‘Robert Mugabe, Emmerson Mnangagwa cut from same cloth’

It would be a mistake for the Zimbabweans to support a government backed by the military.

The military is likely to change the government again through the barrel of a gun if things do not go their way.

Human Rights Watch Southern Africa director Dewa Mavhinga, of Zimbabwe, gave the warning in Johannesburg yesterday during a discussion on the unfolding events in Zimbabwe.

“The system has not yet dismantled. We should not make a mistake that this was the revolution and everything is fine overnight,” he said.

“It was the military that reversed the will of the people when it orchestrated widespread electoral violence ahead of the June 2008 presidential run-off elections.

“The violence of the military is well-documented.”

His comments came as Zimbabwe embarks on a new chapter following the resignation of Robert Mugabe as president of the country.

Former vice-president  Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was sacked by Mugabe earlier this month, was expected to be sworn in as new president tomorrow.

However, Mavhinga said Mugabe and Mnangagwa were cut from the same cloth.

“These are allies who have just turned on each other.”

A Zimbabwean activist and leader of the #Shevotes campaign, Maureen Kademaunga, was also unimpressed by the military intervention.

“The legacy they are talking about is the oppressive system they want to maintain,” she said. “They changed the head and brought someone else.”

She pleaded with the military to serve the people, saying Mugabe and his “unruly” wife Grace may be gone but Zimbabwe has a long way to go.

She also said the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) had failed to deliver political solutions to challenges faced by African countries. “People have lost faith in SADC and AU.”

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President Jacob Zuma is the chairman of SADC.

Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum veteran Venetia Govender said Zimbabwe was entering a transitional phase. “It will continue to be a struggle to ensure that the narrative of the Zimbabwean people is on the agenda,” Govender said.

The Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum is a network movement of a number of progressive South African civil society organisations.