Politics is an interesting game, and yet, it is a debilitating one. Its ramifications permeate through every aspect of life. Politics simply affects everything in life. Now this is the situation in every country, but with Zimbabwe, the repercussions of wrong political moves were just disastrous beyond what words can say.
The chaotic and haphazard land reform program instituted in 2000 by the Robert Mugabe led government resulted in what had never been seen in Africa before. It was the first of its kind. Who, in the whole of Africa, had dared to brazenly stand up to the whites like that? Who, in the whole of Africa, had told the whites to just pack and go so that the black, dis-empowered populace could have a chance at taking back their resources?
This is the path that Robert Mugabe had decided for Zimbabwe. It was clearly evident that this route would put the small Southern African nation at loggerheads with the former colonial masters. It was to be the genesis of an agonizing period of isolation compounded by economic sanctions which were meant to bring the ruling party ZANU-PF down to its knees. Which never happened anyway because never at one point did Robert Mugabe budge.
Robert Mugabe, leading ZANU-PF, the ruling party then and the ruling party now, set in motion the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy too. He had to revive his waning political career by taking a populist route that was not carefully planned. The idea was noble, but used for the wrong reasons, as the seized from the whites, without compensation even, ended up in the hands of the few, rich and ruling elite.
This whole thing did not sit down well with the West. They felt stripped. They felt disrespected. And tiny Zimbabwe had to be punished for that. The good ties that had existed before were severed, trust was now deficient and the sanctions were just biting. For Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party then, they did not care. Mugabe pulled out of the Commonwealth. The war had begun, and in essence, and as the years passed by, it looked like it would be there forever.
Now here is something worth noting for this piece to make sense. The majority of the ministers and ruling elite in present day Zimbabwe were there when all this was happening, and they voiced their full approval of it. This includes the current president of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa. For the better part of Zimbabwe's modern history, Mnangagwa was Mugabe's right handman. He was there when Zimbabwe was torn into pieces through ruinous economic policies. He was there when the war began. He was there just when everything in Zimbabwe went wrong. The majority of the people making up the present day government of Zimbabwe led by Emmerson Mnangagwa now were there when the war commenced and the economy crumbled.
So, in essence, these people are all responsible for the current mess in Zimbabwe right now. They saw all of it, they supported the deterioration of ties with the West, something that was just wrong. Now, with Emmerson Mnangagwa in power, they are trying to alter the narrative, maybe, just to suit their parochial interests. They are such complex politicians. But no, it's politics right? It's meant to be that way. Deception, lies, rhetoric and all.
Recently, Emmerson Mnangagwa said that the war with Britain is now over. The more than two decades-long quarrel with the United Kingdom has to come to an end, so he said. He stressed that his administration prefers dialogue with all nations in place of acrimony. He said his re-engagement policy thrust was succeeding as Zimbabwe had managed to attract investment commitments of nearly $11 billion in the past four months.
That is a positive story. It is better than the isolation which Mugabe preferred. The only wrong thing here is that Mnangagwa speaks as if he was never part of that system which brought catastrophe to Zimbabwe through that war with Britain. He speaks as if he was completely dissociated from Mugabe when we all know he was one of Mugabe's closest people for many years. That is just where the problem is.
The same system that brought the war is the same system saying its over. And the British have been more than enthusiastic to open their arms to the new Zimbabwean government. Not so long ago the ruling party ZANU-PF which is now led by Mnangagwa pushed the narrative that Britain were keen on regime change. The colonial master is creeping his way back in. ZANU-PF have changed colours now. But for what?
With elections in Zimbabwe around the corner, ZANU-PF obviously want another term. They don't want to leave power. So every avenue that will change the image of Emmerson Mnangagwa must be fully utilized. "We have opened our doors to old and new friends. We cannot continue living in isolation. We need foreign investment, as well as those countries' technical expertise," President Mnangagwa said.
"Our quarrel with Britain is over. It was hinged on the land reform. We distributed our own land here. The land did not belong to the British, but to us Zimbabweans. So far, I have received three envoys from Britain, while we have had delegations from Western countries paying courtesy calls on us," said President Mnangagwa.
If its pure and genuine reform, then well, people can find some common ground with Mnangagwa and the ruling party ZANU-PF. But if these overtures with the British are couched in such a way as to advance some other sinister agenda, then Zimbabweans have to be wary, especially with the 2018 elections coming close.