I am genuinely surprised by the degree of Mnangagwa naysaying that is echoing across social media in the wake of Mugabe’s resignation. Agreed – most of that is coming from people who are not here in Zimbabwe, living in this moment. But I wonder if these people have actually read what Mnangagwa is saying.

Mnangagwa writes to Mugabe

On Tuesday morning, Mnangagwa wrote an open letter to Mugabe, calling for his resignation. Of course, it was also an open letter to everyone.

Here is the part that is mostly obviously directed to the world (and for the record, none of the emphasis is mine):

NEVER SHOULD THE NATION BE HELD AT RANSON BY ONE PERSON EVER AGAIN, WHOSE DESIRE IS TO DIE IN OFFICE AT WHATEVER COST TO THE NATION. I look forward to returning home soon and to join in the struggle for the economic revival of our country which is so endowed with Agriculture, Industrial and Commerce, and Mining Opportunities and with a rich human resource bedrock to support our endeavours. My desire is join all Zimbabweans in a NEW ERA where corruption, incompetency, dereliction of duty and laziness, social and cultural decadency is not tolerated. In that new Zimbabwe it is important for everyone to join hands so that we rebuild this nation to its full glory, this is not a job for Zanu PF alone but for all people of Zimbabwe.


God bless Zimbabwe and I will see you soon in a free and democratic Zimbabwe full of hope, prosperity, peace and democracy for all people in this country white or black.”

Now, of course that is politics.

But it is also politics to be socialist. It is also politics to emphasize a “re-envisioning” of the policies of the past.

Those are missing from that speech.

Mnangagwa speaks

Here is part of last night’s speech at Zanu PF headquarters:

“I appeal to all genuine, patriotic Zimbabweans to come together, we work together. No one is more important than the other. We are all Zimbabweans. We want to grow our country. We want peace in our country. We want jobs, jobs, jobs! We need also the cooperation of our neighbours in Sadc, the cooperation of the continent of Africa, we need the cooperation of our friends outside the continent. That we shall achieve. I am already receiving messages of cooperation and support for us to grow our economy.”

Again, of course this is politics.

But this is the language of growth and openness – unlike the language of nativism and transformation that Zimbabweans are used to hearing.

And all that counts for something.

On the positivity dial, I am sitting somewhere between ‘hopeful’ and ‘recklessly optimistic’.

A Cynical Final Point

Now I know that the politic-speak will not impress those people who are already convinced that this is all just a game of “trading-places” at the trough. Well, I understand that fear.

But what I would say in response is: that trough has already been emptied.

Before anyone can start dipping into it again, it’ll need to be re-filled.  Which means that, even cynically-speaking, the new Mugabe-lite Zanu PF still has a deeply-vested interest in re-building the Zimbabwean economy.

And who knows how that process of rebuilding will change the ruling party?

After all, stranger things have happened in Zimbabwe.

Like a military coup that was declared constitutional by the man it removed from power.

And a mass uprising without a single renegade act of violence.

Rolling Alpha posts opinions on finance, economics, and sometimes things that are only loosely related. Follow me on Twitter @RollingAlpha, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rollingalpha. Also, check out the RA podcast on iTunes: The Story of Money.