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40 years on, Mnangagwa finally emerges from Mugabe’s shadow

One member of Mnangagwa’s team tells The Source that Mnangagwa’s toughness is what will be needed to fight corruption. But Mnangagwa himself is not clean. A 2002 UN report implicated him in the looting of resources in the DRC, calling Mnangagwa “the key strategist for the Zimbabwean branch of the elite network”.

But while the popular view is that he is business-friendly, he has no known successful business interests. His farm in Sherwood, near Kwekwe, is well run, but there is little else known.

Still, he is seen as more open to investment than Mugabe was.

He has boasted about how he protected white dairy farms in the Midlands during land reform, which resulted in the province becoming the country’s biggest dairy producer.

In 2015, he told Chinese TV that Zimbabwe needed to change its approach to investment if it was to recover. He showed impressive command of economic data, reeling off power stats and industrial output figures.

“We must know that investment can only go where it makes a return so we must make sure we create an environment where investors are happy to put their money because there is a return,” Mnangagwa said.

He wanted Zimbabwe to go the way of China, which hoisted itself from a small economy in 1980 to a global superpower. His comments offended Mugabe, who saw them as a jibe at his leadership.

Mnangagwa’s supporters like to cast him as their own version of China’s Deng. Tshinga Dube, an ally of Mnangagwa, has said in an interview that Zimbabwe needed a leader that would bring the country out of poverty and into prosperity as China did.

Under Mugabe, especially in his final years, the Government drifted along with zero leadership. Corruption is rampant because Mugabe excused it, many times publicly. It cannot be hard for Mnangagwa to do better.

This week, Mnangagwa released a statement couched in all the right spiel about the need to build consensus across parties. His people say this is the sort of Government he plans to run. But he hasn’t been tested yet.

Once he gets power and has to use it, and defend it, we will know which Mnangagwa comes out; the Emmerson who will try to win by reforming the economy, or the crocodile who will again use muscle to subdue opponents.- The Source

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