Zimbabweans urge Mnangagwa to turn words into action

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Perseverance Javangwe

Zimbabweans have urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to fulfill his promises of being a friend to all and enemy to none at home first before trying to appease the other countries, citing that charity begins at home and ends where it started.

Mnagangwa’s regime has been marred with violence, repressive laws that hinder democracy, a clampdown on the civic space, and arbitrary arrests of journalists and human rights activists. Since taking power from Robert Mugabe in 2017, the Mnangagwa administration has failed to live up to its mantra of being a ‘new dispensation.’ The new dispensation as it is famously called has deepened Zimbabwe’s economic struggles, enabled endemic corruption, fueled instability, and targeted opposition leaders.

In addition to the above Mnangagwa continuously give an impressive picture of his government’s actions and intentions but without clear action on the ground. Speaking during the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly high-level debate Mnangagwa said that his government desires to create friends across the globe.

“At the International level, Zimbabwe has adopted an engagement and re-engagement policy. The policy is under-pined by the principles of mutual understanding and respect cooperation partnership and shared values with other members of the international community. We desire to be a friend to all and an enemy to none. As my government continues to entrench democracy, good governance, and the rule of law, we are committed to vibrant and peaceful contestations,” said Mnagagwa.

Great as this may sound, it is disheartening for Zimbabweans who view Mnangagwa as a hypocrite who makes friends internationally yet back home he is doing the opposite. The country’s economic situation has forced many parents especially males to leave behind their families in search of greener pastures abroad. This has resulted in the breaking up of marriages and even the struggle for some children who grow up without their parents.

“As we try to make friends with outsiders, we should do much better at home. We should make peace between and among ourselves. No one should be trashed or treated badly. Those arrested for various crimes should be promptly brought to court and tried or released. It is an injustice to keep a person in prison for 9months only to be found innocent. As we preach friendship outside let us practice peace and unity to our black Zimbabweans brothers and win the trust of the outsiders,” says Batsirayi Mazibiye.

“You are an enemy of the people back home, charity begins at home and ends where it started. I wish you could turn words into action. By engaging with other states Zimbabwe will be a friend to all and an enemy to its citizens,” added Mukwacha Sydney while commenting on Facebook.

While expressing his intent on climate change in 2021 during one of his speeches, Mnangagwa said that his government had plans for making Zimbabwe a “middle-income country by the end of this decade, helping thousands out of poverty, stimulating innovation and once again allowing Zimbabwe to play a leading role on the African continent. This time around during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly Debate he expressed his intent on climate change citing that his government is creating an ‘ambitious program’ but blaming lack of finance for slowing the transition to renewable energy.

“Financing for climate change has remained inadequate, leaving the scope of an effective just transition to renewable energies among developing countries under serious threat.

“Zimbabwe is making deliberative efforts to integrate climate action into our national policies strategies and planning, this includes strengthening resiliency and capacity of the most vulnerable in our society. My government is implementing an ambitious program to increase the number of dams for irrigation. The program is expected to create a green belt across the country as we reduce the dependence on rain-fed agriculture.

“The provision of technical extension services for improved land and water use has seen wide-spread adoption of climate-smart agriculture innovation with an evident upward increase of incomes amongst communal and smallholder farmers as well as women and youths in agriculture,” he said.

Though it is commendable that Mnangagwa is committed to tackling climate change and reducing emissions by 40% before 2030, what is worrying to many Zimbabweans is his claim that he is working for climate justice in the country. This remains questionable. Furthermore, Mnangagwa continues to blame the sanctions by the EU and US on Zimbabwe as the main obstacles in front of the government’s progressive agenda.

“…the ongoing effects of the illegal sanctions continue to hamper and slow down our progress and realization of sustainable and inclusive development,” he said.

However, brittle his speech may sound there is a wide gap between the progressive rhetoric and the reality that is on the ground as expressed by Zimbabweans at home.

“It is my desire to see people having freedom of speech, people being allowed to demonstrate, and human rights of citizens not being abused. The problem with the president is that he always talk great things but does the opposite, it is not a secret that people are sick and tired of him. This is why people keep running away from their country. When will the people of Zimbabwe be refugees in other countries? Furthermore, people in rural areas still get assistance when voting. People clad in party (ZANU-PF) regalia bragging about it. It is not good for anyone. I wish you could turn words into action,” said Taruberekera Masara.

Contrary to the picture that Mnangagwa is painting at the UN General Assembly, the greatest hindrance to Zimbabwe doing well is not just the foreign sanctions. Yes, the sanctions are there, but what cannot be denied is the fact that Mangagwa’s negative actions are a great distraction to economic, social, and political freedom in Zimbabwe.


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