Optimism and winces: Zimbabwe's new future?

The most optimistic and magnanimous words spoken yesterday came from Robert Mugabe:



"If you were my enemy yesterday, today we are bound by the same patriotic duty and destiny." They were not spoken by the 84-year-old autocrat, instead, they were quoted back to him by Zimbabwe’s new prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai.

The former union leader confronted his rival with the older man’s own eloquence, spoken in 1980 after the end of white rule. Mr Tsvangirai used the words this time to reach out to the same leadership that has had him beaten, imprisoned and charged with treason, but with whom he will now share power. Prime Minister Mugabe entered office 28 years ago with an appeal to the white community to stay and to reconcile. If Mr Tsvangirai’s quote was an attempt to appeal to anything that remains of that liberation hero, it did not work.

When it came time for Mr Mugabe to speak there was no looking forward, only back to the same anti-colonial rants that have marked his public appearances in recent years. There was the same paranoia and misrepresentations of political violence, blaming the beatings and murders on the victims. And a total denial of responsibility for the current state of the country.

The rhetorical gap represented the actual divide between a new administration intent on addressing the economic crisis and an old administration intent on acting as though nothing had changed. While a queue of potential foreign donors from the IMF to the EU have promised a rescue package to refloat the economy they have also made it clear that this will not happen until there is a clear demonstration of the political will to overhaul the disastrous past policies. Only one side was prepared to even speak about this.

Mr Tsvangirai openly blamed the "policies of the past", while Mr Mugabe insisted all woes were "created by former colonial powers."

The tensions that have punctuated the talks process with walkouts and violent disagreements were close to the surface again yesterday with new prime minister wincing through the president’s tirade. It is hard not to see this is a precursor of their working relationship.

There are a number of key audiences waiting for a clear signal from Harare to return. The aid agencies who were recently barred and have begun – in part – to return; the once thriving Zimbabwean media, which has operated in exile; and the millions of ex-pat Zimbabweans watching. So far only one half of the new government is giving them a reason to come back.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Call Handler

£14500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a Sales Ca...

Recruitment Genius: Support Worker

£14560 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers unique pers...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor