Mnangagwa – the crocodile’s not having a good time in Zimbabwe

Zanu PF has stormed out of a meeting with the electoral commission and members of the opposition according to a report on eNCA.

During the meeting the opposition wasn’t happy that  Emmerson Mnangagwa’s name was at the top of the ballot, rather than 15th, which the MDC said could result in people accidentally voting for him rather than another candidate.

Zimbabwe’s Daily News reports that Mnangagwa has admitted that Robert Mugabe’s land reforms essentially stuffed up Zimbabwe’s agriculture, though he also wants people to leave the past in the past.

What essentially happened was that the land was seized from white farmers in the early 2000s, only to land up in the hands of the Zanu PF elite.

“The critical thing is that during land reform, productivity collapsed totally, we moved from self sufficiency to an insecure nation. We began importing – we became a beggar,” Mnangagwa said.

Mnangagwa’s having a torrid time of the elections so far. EWN reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa wants to call a SADC meeting following a bomb blast at one of his Zimbabwean counterpart’s rallies on Saturday, and according to polling, he’s only got the support of about 40% of the population – not that far ahead of opposition leader Nelson Chamisa’s 37%.

My take

Mnangagwa, if he loses the election, might be better off than if he wins it. The reason he doesn’t want people thinking to hard about the past and Zimbabwe’s land redistribution is because he had a hand in the whole disaster.

If he loses, he will be remembered for his role in deposing Mugabe, and the rest will be a footnote, if he wins he will be remembered for all the rest along with anything else he stuffs up in the next few years.

He should have financial security either way – he won’t lose so big as to not have a role in government at all.

For us in South Africa the relevant point here is that we are currently debating land reforms ourselves. We are already a net food importer, and thanks to the era of misrule that was the Jacob Zuma administration our sovereign debt is not exactly highly rated.

Not only that, but we’ve burned a lot of our African bridges due to xenophobia, so land reform, if it ends up going the way Zimbabwe’s did, could be an even bigger disaster for us.

It would be good for us to see Zimbabwe rise and thrive, but we’ve got to be careful not to repeat its mistakes.

  • Picture of Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe courtesy of the World Economic Forum / Sikarin Thanachaiary.
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