24/11/2017 09:39 SAST | Updated 24/11/2017 10:30 SAST

'Emmerson Mnangagwa Might Just Be Another Robert Mugabe' -- Analyst

"If there is going to be a change, it will be by a long shot."

Mike Hutchings / Reuters
Zimbabwe's president-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa.


While gleeful Zimbabweans celebrate the dawn of a new era under incoming president Emmerson Mnangagwa, political analyst Ralph Mathekga believes he could possibly be another dictator who will merely continue former president Robert Mugabe's atrocities.

Mathekga references Mnangagwa's military history and loyalty to the governing party as some of the warning signs.

"He is not an outsider; if there is going to be a change, it will be by a long shot... he is one of the senior [Zanu-PF] leaders, it will be big surprise if he makes major changes," he told HuffPost on Thursday.

He believes people "should not get carried away" and remember that Mnangagwa comes from a "repressive party" that has alienated many Zimbabweans.

According to Mathekga, as long as Zanu-PF does not form strong ties with opposition parties, there will be no true change in the country.

"The only way he can be taken seriously is to think outside the party and restore democratic processes in Zimbabwe," Mathekga said.

"Emmerson can learn from how Mugabe was removed through the military, Zanu PF and students protests".

Political analyst Daniel Silke reckons while there are valid reasons "to be suspicious of Mnangagwa because of [his] history, Zimbabweans have already had a taste of freedom in the past week. He [Mnangagwa] would not put the genie back in the bottle, [that] would be highly dangerous".

"I am optimistic he will play a more strategic game".

However, Silke thinks Mnangwagwa will still stay true to his roots.

"He will always look after the interests of Zanu-PF and maintain the grip that the party has on Zimbabweans," he said.

Silke also believes there will be new policies to lift the country out of its economic woes.

"The Zimbabwean economic meltdown needs to be arrested and tough economic decisions need to be made. There is a realism within Zanu-PF that things need to change," he said.

Unisa professor Shadrack Gutto said if Mnangagwa was "anything different from Robert Mugabe, it would be beautiful".

According to Gutto, Mnangagwa has "made all the right noises promising a better government to Zimbabweans". He says Mnangagwa will not be another Mugabe because he saw how the former president was ousted.

"[Mnangagwa] can learn from how Mugabe was removed through the military, Zanu-PF and students protesting against [his reign]".