DESPITE Zimbabwe, in the First Republic, recording notable achievements such as reclaiming land and resettling thousands of the previously marginalised black majority, in 2017, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa inherited a country whose every sector had been decimated by illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the US, Britain and their allies.
But on August 31 2023, under a blazing sun in the arid Buhera North, a few days after being announced the winner of the 2023 harmonised general elections, the man, who most likely wishes the day could be extended to more than 24 hours, returned to Sabi Star Lithium Mine, in Buhera, to check on progress being made at the operation.
Then he was the President-elect but could not wait to get back to work.
That is just who he is — a hard worker.
Mnangagwa assumed the presidency of a limping country suffocated by sanctions and suffering from political polarisation.
On assumption of duty, Zimbabwe was a China shop in which not a bull but bulls had run rampage.
As he began his work, it soon became clear that ED was a man on a mission.
To rebuild, correct course and restore confidence, ED, contrary to popular belief that African salvation comes from the West, looked within.
He relied on some of the country’s best brains, both in the private and public sectors.
While optimism abounded, there were those who doubted his chances.
But five years later, Zimbabwe is prosperous, stable and unified.
Social services, such as education, healthcare, housing and livestock, destroyed by more than two decades of sanctions, are being provided to the needy, with no distinction of region.
The critics of President Mnangagwa make one mistake, which is implying that nothing has happened in the country, that there has been no change for the better.
It is not true.
Mnangagwa and Zimbabweans have been working to re-establish the destroyed and build new infrastructure in a country that, from 2000, was not given room to manoeuvre.
When Mnangagwa assumed power, so polarised was the country that, by and large, people identified themselves more along political lines than as Zimbabweans, a united people.
What has not been understood and appreciated by the West is that, from day one of his first term in office, Mnangagwa’s mission as Zimbabwe’s leader has been, first and foremost, to protect the Zimbabwean people, the very land which makes up the country from abuse and exploitation without compromise.
“I have once again taken oath as a humble servant-leader and President, committed to wholeheartedly serving you all, the people of our great motherland, Zimbabwe. Under this renewed mandate, I have re-committed to continue faithfully upholding and defending our sacred national Constitution and laws, with integrity and impartiality, leaving no one and no place behind,” he said during his inauguration to serve a second term as leader of his people.
What he said would be done during his first-term of office was done.
President Mnangagwa’s presidency has invited Zimbabweans to reflect on the country’s long and arduous journey from the days of Munhumutapa to colonialism; the liberation struggle to self-determination, resilience and prosperity.
The economic and social progress realised in the last half decade serves, chiefly, Zimbabwe’s national and pan-African interests which has irked Zimbabwe’s detractors.
It is no secret that revolutionary parties on the continent are under siege.
And most importantly, Zimbabwe cannot be an example for the rest of Africa, it must be a failed State to prevent others from emulating programmes such as land reclamation.
Attempts to rewrite Zimbabwe’s story, especially of the last five years, is simply attempts by elements carrying the colonial hallmarks of denying the agency of Africans in determining their future.
But, as President Mnangagwa has emphasised: “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo/Ilizwe liyakhwa ngabanikazi.”
Let’s challenge and create and industrialise from the standpoint of our own philosophy, President Mnangagwa has challenged Zimbabweans and the rest of Africa.
For the architecture of our creativity, industrialisation and renaissance to be successful and sustainable, we must break the hold on our minds and not imitate structures meant for some other people in some other places, has been President Mnangagwa’s persistent and consistent message.
“Today, Zimbabwe is one of the most stable and peaceful nations on the African continent. Do not wait to descend into chaos for you to realise how good you have it at that. It will be ‘how good
you had it’, like the Libyans,” said political analyst Ruka Mwamba of the DRC.
The Second Republic has been a defining moment for Zimbabwe, a rejuvenation point, a wellspring of inspiration, guiding the country’s today and future endeavors.
The first term of the Second Republic’s story serves as a source of inspiration for the country’s progress.
It serves as a powerful source of motivation and identity
“Zimbabwe’s progress since independence to today has faced constant scrutiny and criticism from the West. Some nations from the West continue to refute Zimbabwe’s story, fearing if widely known and emulated across Africa, it will threaten the West’s long established dominance and exploitation of the continent. Hence, there is rabid effort to control, downplay achievements and sow confusion in Zimbabwe.
The current information manipulation campaign targeting Zimbabwe, portraying it as a failed state, is carried out by seemingly harmless ‘human rights’ groups.
Zimbabwe’s perceived crimes include reclaiming its land from the white minority, rejecting the division of the country along tribal lines and seeking an internally driven mechanism of rebuilding its economy destroyed by sanctions. The country’s leadership has dared to defy expectations set for Africa by external powers and chose to rebuild their nation their way.
They are exposing the limitations of Western prescriptions (and) opting for self-reliance. This ‘unconventional’ approach, because as Africans we are expected to look up to the ‘big brothers’, attracts criticism and all sorts of lies,” said Mwamba.
Mwamba said revolutionary parties were in real danger on the continent.
“It is sad that some African leaders and influencers are no longer pan-Africanists, have lost direction gravitating towards pleasing the West in order to receive aid and invites to Western citadels. And the real danger is that opposition forces on the continent have found each other, through networks provided by their Western donors and now pose a greater danger to African unity,” he said.
Liberation movements and pan-Africanists should pull up their socks or be relegated to the dustbins of history, he said.
The destruction of pan-Africanism is not just a danger to Africa but Africans in the Diaspora as well. He urged Africans to take heed of the great pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah.
“What I fear worst of all is the fact that if we do not formulate plans for unity and take active steps to form a political union, we would soon be fighting and warring among ourselves with imperialists and colonialists standing behind the screen pulling vicious wires, to make us cut each other’s throat for the sake of their diabolical purposes in Africa
We in Africa who are pressing now for unity are deeply conscious of the validity of our purpose.
We need the strength of our combined numbers and resources to protect ourselves from the very positive dangers of returning to colonialism in disguised forms.
We need it to combat the entrenched forces dividing our continent and still holding back millions of our brothers.
We need it to secure total African liberation.
We need it to carry forward our construction of a socio-economic system that will support the great mass of our steadily rising population at levels of life which will compare with those in the most advanced countries.”
Kwame Nkrumah envisioned that:
“There would be no foreign military bases on African soil. With a united foreign policy and a common defence plan, there would be no need for them. In the concourse of African union, no Africa could be left in a position of solitary weakness in which it could be bullied into allowing them. Any kind of military pacts or alliances with outside powers would be unnecessary”
Back in Buhera North, Sabi Star is running a full-fledged lithium mining operation.
But that is not even the story.
The story is how the operation has transformed lives and awoken a sleepy rural setting into a hive of activity.
“The low earners at this mine get an average of US400 to US780 a month. And we leave our banking cards at home because the company provides us with free food and accommodation while at work,” said a delighted employee at the mine.
In one of his writings for this publication, economist Charles Dube, one of the first employees in the first free Zimbabwe Ministry of Finance, said: “The word economic depression/collapse or decline did not originate in Zimbabwe. Some of the developed countries went through them before and got back to become the world’s leading economies. Some of us have this fixation about the period leading to the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar. In our perceptions and in terms of what we tell ourselves there is no way we could turn around the situation. We have died in the first Zero of when the Zim dollar collapsed and those who died permanently then have never awoken. They accepted the external suggestion of the moment as their destiny. Our individual and collective psyche and image of ourselves will have a strong influence in our successes as individuals and nations. Even then, even how others tell us about us, could also determine our fate, but only to the extent that we accept such definitions of ourselves by others, whether positive or negative.”
Zimbabwe needs all its citizens on deck and not cheap politicking that serves the interests of regime changers bent on doing away with revolutionary parties.