94-year-old former president of Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe who ruled the country as Prime Minister from 1980 to 1987 and then as President from 1987 to 2017 is free to return to power if he wants - according to the current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mugabe was forced out of power through a military coup in November 2017, after which his deputy had to return from exile in South Africa to take power. Emmerson Mnangagwa later won the elections in July last year, beating Nelson Chamisa, who protested the elections were ricked, by a very slim margin.
Many citizens in the country attribute the poor state of Zimbabwe’s economy to Mugabe’s rule, which they say was marred by corruption and gross mismanagement. Others, however, feel otherwise, saying the former leader is the true Messiah of the country and is needed in these trying times.
Zimbabwe has indeed endured some trying times with scarcity of bread, meat and other basic amenities hitting the country. Recently, internet and social media services were shut down in the country as a result of protests which followed government's announcement to increase the price of petrol by over 100%. The protest took many lives and properties worth millions of dollars destroyed.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa while speaking to journalists at the statehouse this week has said that his predecessor is free to return to active politics if he so wishes.
During the chit-chat with reporters in an informal meeting, Mnangagwa spoke on Zimbabwe, Mugabe and opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa – whom he said he was not willing to have a dialogue with.
One of the journalists asked if he was concerned by calls from citizens in the country that former leader, Robert Mugabe should return to power, Mnangagwa said:
"When we came into office in 2017, we promised Zimbabweans democracy and claims that some of our citizens want him (Mugabe) to return actually show we have kept our word despite accusations to the contrary.
"After Independence, some people yearned for Smith (Ian, late former Rhodesian Prime Minister). It is the same now.
"Democracy needs time and Zimbabwe will require time.
"We are reforming and that is why we have set in motion plans to repeal the Public Order and Security Act, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act as well as the Indigenization Act among others."
Addressing another question about his thoughts on Nelson Chamisa's calls for dialogue, he came out blunt and said:
"In what capacity would I be talking to him [Chamisa] if he argues I am not legitimate?
"Logically it means the talks would not be legitimate because in his warped opinion I do not have locus stand to talk to him."
What are your thoughts?
“Our lives are worse off,” he told the crowd, promising to intensify the street protests until the political standoff in the country is resolved.
Header Image Credit: TimesLIVE