Why Mnangagwa could easily pull through though people still do not trust ZANU-PF


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He said the diaspora business community is excited about the changes that have taken place in the country but are also alert to potential obstacles.

He noted that while Mnangagwa has set up a ministry to deal with investors and taken steps to streamline the investment process, the attitude of bureaucrats could still prove to be a hindrance.

He said it will take time to change a mindset conditioned by 37 years of the Mugabe regime.

“If a person has stayed in prison for too long, to rehabilitate that person can be extremely difficult,” he said.

“The thing that will delay investment in this country will not be the investors.”

With general elections due in four to five months, many are wondering whether Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF can do enough to persuade Zimbabweans who formerly voted for the MDC to switch allegiance.

Wisdom Mdzungairi, the editor of the independent newspaper NewsDay, said Mnangawa wants to be elected in a free and fair ballot, and will introduce reforms that will enable “Zimbabweans to say, ’you know what I think these guys are on the right path, let us give them a mandate’. If they are able to show in the next few months that they (can bring about positive economic change) and Zimbabweans can derive benefit from it, I’m sure they will win the election.”

Already there are tangible signs that things are moving in the right direction:

  • civil service salaries have started to be paid on time;
  • the availability of cash at ATMs has improved;
  • some ZANU-PF officials have been arrested on corruption charges;
  • inefficient parastatal companies are to be reformed and long suspended infrastructure projects have started moving again.

The pace of change appears to have wrong-footed the opposition, with ZANU-PF adopting many of its policies and putting them into practice. Nyoni said this “created the impression that ZANU-PF is now a different outfit”, though he stressed it remains the least trusted party in the country.

With the main opposition party, the MDC -T, preoccupied with infighting over the succession of its ailing leader Morgan Tsvangarai, it has struggled to respond effectively to Mugabe’s departure.

“Their mantra was ‘Mugabe must go’, and now he has, so they must look for another catchphrase,” said Mdzungairi.

“What they are trying to say is that ‘yes there is a new dispensation, but it is still Zanu-PF’. What has happened in the last few months has thrown the opposition into a quandary.”

Interviewees said the MDC-T must quickly choose a new leader and get down to the business of opposition, develop new policies that compete with those of the government and hold it to account over its pledges.

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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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