A Coup Offered Hope to Zimbabwe. Has Its New President Delivered? – The New York Times

The New York Times has asked the question many people across the world are asking. Has the new president delivered? The Opinion piece opens the first few paragraphs by saying ED imposed himself on Zimbabwe:

Since seizing power in a 2017 coup from his onetime mentor, Robert G. Mugabe, Mr. Mnangagwa has gradually imposed himself on Zimbabwe — here in Mr. Mugabe’s former offices in downtown Harare, as well as on the country at large.

Though the new president is marketed as a clean break from Mr. Mugabe and 37 years of autocratic rule and economic mismanagement, Mr. Mnangagwa’s opponents now fear he is more dangerous than his predecessor.

The editor goes on to detail all our problems and all the time the President misfired:

The current regime is worse than Robert Mugabe on all fronts,” said Obert Masaraure, the head of a teachers’ union who said he had twice been abducted and tortured by military officers. “Under Robert Mugabe, I was never abducted for engaging in trade unionism,” Mr. Masaraure added. Under Robert Mugabe, I was never thrown in a maximum-security prison for 16 days.”

The president also presents himself as a corruption fighter. His tourism minister had been arrested that week on graft charges, the first senior casualty of a new anticorruption commission that Mr. Mnangagwa founded in July.

He said the military was deployed in August and in January only because the police were overwhelmed by the scale of the disturbances, presenting his approach as the only sane response.

Mr. Mnangagwa defended the election, which he noted was peaceful, and insisted there was no bribery during his campaign. “We don’t give to a person because he is a particular cadre of a particular party,” he said. “A person is given support because that family or household is in need of food.”

Mr. Mnangagwa has been traveling extensively throughout Africa, promoting and developing plans for economic reform. He wants to be seen as a modernizer, and he portrays Zimbabwe as once again “open for business.”

He opened a dry port for Zimbabwean trade in Namibia. He has reduced the paperwork needed to open companies, and he loudly seeks foreign investment in the mining, tourism, agricultural and textile industries.

Zimbabwe is suffering from vast shortages of fuel, bank notes, water and electricity. Drivers typically wait three hours for gasoline, and civil servants line up all morning to receive part of their salaries in cash. Half of the capital Harare receives running water only once a week, and electricity blackouts last up to 18 hours a day in many areas.

An inflation rate of more than 175 percent has put some food and medicine beyond the reach of middle-class Zimbabweans. Shoppers emerging from a Harare supermarket complained of a sevenfold rise in the price of bread since this time last year.

But outside his office, in the serpentine lines that define today’s Harare, few believed him.

More: New York Times



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