A banana vendor pushes his wares as he passes a local bank in central Harare. Picture: Philimon Bulawayo

Harare - Zimbabwe has already moved into the post-Robert Mugabe era, according to veteran academic Ibbo Mandaza, speaking in Johannesburg this week.

Mandaza, who runs a political think tank in Harare and hosts many public debates, said the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) now involved in another round of internal squabbles was “washed up”.

He said Zimbabweans must help rebuild their country under Zanu-PF, and ensure the country re-entered the international community so it could also raise foreign loans to rebuild the economy.

“If the transition (from Mugabe to the next president when he retires or dies) is constitutional, it will therefore be peaceful. That point needs to be emphasised.”

President Robert Mugabe, 90, and the Zanu-PF government have, since the elections, made concessions from their wild, but successful election policy pledges.

The government says it will rewrite some contentious legislation, such as “indigenisation” laws, to smooth the way for foreign direct investment.

Zanu-PF Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa repeatedly says in public that the government will not bring back the Zimbabwe dollar for the foreseeable future.

Zimbabwe mainly uses the US dollar and the rand after years of hyperinflation.

Mandaza was speaking at a briefing of the political and economic climate in Zimbabwe since last year’s elections on July 31.

He also referred to what many report as infighting ahead of Zanu-PF’s December congress between factions loyal to Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

He says the strife “is more of an invention of the media than the reality”.

“We should not despair. We are already in the post-Mugabe era.

“We need to prepare arduously for that post-Mugabe era.”

He said until the next elections in 2018, any major changes would come from Zanu-PF.

Mandaza says Zimbabwe has lost 50 percent of its skilled personnel and claimed that more than 100 were in senior ranks within Old Mutual in South Africa, and that British Rail employed 110 Zimbabwe engineers, while many held senior posts at the universities of Cape Town and the Witwatersrand.

“Few countries could survive such an exodus,” he said.

Mandaza challenged Zimbabwe’s diaspora to remain involved with their country and criticised the MDC for failing to mobilise this sector when most of those living outside Zimbabwe were either pro-MDC or anti-Zanu-PF.

He said the diaspora demonstrated its continuing involvement with Zimbabwe by sending home R18 billion annually in an economy of only R40 billion. - Independent Foreign Service

The Mercury