reducing them to paupers?
Record breaking unemployment, closure of once world-renowned companies, hyper-inflation and then cash shortages, lack of payment of tens of thousands of workers’ salaries, retrenchment packages and pensions, schools without books, and hospitals without the very basic medication.
What legacy is Mnangagwa and his fellows intending to restore there?
As Father Fidelis Mukonori said in a Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) interview last night, the restoration of Mugabe and ZANU PF legacy was the first item on the list compiled by the military and presented to then President Mugabe after their intervention.
With such a track record of both Mugabe and his party, even the intervention of the military can not do anything to rectify this notoriety.
The only way there was for Mugabe and ZANU PF to restore their legacy, was to first correct their mistakes, apologise, bring all involved to book, and make all the necessary restitution.
Without that, no amount of guns, or naming of days as public holidays, or even naming every city and street after Mugabe will change anything.
History will always have a louder voice.
Even today, two centuries after the United States of America (USA) civil war, there is a huge debate – at times, resulting in violent clashes – on the real legacy of some individuals involved.
Statues and other symbols – that were erected in the hope of an everlasting legacy some 200 years ago – are now being removed, and the true story of these people and events finally being told.
Similarly, even the USA revolution had been debated over a century now, with some questioning the real powers and motives of the people behind it.
The moral of this being that no one can foister a fake legacy on a people, and expect that to last forever.
Returning back home, how long were Africans taught in schools during colonial years that Whites came to civilize a barbaric and savage people, and that any one who sought to fight that system was a heathen (kaffir), and a troublemaker, who should never be listened to?
The likes of Cecil John Rhodes and others were immortalized in street, building and school names, and statues.
Actually, these names still exist in so many places.
However, whether they are changed or not, it does not matter, as people already know the truth about these characters.
Thus, we can still have street names as Rhodes Crescent, or schools called Cecil John Rhodes, and Jameson High, and a building named Rhodes Tower – it all boils down to nought.
Therefore, why would the Mnangagwa regime think that wasting resources and time ‘restoring’ Mugabe and ZANU PF legacy by naming all manner of things after themselves will change anything?
Mugabe will always be Mugabe, and will forever be remembered for all the wrong reasons, and if ZANU PF does not take this opportunity to clean up its act, then it will also forever be attached to Mugabe’s rabid reputation.
Another disturbing decision by the 3 day old Mnangagwa regime – which does not inspire any confidence – is the re-appointment of Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Patrick Chinamasa as acting foreign affairs, and finance ministers respectively.
Why did Mnangagwa see it fit to return the very same people to the portfolios that Mugabe had originally wanted them to be in, before the ZANU PF factional fighting got out of hand?
These are the two people who were in charge of these ministries through the most disturbing Mugabe misgovernance.
Mumbengegwi was at the forefront of Zimbabwe’s deterioration of relations with several nations – and as such, what message is the new president sending to the international community, especially after his inaugural speech in which he pledged to restore relations?
How can he be serious about restoring relations, when he appoints the very same person who was the bogeyman for Mugabe, when he was busy throwing insults at any leader he perceived to be against him – calling them ‘Blair toilets’, ‘cowards’, and ‘bushes’?
If our new president is serious about restoring international relations, he should have chosen a fresh – and more amiable, but firm – face to be the new image of Zimbabwe.
However, true to nature – as we have already been saying – nothing has changed, as the Mugabe regime still continues, albeit, under a different face – the son taking over the father’s business and continuing his ‘legacy’.
Furthermore, Chinamasa is the very same individual who led the freefall of the country’s economy, witnessed by today’s cash crisis, lack of payment of salaries, and other packages to both current and former parastatal employees, amongst a whole host of issues bedevilling the nation.
Mnangagwa, again, giving a huge thumbs-up to his mentor, and reassuring him in no uncertain terms, that nothing has changed.
The adage, ‘action speaks louder than words’ could not have applied more appropriately than here.
In spite of what the new president said at his inauguration – which, unfortunately, some fell for hook, line and sinker – nothing much is going to change between Mugabe and his successor – they are both seeds from the same pod, and cut from the same cloth.
Their histories are intricately the same, they have walked together for over 4 decades, and most importantly, they have sang from the same song-sheet without any qualms all these years.
Mnangagwa has, and will forever, view Mugabe as his all-time hero, and sees nothing wrong with what the old man has done over his 37 years of misrule.
In fact, that is why his first order of business as the new president was to re-affirm his loyalty and admiration of Mugabe through his executive decisions.
The first decisions by a president always provide an indication of where his or her administration is headed.
That is why, soon after his inauguration, US President Donald J. Trump immediately set to work by signing several executive orders – including travel bans – that have since become the hallmark of his administration.
Zimbabweans, who had been adverse to Mugabe’s anti-people policies – and had over the past three weeks re-ignited the hope for a better future under Mnangagwa – should seriously read into these decisions made in the first three days of his presidency.
Nothing has changed, except the man in State House – and that is as far as the change goes.
Any dream of drastic and positive changes will forever remain dreams.
Maybe, the nation misread the whole military intervention and subsequent Mugabe resignation.
This was never a rebellion against Mugabe, in spite of the pressure exerted on him to resign, but against a faction in the party – led by former First Lady Grace – that was rival to Mnangagwa, and had successfully pushed for his expulsion.
Mugabe was just forced out as he was now perceived as easily manipulated, due to his advanced age.
Their push for him to resign was never centred on his failure to govern the nation, or disagreements over his policies over the past 37 years – as Mnangagwa’s decisions have clearly proven.
That is why Mugabe’s source of power during the latter days of his reign – when it was all but clear that the generality of the Zimbabwean populace no longer wanted him – was the military and Mnangagwa himself.
Even after the obvious 2008 electoral loss to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, the military and Mnangagwa were the force that kept him in power through brute force.
Mnangagwa has always watched Mugabe’s back, and he will continue doing so even after his (Mugabe’s) resignation.
Maybe, Grace was right after all, that her husband will rule even from the grave!
Mugabe might have been reluctant to retire, and his advanced age could have led to his manipulation by his wife – leading to the sacking of Mnangagwa, and the subsequent military intervention – but he knows fully well that his successor is a man after his own heart, and will faithfully continue his legacy, warts and all!
° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. He is available should you invite him to speak at any gathering or event. Please call/WhatsApp: +263782283975, or email: [email protected] Please also ‘Like’ the ZimJustice page on Facebook.Post published in: Featured