‘The system is the same:’ Zimbabweans in Canada protest Mnangagwa presidency

Thabo Siziba, event organizer, says his family in Zimbabwe are terrified of their new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. (CBC)

MONTREAL, Canada – A small but vocal group gathered at Yonge-Dundas Square Saturday to protest Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The group says Mnangagwa is a continuation of Robert Mugabe, who resigned earlier this week after 37 years in power.

Event organizer Thabo Siziba says his family in Zimbabwe are terrified of their new president.

“People have been under Robert Mugabe hoping that one day when he leaves, his entire system will [crumble],” he said. “Now, like one of the South African papers said, ‘Satan has been replaced by Lucifer.'”

Mnangagwa Protest
A handful of protesters gathered at Yonge-Dundas Square Saturday morning to protest Emmerson Mnangagwa, the new Zimbabwean president. (CBC)

Organizers were hoping for 100 people to “stand in solidarity” with the victims of the Gukurahundi massacres in 1983 and 1984, but about 10 showed up at the southwest corner of Yonge and Dundas streets to take part.

In the massacres, about 20,000 suspected dissidents were killed. The event gains new relevance today as Mnangagwa was in charge of state security during the mid-’80s and now begins his first days as president of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe New President
Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as Zimbabwe’s president Friday after Robert Mugabe resigned on Tuesday, ending his 37-year rule. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

“The new president is still the same old killer,” one of the protesters said. “He’s not saying anything about the people that he killed.”

Thamasnqa Moyo says soldiers were pushing and shoving him as a boy and beat up his grandmother with sticks.

“Now he is the commander in chief,” he said. “How [are] people of my region supposed to look at him as their president?”

Thamasnqa Moyo Zimbabwe Protest
Thamasnqa Moyo says soldiers lead by new Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa pushed and shoved him as a boy and beat up his grandmother with sticks. (CBC)

Mnangagwa was inaugurated as head of state on Friday and promised to work on turning around the country’s unemployment numbers and return the country to prosperity.

Zimbabwe’s new president was fired earlier this month as vice-president under Mugabe and now takes power after a whirlwind series of events ousted the leader.

Mugabe who succumbed to pressure to quit from the military, the ruling party and massive demonstrations amid fears his unpopular wife would succeed him. At 93, Mugabe was the world’s oldest head of state.

“Mugabe left a system. The system is the same,” protester Phenias Phiri said. “Nobody has lost anything it’s still the same like yesterday.” – CBC News

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