By Emmanuel Nduka
80-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa who became Zimbabwe’s second president after outmaneuvering long-time ruler Robert Mugabe with a military-backed coup in 2017, is showing no signs of wanting to retire.
Mnangagwa ‘The Crocodile’, as he is fondly called because of his ruthlessness, has been adjudged more autocratic than his predecessor and lacking Mugabe’s intellectual flair and ideological vision.
He is now seeking to cement his leadership in an election few expect to be free and fair.
Having presided over a collapsing economy marked by hyperinflation, unemployment, and corruption allegations, critics say he has moved to silence dissent and clamp down on the opposition.
“He is a very repressive, authoritarian figure,” said Brian Raftopoulos, a Zimbabwean political researcher.
Mnangagwa was appointed president after a battle to secure the top job ahead of Mugabe’s wife Grace that he initially looked to have lost.
Heritage Times HT recalls that in 2017, then 93-year-old Mugabe dismissed Mnangagwa as vice president, clearing the way for the first lady.
Scared for his life, the veteran hardliner made a dramatic escape across the border to Mozambique.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe remains internationally isolated, its leadership targeted by Western sanctions. Mnangagwa blames the sanctions for the country’s woes.