After nearly four decades of leadership in Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe finally succumbed to pressure and tendered his resignation on Tuesday November 21, 2017, just as the Zimbabwean Parliament was about to commence his impeachment proceedings.
Earlier in the week, the Central Committee of his party ZANU-PF had voted to dismiss him as party leader if he refused to resign the post within the ultimatum given.
As expected, the resignation of Mugabe sparked scenes of jubilation on the streets of the Southern African Country and was even described by some as Independence Day.
Apparently, Robert Mugabe who was once hailed a hero in Zimbabwe held on to power for too long, and failed to leave the stage while the ovation was loudest. During his watch, Zimbabwe, once referred to as the breadbasket of Africa is now commonly called the basket case of Africa.
In the midst of these celebrations however, little attention seems to be paid to the crucial issue of Mugabe’s successor.
Credence must be given to the Country’s military, for refusing to be tempted by the enchantments of power, but rather handed power back to the civilian leaders of the country having humbled Mugabe out of power.
However the country is not scheduled for a general election until 2018 and Mugabe’s resignation did not specify who will succeed him; the ZANU-PF party having recalled the ousted Vice President of Mugabe-Emmerson Mnangagwa and made him the party leader is poised to ensure that he is the man to replace his erstwhile boss as President of Zimbabwe.
The fact that the ousted Vice President was absent during the power tussle that sent his boss packing lends credence and some level of morality and legitimacy to this move by the ZANU-PF Party.
However, it is instructive to note that the antecedent of Emmerson Mnangagwa (aka "Crocodile") is particularly worrisome. Mnangagwa is not entirely free from blame in the excesses and abuses of the Mugabe administration.. He was allegedly involved in the deaths of thousands of civilians during the country’s civil conflicts and also allegedly masterminded attacks on opposition supporters after the 2008 elections in Zimbabwe.
Mnangagwa was a key and influential figure in the Mugabe’s administration and demonstrated his loyalty to the fullest. His disagreement and fall out with the erstwhile President was not based on the principles of fundamental freedoms and good living for the people of Zimbabwe; it was simply a tussle for power in a bid to prevent Grace Mugabe from succeeding the President.
With Emerson Mnagagwa the likely successor of Mugabe, all may not yet be uhuru in the South African Country. It is more like an exchange of baton between veterans of the country's Independence war who have continuously held on to power in Zimbabwe.
It is however the hope of all Zimbabweans and indeed the entire world that he would have learned some lessons from his predecessor’s downfall and usher in a new dawn in Zimbabwe.
KAYODE AJULO & Co. CASTLE OF LAW
*Ajulo, a Lawyer, is the Chairman, Egalitarian Mission of Africa and was National Secretary, Labour Party.