Mnangagwa Prints Own Face Onto SADC Logo And Appoints Self Mutapa Continental President
22 June 2024
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Shadows over Harare: The SADC Summit

By Farai D Hove | ZimEye | The air in Harare is thick with anticipation as the SADC Summit approaches. As the President of a neighboring nation, the decision to attend is weighing heavily on your mind. The invitation from Emmerson Mnangagwa, now self-styled as the Supreme Head of the ancient Mutapa Kingdom’s fund, is laden with unspoken complexities. His recent boast about the headquarters being established in the former residence of the late Morgan Tsvangirai—a property he had gifted Tsvangirai just before his untimely death—is casting a long, dark shadow over the event.

SADC Summit bus with Mnangagwa’s face

A Packed Agenda

Mnangagwa’s agenda for the summit is ambitious. Highlights include a tour of the controversial Geo Pomona waste management operations, managed by Delish Nguwaya, a notorious figure linked to the First Family. The tour is scheduled to be followed by the grand opening of the SADC Liberation Square at the Museum of African Liberation and a public lecture by Mnangagwa himself on building research capacity and innovation ecosystems for a sustainable industrialized SADC economy.

Morgan Tsvangirai home

Harare Under Construction

Preparations in Harare are moving swiftly. Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development FT Mhona is reporting significant progress in civil works, with water, sewer, and electricity infrastructures being synchronized, and road and accommodation projects nearing completion. The new Parliament Building in Mount Hampden and the executive villas—destined to become part of a five-star hotel—are key focal points.

Underlying Tensions

Yet, beneath the surface, tensions are simmering. The Mnangagwa regime’s penchant for grandiosity is masking deeper issues. The Geo Pomona project, fronted by Nguwaya, symbolizes the corruption and power struggles endemic to Mnangagwa’s rule. The poisoning of Tsvangirai, whose former residence now symbolically houses the new fund headquarters, is a reminder of the dangers lurking in the political shadows.

The Day of Reckoning

On the morning of August 18, the city is a blend of frantic activity and nervous anticipation. As the Heads of State begin to arrive, you are remaining undecided. The road to the summit is lined with Mnangagwa-regalia, a visual testament to his iron grip on power. The newly paved streets and shining infrastructure are stark contrasts to the whispers of dissent and fear among the populace.

The Summit Unfolds

Inside the summit, Mnangagwa’s demeanor is as unyielding as ever. The tour of the Geo Pomona site is highlighting state-of-the-art waste management, yet the presence of armed guards is a subtle reminder of the authoritarian control behind the façade. The opening of the SADC Liberation Square is a grand affair, but the legacy of the past and the uneasy present are looming large.

A Climactic Lecture

The true climax is coming with Mnangagwa’s public lecture at the University of Zimbabwe. The hall is filled with delegates, scholars, and the media. Mnangagwa is speaking passionately about innovation and industrialization, painting a picture of a prosperous future for the SADC region. “Our future lies in the hands of our innovators,” he declares, “and it is through unity and resilience that we will build a sustainable, industrialized SADC.”

But as he speaks, you can’t shake the feeling of foreboding—the sense that his words are a veneer over a deeply fractured reality. One of your aides leans in and whispers, “Remember, sir, not everything that glitters is gold.”

Decision Time

As the lecture concludes, the summit’s success is hanging in the balance. Mnangagwa’s vision is compelling, but the undercurrents of corruption, fear, and historical grievances are threatening to undermine it. The decision to participate in this summit, to endorse Mnangagwa’s vision, is fraught with risk. Yet, to abstain is to potentially isolate your nation from the regional bloc’s future.

In the end, the choice is lying between pragmatism and principle, between engaging with a flawed system to seek change from within or standing apart in silent protest. The SADC Summit in Harare is more than a gathering of leaders—it is a crucible, testing the integrity and foresight of every nation involved.