Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Picture: REUTERS
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Picture: REUTERS

It’s little over two years since Zimbabweans took to the streets to celebrate the resignation of Robert Mugabe — forced from office by his own armed forces. In that time, public support for President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his administration has grown increasingly silent.

It’s not hard to see why: the economy is in free-fall and famine looms, yet the government displays a singular indifference to its people.

At its most benign, Mnangagwa’s administration tinkered around the edges while watching the economy flatline. As drought stalked the country, it allocated the bulk of its funds for 2020 to shore up the military and war veterans. Those same security forces mete out a heavy-handed "justice" in the service of their political masters.

Having cowed the citizenry into apathy through privation and intimidation, Mnangagwa has now set about eliminating political threats to his rule. On New Year’s Eve, he gazetted the removal of the "running mate" clause from the constitution. Set to come into effect in 2023, it would have meant a joint presidential ticket — a publicly elected deputy rather than a sock-puppet dependent on presidential whim for political survival. When that consolidation of power is complete, Mnangagwa will look more like Mugabe than ever.