Mr. Mnangagwa, just because the West criticizes you doesn’t make you anti-West!

After the stunt President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa pulled in Russia last week, there was bound to be some reaction.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana


Unsurprisingly, the most outrage was from his own Zimbabwe, where we were virtually felt gobsmacked by his vicious vilification of neighbour Zambia.

I will not go into the nitty-gritties of his statement to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, since I have already penned an article to that effect, titled ‘Mnangagwa’s statement to Putin positions Zimbabwe as a security threat’.

In fact, that particular article apparently found its way into the hands of some Russians, with a journalist based in Moscow calling me this morning.

To say he was stunned by Mnangagwa’s antics would be an understatement.

He was dumbfounded.

In our conversation, it was clear that these feelings of shock were shared by many in Russia.

They could not, for the life of them, understand why the Zimbabwean leader would backbite a fellow African nation – all in order to endear himself with Putin.

During the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum last week, Mnangagwa went out of his way to portray our northern neighbour as a US puppet.

He disingenuously described the situation as the US having now ‘consolidated their power’ in the country.

He went on with some soapy story of feeling ‘lonely’ just because of the Americans’ support for Zambia, both militarily and financially – effectively painting our neighbour as a security threat to Zimbabwe.

Of course, he never bothered proffering a shred of evidence to back up his wild reckless claims.

Just because the US established an office in its own embassy in April 2022, for security cooperation with Zambia, does not at all mean that they have become a security threat to anyone. 

The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) in Zambia is merely an office meant to assist Zambian forces in the United Nations Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

As can he clearly determined, this is neither a military base nor Zimbabwe the target.

In this pitiful grovelling, Mnangagwa  begged for security support from Putin.

As if that was not pathetic enough, he outdid any bootlicker on the planet by alleging that he was anti-West. 


Well, well, well, that would have been utterly comedic had these shenanigans not turned our country into a global laughing stock.

Let me remind His Excellency one thing: Just because the West criticizes you does not, by any stretch of the imagination, make you anti-West.

Maybe the West is against you, but you are, in no way, against the West. 

Is that not why Mnangagwa embarked on a so-called ‘engagement and reengagement policy’ immediately after toppling then tyrant Robert Gabriel Mugabe in a military coup d’état in November 2017?

He even dubbed his administration as ‘a friend to all and an enemy to none’.

So, in what way has he become anti-West?

I need to correct myself. In actual fact, the West has long ceased being against the Zimbabwe government. 

Has Mnangagwa not boasted of the vastly improved relations between Zimbabwe and the West – with practically all targeted sanctions by the UK and EU lifted?

Not to be outdone, even the US, which he alleged was consolidating its power in Zambia, has recently removed the bulk of its own set of restrictive measures.

If the targeted sanctions against some high-ranking individuals and entities were imposed due to the land reform program of the early 2000s, has Mnangagwa not entered into an agreement with displaced former white farmers to compensate them?

What is anti-West in all this?

Has he ever uttered a single word of condemnation at international fora against Western countries for their alleged misdeeds across the world?

Has he said anything against Israel’s attacks on Gaza or even expressed support of Russia’s attack on Ukraine at the UN or any such gatherings?

What about gay rights, which are pushed by the West? 

Has he ever made his views known at global or even domestic platforms?

In what way, then, is he anti-West?

This is in total divergence to his predecessor, Mugabe, who turned rabidly anti-West at the turn of the new millennium.

As a matter of fact, was that not the reason the coup d’état that ushered in Mnangagwa endorsed by the British?

Was the then London ambassador to Harare, Catriona Laing, not one of the very first envoys to pay a courtesy call on the newly installed President Mnangagwa?

Ever since, the British have removed all their restrictive measures, save for two or three individuals who have been kept on the list for optics.

In spite of the unabated human rights violations, relentless persecution of opponents, and unashamed electoral fraud – what meaningful action has Britain taken against Mnangagwa’s regime?

In fact, one can say we have gone back to the 1980s era where the Mugabe regime freely massacred thousands of innocent unarmed civilians in the Midlands and Matebeleland provinces without Western countries expressing any objections. 

Was Mugabe not even knighted by the British monarch in 1994 – on top of various other accolades awarded by several Western states in the 1980s?

Mugabe, as Mnangagwa today, was undoubtedly the West’s blue-eyed boy.


The support by the West was premised on the understanding that these leaders would protect their (Western) interests in Zimbabwe. 

It did not matter whether they butchered defenceless civilians, as long as Western interests were safeguarded, then all was well. 

We witness the same playing out today with Mnangagwa.

The measured criticism toward Mnangagwa’s regime we witness from the West is only superficial at best – in order to keep up appearances. 

There is absolutely nothing anti-West about the man.

So, why did he tell Putin this yarn?

It was all an extension of his childish attempt at winning Putin’s heart. 

It is akin to a school child who desires the favour of her teacher and goes behind the backs of other pupils as she backbites and badmouths them to the teacher.

Mnangagwa was so desperate for Putin’s affection and acceptance that he ended up saying any outrageous thing that came into his mind. 

That is why he even backbit his own fellow African neighbours!

How utterly despicable!

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