AFRICA/ZIMBABWE - A missionary: the political transition is fictitious, a truly inclusive government is urgently needed

Tuesday, 16 January 2018 politics   human rights   civil society   economy  

Harare (Agenzia Fides) "In Zimbabwe everyone is holding their breath. We are trying to understand what will happen in the coming weeks and months. Nobody takes a position": says a missionary to Fides, who for security reasons wants to remain anonymous, describing the situation in the country after the upheavals that led to the fall of Robert Mugabe and the rise to power of his former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa. "In fact - the religious continues - we are not experiencing any transition. As in the past, the ruling party, the Zanu-Pf, is controlled by the secret services and the armed forces. And then it was the forces that supported Mnangagwa in his internal struggle to prevent Mugabe's wife Grace from coming to power. Nothing has therefore changed".
Emmerson Mnangagwa took office on November 26 and immediately declared he wanted to relaunch the economy in Zimbabwe, which after the disastrous policies of Mugabe (in particular the agrarian reform), is unable to improve. Currently 72% of the population live below the poverty level (less than two dollars a day) and the GDP does not increase.
"The crocodile (as Mnangagwa is called, ed) - the missionary observes - intends to relaunch economy. So far he has not made any important decisions and I believe he will not do anything in the period before the elections. When will one go to the polls? It is not known exactly. If the Constitution is respected, the seats should open before September. However, it is said that the new president wants to organize the elections as soon as possible, in order not to give time to international organizations to set up a mission of observers. Mnangagwa wants a popular consecration, but without controls".
So far, the passage of power between Mugabe and Mnangagwa has not found any obstacles in the party. No prominent exponent has put himself sideways. "It is a question of opportunities - the religious continues -. Many party bigwigs have not lined up waiting for developments. The next few months will tell us which positions they will line up".
And the Catholic Church? "The Episcopal Conference of Zimbabwe - concludes the source of Fides - together with the leaders of other confessions has called for an inclusive transitional government. Unfortunately they have not been heard. It must be said, however, that the Catholic Church played an important role and, in particular, the Society of Jesus. It was Father Fidelis Mukonori who convinced Mugabe to leave power without bloodshed. Mnangagwa had the power on his side, but he did not want to use it for fear of international protests". (EC) (Agenzia Fides, 16/1/2018)