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“During the Mugabe era we were very oppressed. Everywhere there were spies and you could not discuss anything in public. There was no justice, no equality. When Mugabe committed a crime it was not a crime. He was a liar and a thief", said Toka Manzi, a 23-year-old Zimbabwean labourer.

“During the Mugabe era we were very oppressed. Everywhere there were spies and you could not discuss anything in public. There was no justice, no equality. When Mugabe committed a crime it was not a crime. He was a liar and a thief", said Toka Manzi, a 23-year-old Zimbabwean labourer.


Since early November 2017 the attention of the whole world has been fixed on a South African country of 16 million people called Zimbabwe. The former President of the country that has been ravaged economically for decades, Mr. Robert Mugabe, resigned from office after a bloodless coup d'etat which was described by the United Nations as the legitimate expression of the will of Zimbabweans, given way for his estranged former VP and strong ally, Barr Emmerson Mnangagwa, to emerge his successor.
Zimbabweans have been happy for the removal of Mugabe who did not handled the country well as a leader, despite that he led his country to independence from British imperialism. This perhaps explains that not everyone who is involved in or leads the struggle to independence is good at leadership or possesses the requisite leadership credentials to transform the potentials of his people to their joys and development. African leaders are guilty of this, though late Nelson Mandela of South Africa and very few others have proved that not only were they warriors of their people, they are also leaders. But in the mould of Mugabe is the outgoing President of South Africa, President Jacob Zuma, who though been amongst the people that led his country to end apartheid has not proved his mettle at leadership, per se.
The joyful mood of the people of Zimbabwe over the removal of Mugabe is very symbolic in many ways. It was like the mood of Nigerians when the Maximum ruler, General Sani Abacha, died while making plans to perpetuate himself in office. But as represented by Toka Manzi's comment quoted at the beginning of this article, the people of Zimbabwe feel that Mugabe was an oppressor. And his removal by the Zimbabwean Army, his subsequent resignation and the swearing-in of Mnangagwa as President represents new hope for the best educated Africans, that at last they have a fresh window of opportunity to get things right.
I have heard many posit that the removal of Mugabe and installment of his former Vice President and strong ally during the Rhodesian Bush War, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is another mistake by the people of Zimbabwe. According to them, President Mnangagwa was Mugabe's VP since 2014 and he brokered the power sharing deal in 2008 when the presidential election put the country on the edge, and so was part of all the mis-governance and atrocities that was committed by Mugabe in power. People in this school of thought believe that Zimbabweans may have made another mistake. They also add that though Mugabe has been ousted the system in Zimbabwe has not changed as the Army which was a great parcel of the Mugabe's repressive regime still holds sway. They posit also that since the Army is still around in Zimbabwe's leadership, there is nothing much to expect from the new President.
Many people do not agree with this. Personally, I believe that the Zimbabweans have been presented with a fresh opportunity to get things done well and climb up the ladder of development. Do I expect that things will change 100% within a period of 2 years or four years or five years? No. What I believe is that Zimbabweans have the rare chance to rewrite their history, and history will record all their effort to get things done. Getting this done will require so much and I have hope that Mnangagwa will change a lot for Zimbabweans.
The whole world is watching Zimbabwe and their new President. For me, what is more important is having the opportunity and getting started. I don't expect to see Mnangagwa accomplish all the dreams of his 16 million people in four years. That would amount to expecting magic to happen. What I expect him to do is to start the process which will be built upon by successive governments in order to achieve the Zimbabwe of their dream. There might be mistakes and temptations along the way, but with clear vision, commitment and transparency, the people of Zimbabwe will be placed on the path to greatness and bliss. Also, I expect that the new President will pluck what Nigerian politicians call the low hanging fruits that would solve some immediate problems and relieve his people and reassure them that they can believe in him.
One of the things I would like to see in Zimbabwe is electoral reforms. Granted, the new Zimbabwean President has on Friday during his swearing-in on Friday before 70,000 people promised to deliver free and fair elections and that the peoples' voice would be heard. This gives fresh hopes for the peace and political development of the people, especially as they prepare for the general elections next year, 2018.
The imperative of having free and fair elections in Zimbabwe as promised by President Mnangagwa was expressed by Elias Mudzuri, the Vice President of the opposition party, MDC, when he said on Friday: “It is important that we go into elections and the people are allowed to express themselves".
Born on September 15, 1942, President Emmerson Mnangagwa had played several roles in Zimbabwe, apart from being a strong ally to Mr. Mugabe. He was Minister for Rural Housing in 2005 and became Vice President in 2014. And as Minister of State during the Gukurahundi massacres that claimed thousands of lives of the people from Nebele, he courageously put the blames on the laps of the Zimbabwean Army. Add these to Mnangagwa's power sharing deal of 2008 to save his country from precipitation, you would see an honest and courageous man.
As a lawyer with huge political experience, honesty, vision and courage, which are political capital, I expect to see sweeping economic and judicial reforms delivered to the people of Zimbabwe. The hope of reforms in the economy was highlighted by the new President when he told his people that he would initiate land reforms to correct Mugabe's land policies that led to the violent seizure of thousands of white-owned farms from 2000. He said he would not reverse it but promised to compensate those affected. This will no doubt stimulate economic activities and restore hope and confidence in the people and their government.
The new hoped-for economic activities that will accomoany the economic reforms will create jobs for Zimbabweans, because no meaningful economic reforms would make sense if it cannot deliver jobs for the millions of Zimbabweans roaming the streets due to Mugabe's anachronistic policies.
The new Zimbabwean President is not aloof. He understands that job creation and meaningful employment is a critical factor in galvanizing the people to a great Zimbabwe. He has accordingly promised he would create jobs and make efforts to attract foreign investors to rejuvenate and grow the economy that has been stifled for decades.
Related to this is the hope that the new President will run an efficient fiscal regime that would see the advancement of their currency so that the people will have a good exchange rate and drive the economy. The economic reforms will also not make sense if the people are not empowered to drive the economy.
There is also the need to tackle head on the skyrocketing inflation in Zimbabwe that has defied Mugabeism. The people will have faith in their economy the day they begin to witness good exchange rate for their currency and gradual and steady decline in their inflation statistics to allow local participation.
As President Mnangagwa settles down for business, he is expected to build on the quality of education in Zimbabwe and ensure that the quality does not go down. May God help him to select efficient and dynamic cabinet members that will help him deliver.
But like the thirsty Zimbabweans, Imo people who have suffered anachronistic policies under Governor Okorocha's regime are yearning for a vista of opportunity in 2019 to reject everything associated with the Governor. This will include rejecting his son-in-law Uche Nwosu or any other person he may anoint to succeed him. Despite the differences in political leanings, Imo people agree that they do not want the Governor's in-law. They are not also amused by the succession politics of the Governor and therefore do not want any successor he might anoint.
This is the only way to truly rescue Imo State and chart a new course for the people of the state.

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