PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa lost an opportunity to unite a fractious Zimbabwe after a military-assisted coup in 2017, failing to chart a new trajectory for the country.
In his recent assessment of the 2017 coup that toppled long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, former deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara said: “I understand why people supported the coup and were not wrong. The idea was that if Emmerson Mnangagwa was clever, if he had ten percent of Mugabe’s intelligence he would have used that moment of the coup to do a team Zimbabwe approach not much for Zimbabwe but for himself but he was blind, deaf and dumb and missed the moment.”
Mnangagwa in 2017 ended Mugabe’s rule in Zimbabwe, in a moment critics hoped would mark a beginning of a new era in the country’s politics.
An aura of change engulfed Zimbabwe as people from across the political divide called for the resignation of Mugabe.
“A clever Mnangagwa who is strategic would have told Chinamasa to shut up. When I proposed this it was not much for Zimbabwe but for Mnangagwa’s own legacy,” said Mutambara.
Since 2017 polarisation has remained in Zimbabwe with opposition parties and the ruling party at loggerheads over the state of affairs.
However, the opposition has accused Mnangagwa of copying the handbook of Mugabe during his rule.
“There was an opportunity for change. There was so much goodwill in the country in Zimbabwe. So much goodwill in SADC and the continent and globally. The goodwill was squandered by a lack of intelligence, by lack of strategic thinking.
“A different leader in 2017 could have created an opportunity of delinking with the past. I am very clear that there was an opportunity because it was a Zimbabwean moment not Zanu PF moment. There was a lack of leadership,” said Mutambara.