HARARE – When he got into power on the back of a military coup back in November 2017, President Emmerson Mnangagwa laid down a programme that would have been a marvel to listen to for any observer.
After being confirmed through the July 30, 2018 elections, albeit winning by a wafer-thin margin over MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, many thought Mnangagwa was finally going to deliver on his promises since he was getting a five-year term.
However, the major challenge has been the continued militarisation of certain functions of the State like policing.
On August 1, last year — following an otherwise peaceful campaign in which all political players could traversed the length and breadth of the country selling their messages — six people were killed by the army after they had been called in to help protests in the capital, Harare.
The over-reliance on the army in dealing with protests did not end there as last week during the stay-away, the army was again called in to assist an overwhelmed police force.
The result was another round of tragedies as about 12 people, according to estimates of rights groups, were killed.
Curiously, the latest tragedies occurred while Mnangagwa had just embarked — begging bowl in hand — on a tour of Eurasia that was supposed to take him to the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland.
Events back home must have dealt prospects of that trip a deadly blow for Mnangagwa had to end it prematurely saying he was coming back to sort out problems at home.
While the crackdown on opposition and civil society leaders has been roundly criticised, allegations of sexual assault on women in areas like Hopley and Epworth must also be investigated and the culprits brought to book.
The perpetrators cannot be let to roam the streets when they have committed such crimes.
The rape of defenceless women — carried out because someone was enjoying political power since they will be armed — is just unacceptable.
The saddest thing is that the assaults on innocent people, killings and rapes can never be condoned and they will definitely return to haunt the country. Mnangagwa has been trying to sell brand Zimbabwe to the outside world but going forward, this may be difficult because of what has been happening on the ground.
If anything, Zimbabwe will continue to be slammed as an outpost of tyranny, years after the departure of former president Robert Mugabe.