Zimbabwe in transition or merely maintaining the rule of Zanu-PF?
Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Robert Mugabe finally stepped down from ruling Zimbabwe but the stranglehold of Zanu-PF remains. Hence, will Zimbabweans who oppose political cronyism -and a distorted notion of democracy – be placated given the old vestiges of power remaining?
On Friday, the former Vice-President will be sworn into leading Zimbabwe. Yet, with Emmerson Mnangagwa being tied to Robert Mugabe before a clash over who will maintain power concentration under the ruling Zanu-PF, then is this real change?
The BBC reports, “Mr Mugabe said he was resigning to allow a smooth and peaceful transfer of power, and that his decision was voluntary.”
Yet, this is doubtful, it is more likely the Mugabe was told that if he didn’t step down then consequences would follow. In other words, like many past leaders who clung on to power, he would face a bleak future behind bars and have assets taken away. Instead, Mugabe relented knowing that the same political elites – bar a clash over power concentration within the ruling Zanu-PF – will enable him to end his final months or years in relative peace.
The new leader of Zimbabwe who will take office in a few days time, Mnangagwa, said, “Together, we will ensure a peaceful transition to the consolidation of our democracy, and bring in a fresh start for all Zimbabweans and foster peace and unity.”
Despite these words, many people in Zimbabwe will be skeptical and fear the worse. Hence, it remains to be seen if a genuine vacuum will emerge – or if the ruling party will control events just like in the past?
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