Former Morgan Tsvangirai’s ally Eddie Cross believes his former mentor’s nemesis President Emmerson Mnangagwa has turned a new leaf and is on the right track, subtly endorsing him as a viable candidate for the July 30 polls.
Mnangagwa plunges into his first presidential election at the end of this month with the prospect of facing stiff competition from the country’s biggest opposition coalition, the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance. Cross, who as an MDC official spent close to two decades trying to dislodge Zanu-PF, says since the military-assisted transition in November last year which dislodged former president Robert Mugabe and led to Mnangagwa’s ascendence to the presidency “our world has certainly changed and it is very noticeable.
“We have more freedom than at any time since the Rhodesian government clamped down on the nationalists and detained most of them in 1964. The repressive laws adopted at that time were never dismantled by … Mugabe who then used them to repress all opposition in his efforts to establish a one party State,” Cross wrote on his blog.
“… We do not have to ask the police for permission to meet, we do not feel that we are being watched or followed when we go about our business, the sense of repression and fear has almost dissipated. It’s a process that has not been formalised (and it’s not permanent until it is) but it’s real and even our visitors from abroad feel the difference when they enter the country.”
For good measure Mnangagwa has also opened his door to advice from the renowned economist.
“….We have 40 000 or more people trying to win a seat in these elections, 23 of them want to be president. The other day I had an appointment with our current President at 09.00hrs in the morning. I eventually saw him at 11.30. He was not well, had a streaming cold and was completely exhausted. Just look at the above and ask yourself, would anyone want this burden?” Cross said.
“Not me, but the key element is discovering how to work together and get the best minds and people on the job. Zimbabwe will not overcome its many difficulties and problems unless we learn to work together as a great big team.”
The sitting Member of Parliament for Bulawayo East who is not standing in the forthcoming elections however, noted that there are still problems with regards to access to the Zimbabwe Electoral Servers.
He is also concerned with the freedom of the voters to exercise their democratic rights in secrecy in a polling station and not face retribution afterwards.
“…many essential reforms to ensure a free and fair election are still not implemented. However, despite that, my friends in Zanu-PF tell me with a big smile — this election will be better that those in Kenya! They also say that it may not be free and fair in the classical sense, but it will be ‘smart’,” he said.