For many Zimbabweans, the word Davos has just entered mainstream discourse as news of President Mnangagwa’s debut appearance at the World Economic Forum held annually in this freezing Swiss city took centre stage. Davos is synonymous with the gathering of the world’s most powerful people in the capitalist world, from heads of State, business executives, celebrities and journalists.
This is why the ultimate honchos — looked at from here — would always be Donald J. Trump, America’s billionaire President and leader of the largest capitalist state; or the journalist Richard Quest of the CNN with his “CNN Money”.
That about sums it.
Rich men and women discussing money and seeking the continued survival of capitalism.
Which is why opinions and sentiment on the festival differ.
Those opposed to it — and would want a more equal and fairer world — stand against the precepts of capitalism, “free” markets, structural reforms and neoliberalism, among others.
They blame capitalism for impoverishing the majority of the world and increasing inequalities, something that hard-nosed capitalists and money people have no scruples about.
In fact, the bigger the poverty gap and the wealthier the wealthy get, the better for capitalists!
African countries who have gone to Davos have been accused of seeking to parade themselves before wealthy suitors who would then make rich pickings of resources and wealth of the poor countries while degrading and impoverishing them.
(And isn’t Donald Trump, with his record of treating women, a perfect metaphor in this?)
But there is a caveat when it comes to Zimbabwe.
The country is undergoing transition and wants to send a message out there that it is ready for investors after years of isolation.
The country needs investors and FDI.
The assumption is that we are a different proposition and we know our worth.
We are the only country in Africa that has resisted the open looting of our resources in the past two decades, although the isolation has not been so splendid.
Now we can strut with confidence for suitors.
There are risks and opportunities.
Just like in any business, including the business of courtship where some virginity may end up being breached.
But President Mnangagwa acquitted himself well at the meet. He preached that Zimbabwe was open for business.
He met some important people such as business executives and the two top women at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The reports that we got from Davos indicated that there was considerable interest in Zimbabwe and the trajectory that the country is taking under the new administration of President Mnangagwa. There was no way he was going to be the centre of attraction or rival to President Trump, coming from, as he is, a small Southern African outpost.
However, many of his supporters and Zimbabwean optimists will look at the event with positivity not least symbolised by the good coverage the President received from traditionally hostile Western media outlets such as BBC and CNN. At the time of going to print we were waiting for his interview with Richard Quest.
The world has been watching and listening to President Mangagwa’s every word.
People are looking for signs of a “new” Zimbabwe and luckily for President Mnangagwa, there is a lot of goodwill flowing his way.
There is an election coming soon — he wants that in four or five months — and it will mark the start of his full term.
There is little stopping him.
Not with the fractured and fragmenting opposition that we have, whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai is battling life-threatening illness.
The rumour mill has even been indulging in the grave and morbid.
We pray for the best.
As President Mnangagwa is gaining traction and indeed positive momentum, we cannot help, but notice some desperate people trying to derail him.
It is natural, though, we must admit.
It is the nature of our polarising politics.
We also notice that even foreigners have been trying to set the agenda and engage the President on the past, and especially on the Gukurahundi issue, the internal conflict of the early to mid-1980s that was addressed by the Government of the day which, following wide consultations and political processes, enunciated a national unity Government comprising the main players in the conflict which represented political and ethnic dynamics.
The President has signed a law that is likely to set up mechanisms to address this ugly past for good.
He has also insisted that the events were a collective responsibility of the Government of the day and expressed sentiment to let bygones be bygones.
But it’s not going to be easy, both by the technicality of addressing the issues and fighting the political dust that some people are going to kick up around the issue.
Then, outside of the genuine opposition that confronts President Mnangagwa you have such characters as one Patrick Zhuwao, nephew to former President Robert Mugabe.
Zhuwao is among very few people who are failing to come to terms with the popular removal of his uncle from power.
He was, after all, a key member of the G40 cabal that abused the veteran leader and sought to usurp his powers.
Zhuwao had no known power base except his filial ties to the First Family which propped up the G40.
The G40 grew so drunk of power that, led by the garrulous former First Lady, Mrs Grace Mugabe, they felt the world at their feet.
When events that ushered out Cde Mugabe happened last year, Zhuwao was caught in denial and he sounded so out of touch when he predicted, on some South African news station, that Operation Restore Legacy and the popular uprising against his uncle would fail.
Even more bizarrely, he claimed that they were going to fight to the death “for what is right”.
Now we have the Government of President Mnangagwa — the man his faction vowed would not be Zimbabwe’s leader — Zhuwao is behaving like a mad, barking dog.
He is crying for attention.
He is deluded.
He is dreaming of what he is calling “#2018Resistance” which he is imagining to be “gaining traction”.
New Zimbabwe, the G40 linked website, is giving him acres of space.
And in that space Zhuwao has bared his tortured and tormented delusions.
We were amused earlier in the week when he claimed that he was going to Davos to embarrass President Mnangagwa and prevent any deals with him.
“The business community in Zimbabwe and internationally should take heed and be warned that there is massive and significant traction for the “#2018Resistance to Kleptocratic Primitive Accumulation” of the coup conspirators and terrorist junta,” he fumed.
And then, without any sense of irony, he schools us:
“A dictionary definition of kleptocracy is ‘a government or state in which those in power exploit national resources and steal; rule by a thief or thieves.’ Among its manifestations are nepotism and dictatorship.”
We were going to laugh out loud, but then Zhuwao genuinely needs the help of a psychiatric nature.
Good luck to him!
Article Source: The Herald