Zimbabwe has officially elected its president: Emmerson Mnangagwa won the country's first major election since the ouster of longtime strongman Robert Mugabe, according to formal results released by the country's electoral commission.
Commissioners announced that he beat a field of some two dozen other candidates, earning 50.8 percent of the vote.
However, Emmerson Mnangagwa, the man who will take Zimbabwe into its new future, is not the fresh new face of the future of Zimbabwe, but the ugly face of its past.
Emmerson Mnangagwa was not just a longtime ally of former President Robert Mugabe and a senior member of the ruling ZANU–PF party, he was also Mugabe's protege and designated successor, that is until Mugabe's wife came between them and forced him to flee the country.
Mnangagwa was Zimbabwe’s vice president but fled for his safety after Mugabe sacked him two weeks ago. The sacking prompted the army to seize power, the ruling party ZANU-PF chose Mnangagwa as its leader and Mugabe resigned on Tuesday.
Mnangagwa inherits an economy in tatters. An estimated 95 percent of the workforce is unemployed, public infrastructure is crumbling and there are widespread shortages of cash and food. Many of the country’s woes are rooted in Mugabe’s support for the seizure of white-owned farms, which slashed agricultural production, export earnings and tax revenue.
Emmerson Mnangagwa (left) with Robert Mugabe, notice Mnangagwa's shirt.
He was central to some of the worst atrocities, corruption and abuses of the Mugabe regime and was even targeted by US and the EU sanctions in 2000 after he helped Mugabe forge the 2000 parliamentary elections, and crush the subsequent massive protests which resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.
After Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, he directed a crackdown on opposition supporters that claimed thousands of lives in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
He was internal security chief in the mid-1980s when Mugabe deployed a North Korean-trained brigade against rebels during which 20,000 to 30,000 civilians, including women and children were killed, according to Human rights groups.
A US diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks in 2008 claimed Mnangagwa had amassed “extraordinary wealth” during Zimbabwe’s 1998 intervention in gold- and diamond-rich Democratic Republic of Congo.
For Over 40 Years, Mnangagwa served Robert Mugabe with outmost dedication; he was in charge of the massacre of Ndebele people & later, land grab from White Zimbabweans and the destruction of Zimbabwe's economy, freedom of speech, democratic institutions and civil society.
And now he's the new president of Zimbabwe, or as some would say, the "new Mugabe".
As an example of how things are run today in the "new" Zimbabwe, in August this year the police cracked down on anti gov protesters, by brutally beating them and later arresting many.