WINDHOEK, Jan. 16 – For change to take place and topple an administration that had ruled Zimbabwe four decades, the country had to emerge from a crucible and avoid plunging into further chaos; It required a ‘miraculous,’ peaceful transition.
Zimbabwe’s third President, Emmerson Mnangagwa conducted a business forum in Windhoek yesterday, addressing 100’s of his countrymen and women in the process.
It was there he shed light on what preceding his ascension to head of state, and describing the various events that had to happen to ensure what has been globally lauded, by some scholars and politicians alike, as ‘The Peaceful Coup.’
“We have very patriotic Zimbabweans back home, whom on the 18th of November went to the streets of Harare in their millions and demanded change. Most importantly, the transition was extremely peaceful, and despite all those (multitudes of) people who were marching in the streets, not a single glass was broken! None! it was very peaceful.”
It seemed a stand up comedy at times as the soft-spoken, relaxed President addressed his kin with a mixture of flair, honesty and chuckle-some at times.
“During those days, in that week, the crime in the country went down because everybody, every Zimbabwean of every persuasion focused on change, and so those who commit crime forgot (about committing crime),” he said as a matter of fact.
Gales of laughter erupted as Mnangagwa nonchalantly narrated the morbid attempt on his life when he was poisoned and left bed-ridden before his recovery; how he ‘obtained’ border jumper status as he fled the country following his expulsion from his Vice President post under then President Robert Mugabe.
Two months later, he has called for peace, understanding and a focus on productiveness. “The first thing is that we as Zimbabweans, respect our elders. We are convinced that there were elements which had surrounded the President (Mugabe) and I believe because of his age, many things happened which he would not normally had been done. We shall preserve his legacy. The legacy of revolution in our country. He is very safe and we will make sure he remains comfortable until the end.”
The new President has let by-gones be by-gones and set a trajectory aimed at improving that country’s economy by declaring Zimbabwe open for business.
“All Zimbabweans must get united under our flag. Under national anthem. We accept that we may have different views about how to run the country, that is also accepted. We don’t need any violence at all. Whether within the family, the community or the country, if people differ, differ peacefully; it must be an intellectual approach that should not develop into being violence. We must leave that behind us. We must accept each other as brother and sister determined together to develop our country,” he said.
“However, we now want Zimbabwe to catch up with the rest of the countries in the region and globally. We have declared Zimbabwe opened for business across the world. I am happy to see so many Zimbabweans here in Namibia. We would like you to come and assist in the rebuilding of our economy and our country. Let me assure you that Zimbabwe is not the same again and will never be the same again,” he said.
Last year, Mnangagwa ordered his new cabinet ministers to come up with 100-day quick-win government-led intervention plans which make visible impact on the development of the country, and he has traveled to South Africa and Angola addressing the business communities as well as Zimbabwean expatriates in those countries. – Musa Zimunya (firstname.lastname@example.org)