Mnangagwa says I am not a crocodile, I am Shumba


Q: Can a liberation movement that’s been in power for 30 or 40 years, can it change? Or does it need to leave office, as happened to Congress in India, before it can change?

A: A liberation movement is a question about people. And the ones who formed it are not the same people who are still there now. As time passes, new persons, new generations of persons, of leadership, come to the helm to lead forward. We take on board their exposure to international trade, to international markets, to international best world practice. And that comes on board. And that helps them to modernise themselves, otherwise they remain behind. So I believe that as long as we allow the internal democracy in our party we shall continue to have these young girls and boys coming into leadership. We have been exposed to Oxford itself, to Harvard, to various institutions abroad, and they bring these skills into the party, and they can be assured that who is alive.

Q: The Crocodile name. Does it bother you?

A: No, it has been given to me for a long, long time, during the war and so on. But it arose from what I have explained when in 1964, when we were deployed. That’s how we . . . Perhaps I’m the only surviving member of that group. So it doesn’t bother me. But we, the African people, have totems. I’m not a crocodile, I’m a lion. I’m a shumba. Yes. So that doesn’t bother me at all. No, I’ve got used to it. But many people think that I’m of that totem. No, it was a result of a deployment back in 1964.

Q: People have said you have a strong faith. That you are a very committed Christian. How important is this?

A: I am a Methodist. But because I’m president I go to various church occasions. When I’m invited, I attend the other churches. But as a family we are Methodists. Yes, we are Methodist.

Q: And why did you adopt this faith? Because I think you’re a born-again, aren’t you? You came to it late in life?

A: I was baptised a long time back. When we were young we became so revolutionary that we felt that the churches or missionaries, when they came to Africa or to our country, they helped us, they helped our people, to be docile. And not to fight colonialism. So there was a period when we revolted against missionaries and Christianity. And then also when we went to train in China there is no Christianity there. They believe you produce food and eat. There’s no question of this ideology. So we went through the war and so on. But after the war and so on and you were back home, and you are back with your parents again, then you get again readmitted into the faith, like that. This is where they say born-again.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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