The elation that greeted the end of Robert Mugabe’s 37-year reign naturally enough transformed into hopes for his successor. And in his first 100 days, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa spoke of re-engaging, forgiveness, democracy and unity. But though words matter, so does the survival of a system that destroyed the hopes and dreams of generations. For four decades, Zimbabwe’s new President was the protégé of the dictator he eventually deposed. Mnangagwa says very little of his own volition. He waits for you to speak and only responds when absolutely necessary. As Mugabe learned, he is extremely patient, choosing his moments of response or retaliation carefully. Mugabe described him as a man who does not forgive or forget very easily. Maybe that’s why for years, Mnangagwa has kept his liberation war nickname, the Crocodile. The undeniable paradox of Zimbabwe’s moment of healing is that the doctor was once the butcher.
Mawarire is a Zimbabwean pastor and democratic activist