When it was reported that Ms Petina Gappah, the Zimbabwean international law expert and author, organised President Emmerson Mnangagwa World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland; I thought she was being very naïve.
President Mnangagwa went to Davos to woo investors and financial institutions to return to Zimbabwe after two decades of shying away. “Zimbabwe is open for business!” President Mnangagwa told everyone who cared to listen.
“You said that you need to correct for the bad economic situation Zimbabwe found itself in,” he was asked in one of the interviews he gave in Davos. “You pointed to international isolation. You would acknowledge, would you not, that it was also bad decisions by the Zimbabwe government over many years?
“The government, the ruling part; of whom you had been a key figure for many years, in many role; that made those bad decision?”
“That is correct!” President Mnangagwa ready agreed but only to bring in the land issue in the next breath – proof President Mnangagwa and his Junta regime were not ready to acknowledge the truth about Zanu PF’s dictatorial tendencies much less abandon them!
Whilst President Mnangagwa was shrewd enough to acknowledge that Zanu PF needed to shed off its pariah-State imagine to attract foreign investors. It was also clear that he and his coup plotters were not prepared to give up the party’s dictatorial powers that had kept the regime in power since independence. That is why a Zimbabwean like Ms Gappah should have known President Mnangagwa and his Junta would not give up Zanu PF’s dictatorial powers, knowing these are the individuals who had been the heart and soul of the dictatorship all these years.
Soon after the November 2017 coup, President Mnangagwa went out of his way to promise that Zimbabwe would hold free, fair and credible elections. But that was lip-service to take the sting out of the reality of the coup.
The point is, there was really no point wasting time and money in wooing Western investors back to Zimbabwe when it was clear Zimbabwe was still being ruled by lawless thugs! It is therefore shocking that Ms Gappah should now be defending her decision to organise ED’s Davos jaunt.
"MDC is criticizing ED for necessary travel. How did they think the reengagement they proposed in their 2013 manifesto would work? Did they think Zim would be part of some global WhatsApp group? Is ED supposed to just retweet stuff from Munhumutapa and make lots of Facebook LOLs?" Ms Gappah twittered.
So even with the benefit of hindsight, Ms Petina Gappah still fails to recognise the ED regime as nothing more same pariah Zanu PF dictatorship or be it with a new leader. She is naïve but so naïve she cannot even realise that foreign investors are a very politically shrewd lot; they, alike her, were never fooled by such gimmicks as calling a coup a “military assisted transition!”