Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye: The midway mark into Mnangagwa’s stolen term of lies — A citizen’s audit

Last Saturday last week marked the midway mark into Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 5-year mandate and this week, I make a citizen’s audit of what has been a stolen term of unfulfilled premises, lies and fibs.

Luke Tamborinyoka

Mr Mnangagwa has been lying at every level and this week, I begin with the village lies he told my kinsmen and kinswomen when he addressed a campaign rally in my rural home area of Domboshava sometime in April 2018.

As part of his cocktail of promises to my fellow villagers in this hallowed land of my birth, the man promised to tar the 20-kilometre stretch of road that stretches from Sasa turn off, through my home area in Shumba ward three up to the Chabwino shops along Shamva Road in ward 7 of Goromonzi West constituency.

Mnangagwa even told the rally that the tarred road will be called Emmerson Mnangagwa road. Midway into his term, the road is in a sorry state. The incessant rains have caused impassable gullies and flowing rivulets across the parlous road.

Vehicles can barely pass through, particularly at the steep ascent near Marimo village. Midway into his term, there are no prospects of Mnangagwa fulfilling his promise. The villagers, through a community initiative, are now planning to repair this road on their own after realising that the so-called President has led them up the garden path.

Yes, the villagers are now planning to subsidise the incompetence of a whole President who is given to telling village lies.

Mnangagwa is lucky that old men who lie like him are not knew in the village. His lying type is known in the village. The type that sits by the fireside in a winter night—and noting that there is no one of their age around —start to misrepresent those scars left on them by measles and small pox as ” gun shot wounds left when I engaged in a mortal combat with a Rhodesian soldier during the liberation struggle while armed with nothing but my bare hands !”

To my kinsmen, Mnangagwa is a chronic liar and soon, the poor villagers will take it upon themselves to repair a State road because a whole President is stingy with the truth… anosona bhodhoro as they would derisively say in Shona.

He started with such village lies in his campaign rallies throughout the country before he elevated his own lies to the grand national scale .

This week, as we mark the midway mark into his stolen mandate, I hereby chronicle the 15 unfulfilled promises, nay the 15 lies, that Mnangagwa told the world, in his own words , at his inauguration at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday, 26 August 2018.

Lie number 1 : It was a perfect election

In his inauguration speech, Mnangagwa said the 2018 election had been held not only in accordance with the country’s laws, but had been ” guided and unformed by the SADC principles and guidelines governing elections as well as the AU declaration on principles governing democratic elections in Africa .”

Nothing could be further from the truth. The election was not held in line with international best practice. The other contesting parties, except Zanu PF, had no knowledge regarding the number of ballots or where they had been printed. In elections other countries in the region such as Zambia and Namibia have held , such information around ballots is not a closely guarded secret.

In our case, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission even changed its own figures a record three times, and this only after the MDC Alliance had filed an electoral petition.

Moreover, the public media did not cover all the parties and candidates equally and impartially in the 2018 election, in line with the provisions of sections 61 as read together with section 155 (2) (d) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. A High Court judge, Justice Joseph Mafusire was later to issue a judgement that held that the public media was biased in its coverage of the 2018 plebiscite.

So much for the so-called “perfect election” in which Mr Mnangagwa lied at his inauguration that this had been a free and fair poll in which ” competing ideas were discussed and debated , freely and openly .”

Lie number 2 : We are legitimate

Mnangagwa claimed in his inauguration speech to have been “duly mandated to form the next government.”

His claim to legitimacy was solely premised on the verdict of the Constitutional Court, which ruled on the 24th of August 2018 that he had won the election.

In a country with a captured Judiciary and in which the judges themselves have written a public letter citing gross political interference in their work, the claim that he won the election solely on the basis of the court verdict becomes preposterous.

In any case, some of us have always argued that legality and legitimacy are not mutually inclusive, just as apartheid in South Africa was perfectly legal even though it was not legitimate and was morally reprehensible.

Similarly, the court verdict may have made Mr Mnangagwa’s victory legal but that does not make him legitimate as legitimacy and legality are sometimes mutually exclusive.

Moreover, there is the notion of performance legitimacy. Given the dismal failure of ED’s government in addressing pressing national questions, Mnangagwa is illegitimate in that regard as well.

Lie number 3 : We have birthed a new Zimbabwe

In his inauguration speech, Mr Mnangagwa confidently said he had ” birthed a new Zimbabwe .”

Yet his government has continued with the culture of repression and impunity that characterised the era of deposed President Robert Mugabe. The country’s human rights record has palpably gotten worse under his stewardship with lawyers, judges, journalists, MPs, councillors, human rights defenders and civic and political activists being wantonly arrested on trumped-up charges.

In short, the human rights situation in the country under Mr Mnangagwa has gotten worse. He has not birthed a new, democratic dispensation as he claimed at his inauguration.

The situation in the country is far much worse under Mr. Mnangagwa. In fact, Mnangagwa has turned out to be a Robert Mugabe on steroids!

Lie number 4 : We have opened a new era

In his inauguration speech, Mr Mnangagwa said he had ” opened a new path full of freedoms , democracy , transparency , love and harmony .”

The opposite is in fact true. The Mnangagwa regime has opened a new path and infused emasculation for freedoms, autocracy for democracy, murkiness for transparency, hate for love and acrimony for harmony.

Contrary to his promise of a new era, the Mnangagwa regime has actuated a new error in the entire body politic!

Lie number 5 : We elected leaders of our choice

” We freely exercised our democratic rights to elect leaders of our choice and this we did , said Mr Mnangagwa in his inauguration speech.

Nelson Chamisa was a leader of choice in the election that Mr Mnangagwa claimed people were free to make their choices.

Even by ZEC’s disputed figures, both Chamisa as President of the MDC Alliance and Mnangagwa as Zanu PF leader each surpassed the two million mark in terms of votes garnered in the Presidential poll.

Today, the people’s unfettered choice has been taken away from Nelson Chamisa, which choice the people had themselves made at the polling stations. Chamisa’s votes, his party, his party headquarters and the MP’s and councillors belonging to the MDC Alliance have all been taken away and donated to Thokozani Khupe, whose national votes garnered throughout were a measly 45 000.

Mnangagwa has tampered with the very freedom of choice that he was pontificating about at his inauguration by giving a whole party and its elected leaders to a pliable surrogate.

Lie number 6 : We will bring finality to the brutal murders of August 1 2018

At his inauguration two and half years ago, Mr Mnangagwa said he would bring ” closure and finality ” to the State orchestrated murders of 1 August 2018.

Two and half years later, there is still no closure. Mnangagwa has ignored the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry he set up himself that recommended that action be taken on the perpetrators and that the victims’ families be compensated.

Mr Mnangagwa has neither taken any action on the perpetrators of the heinous murders nor compensated the families of the victims, even though he has previously lied to diplomats that he had compensated the families.

I know for instance that Suspicious Kumire, the widow of the slain Ishmael Kumire who hailed from Matope village in my rural hood of Domboshava has not been compensated and she is struggling to send her two children to Santa Heights private school in the same Domboshava area.

In short, Mnangagwa has lied about bringing closure to the August 1 2018 murders.

Lie number 7 : There shall be separation of powers

Mr Mnangagwa claimed at his inauguration that his government will be ” committed to Constitutionalism , entrenching the rule of law , the principle of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary .”

Mnangagwa has instead weaponised the law to fight his political opponents through what has now been branded lawfare. On Constitutionalism, Mr Mnangagwa instead wants to amend the Constitution instead of implementing it as what a true Constitutionalist would do.

He claimed he believed in the separation of powers but the country’s judges have written a letter, now in the public domain, complaining about gross interference in their work. The courts have ruled that prosecutors seconded to the National Prosecution Authority be withdrawn by 20 February 2021 as their deployment to serve on the civilian courts was patently unconstitutional.

For a regime that banks on the security sector, it remains to be seen whether this will be done in the next fortnight and whether there are sufficient mechanisms to ensure that this directive is complied with. Parliament’s oversight role has been seriously curtailed as Mnangagwa’s key ally and financier, Kuda Tagwirei , has brazenly refused to come before a Parliamentary committee to answer questions regarding the murky Command Agriculture programme in which US$3 billion disappeared without trace.

Therefore, Mr Mnangagwa was lying when he said he believed in the rule of law, separation of powers and had unstinting faith in defending a Constitution he now wants to amend instead of implementing.

Lie number 8 : We shall implement robust reform agenda

At his inauguration, Mnangagwa said he would usher in a comprehensive reform agenda but to date, the country, the region and the world await political, economic, security sector and media reforms that would improve people’s lives and break the cycle of disputed elections in Zimbabwe.

All we have heard in the past two and a half years is the rhetoric of reform. We have yet to see the substance.

Lie number 9 : Zimbabwe is open for business
This has largely remained a slogan. There has been no massive investment in the country because of the policy inconsistency by the Mnangagwa regime.

The gross human rights abuses and has seriously dented the mantra of Zimbabwe is open for business. A country cannot be open for business when it is not open for human life and human rights!

Lie number 10 : We shall engage and re-engage

At his inauguration, Mnangagwa said he was ” opening a new chapter in our relations with the world , underpinned by the value of mutual respect .”

The gross human rights abuses and the State-sanctioned murders have dented the purported efforts to engage and re-engage. In fact, the Mnangagwa regime, through its acts of omission and commission, has done all it can to disengage from the rest of the civilised world.

The value of mutual respect, even in the region, has been seriously undermined by Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF. For example the Zanu PF director of Information, Tafadzwa Mugwadi, has publicly attacked the ANC, South Africa and the country’s leader President Cyril Ramaphosa.

So much for Mr Mnangagwa’s claim that his government will engage and re-engage. It has not helped matters that President Ramaphosa who was publicly attacked by Mr Mnangagwa’s party is the AU chair who recently sent a delegation to the country to explore ways of dealing with the crisis in Zimbabwe.

Lie number 11 : We shall improve social services

At his inauguration, Mr Mnangagwa said: ” There is need for the modernisation and revamping of our social services sector to improve efficiency and the quality of delivery .”

In spite of this high-sounding promise, basic social services, particularly health and education, have virtually collapsed. Both teachers and health workers have very legitimate grievances which have not been addressed.

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, these frontline workers have been neglected, with neither any form of government support nor the provision of the requisite PPE.

” My government will move speedily to refurbish and reconstruct health , education , water and sanitation infrastructure . This is a promise we will deliver ,” Mnangagwa said in his inauguration speech.

Sadly, and most cruelly, Mnangagwa has dismally failed to meet his own promise in this regard.

Lie number 12 : We shall create jobs

At his inauguration, Mnangagwa said: ” The creation of jobs , jobs and more jobs will be at the core of all our policies .”

Unfortunately, no single job has been created by this government, save for the vast “jobs” and opportunities that Mr Mnangagwa has created for his kinsmen, acolytes and cronies across the labyrinth of the country’s economic sectors.

Lie number 13 : I shall be fair and impartial

” As your President , I pledge to act fairly and impartially ,” Mr Mnangagwa told a bemused audience at his inauguration on 26 August 2018.

Instead, partiality, unfairness and selective application of the law have been the hallmark of Mr Mnangagwa’s tenure thus far.

For example, while corrupt goons such as Obadiah Moyo never spent a night in prison, it is those who expose corruption who are arrested. Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has been arrested three times in less than a year while the the corrupt elite continue to freely roam the country.

Mnangagwa’s partiality has also been exposed by the fact that while his government locked down the country for the rest of the citizenry, he allowed his party’s DCC elections to proceed. Government ministers who held birthday parties and Mnangagwa’s friends who hosted lavish end-pf-year bashes in violation of Covid-19 lockdown regulations were not arrested while ghetto youths who did the same were incarcerated.

Mnangagwa’s government has also announced that it is now on the verge of procuring Covid-19 vaccines. Apart from frontline staff, who certainly deserve priority, the government has announced it will also prioritise government ministers and the political elite in the provision of Covid-19 vaccines.

So much for Mr Mnangagwa’s promise for fairness, non-discrimination and impartiality!

Lie number 14 : I will unstintingly fight corruption

“In the Second Republic , no person or entity will be allowed to steal , loot or pocket that which belongs to the people of Zimbabwe,” Mr Mnangagwa said at his inauguration.

Instead, corruption has become the elephant in the living room under this so-called Second Republic. Most of the corruption has sucked in the First family while Mnangagwa’s own bodyguards have been fingered in some of the murky deals.

Mnangagwa’s uncle and former Health minister Obadiah Moyo, close relative Henrietta Rushwaya who attempted to smuggle 6kgs of gold outside the country with the assistance of Mnangagwa’s personal bodyguards are just but a sample that shows that corruption is deeply ingrained in the country’s political elite. If you add the cases of deputy minister Mangwiro and others, it becomes clear the country has become a kleptocracy.

Mnangagwa just can’t deal with corruption because he is the archbishop. It is instructive to note that we are still to get news of a conviction on these high profile corruption cases. Expecting Mnangagwa to decisively deal with corruption is akin to expecting a mosquito to cure malaria.

Lie number 15 : I shall implement devolution

“As per our pledge , during the campaign , my government will be implementing the Constitutional provisions with regards to devolution of government powers and responsibilities. Provinces will now be expected to plan and grow their provincial economies,” Mr Mnangagwa thundered at his inauguration.

Notwithstanding the boisterous pronouncement, the reality on the ground is that there is lip-service when it comes to the issue of devolution. There is no sincerity whatsoever on the part of government to implement devolution despite the clear provisions contained under chapter 14 of the national Constitution.

For example, the provincial and metropolitan councils that must run the provinces as envisaged under the devolution principle are still to be put in place, some eight years after the adoption of the new Constitution. In fact, it is a well-calculated manoeuvre that Zanu PF is using its political surrogate to recall and reverse the number of MDC Alliance elected officials in the provinces as part of a ploy to influence the political colour of these provincial councils.

To demonstrate that the regime is not committed to the notion of devolution, we heard very disturbing stories at the MDC Alliance’s Mayors’ Forum that President Chamisa hosted at the party headquarters on 28 February last year.

We heard from our councillors and mayors that there was favoritism and political bias in the disbursement of devolution funds to local authorities. Larger local authorities run by the MDC Alliance were receiving less money than smaller local authorities run by Zanu PF.

For example, the larger local authority of Zvishavane that is controlled by the MDC Alliance received less money than the smaller Runde rural district council run by the Zanu PF. Similarly, the MDC Alliance-run Rusape Town Council received less money than the smaller rural district councils that are controlled by Zanu PF in the surrounding areas.

In short, notwithstanding his high-sounding statements on the issue of devolution, Mr Mnangagwa is just insincere as evidenced by the fact that his government is still to constitute the requisite provincial and metropolitan councils that must run these provinces.


Judged against his own words, Mnangagwa’s tenure has been a tale of outright lies. His high-sounding promises at his inauguration ceremony, as Shakespeare would say, were a piece of sublime mysticism and nonsense.

In the week that we arrive at the halfway signpost of Mnangagwa’s eventful tenure, this citizen’s audit has shown that the mammoth pronouncements at his inauguration was just but an act of mere rhetoric.

Each of the country’s 10 provinces can give you a laundry list of promises made to them by Mnangagwa during his campaign and as spelt out at his inauguration. But at village, provincial and national levels the promises remain unfulfilled as Mnangagwa has , shown an uncanny capacity to lie at every level.

For a man whose government has a penchant of concocting trumped up charges of communicating falsehoods against innocent citizens, it is ironic that the man himself is the chief protagonist in peddling mistruths to a despondent nation, as enunciated in this paper.

This audit or juxtaposition of the man’s inactions against his own words has shown that since August 2018, ours has been a strident march up the garden path. As we mark the attainment of 30 of his 60 months in office, there is no doubt that the man has dismally failed to fulfil his own promises.

And the chances of him fulfilling his promises in the remainder of his term lie somewhere between nil and zero!

Mnangagwa has simply institutionalised lying, as exemplified by his laughable allegation that those who claimed they had been abducted by State security agents were actually people who were abducting themselves so as to frame the government. Or that other fawny claim by State Security Minister Owen Ncube that Nelson Chamisa and the MDC Alliance were bringing huge arms of war into the country in order to unseat the government.

It was astounding that a whole Cabinet Minister could sit before clicking cameras to make such serious allegations without any shred of evidence whatsoever and without arresting the alleged culprits fingered in such a treasonous act!

On Saturday, 30 January 2021, Mnangagwa completed 30 of his 60 months in this his current stolen term. As this piece has shown, and judged against his own pronouncements and promises at his inauguration, it has been a journey marked by dismal failure. The journey thus far has been a gargantuan lie.

As the scoresheet shows against his own promises, it has been zero out of 15 in this citizen’s mid-term report for Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Luke Tamborinyoka is the Deputy Secretary for Presidential Affairs in the MDC Alliance led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa . You can interact with him on his Facebook page or on the twitter handle @ luke_tambo

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