MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was sworn in as Zimbabwe's president earlier on Friday, might be very similar to the former Zimbabwean leader, as the two have been working closely together for a long time, and might push for change simply to win the 2018 presidential election, Dr. Maxwell Zeb Shumba, President of the opposition Zimbabwe People First Party (ZimFirst), told Sputnik.
"We can read from his behavior that he may not be different from Mugabe because he worked in the same party with Mugabe yesterday. So even if he is able to bring change, I think it will be done to ensure that he wins an election and buys another five years," Shumba, who said he would run for the presidency in 2018, stated.
According to Shumba, it is unclear whether Zimbabwe "replaced Mugabe the man, or… Mugabe’s ideas."
At the same time, the official said that his party won't oppose Mnangagwa's ideas, though it does not have any special enthusiasm for the incoming leader, thus the party will take part in 2018 parliamentary election.
"We are going to prosecute [Mnangagwa] in the public domain, what he stands for, and we are going to allow ourselves to be prosecuted, in the same manner, for what we stand for. I think that’s democracy. So if a quick return to democracy is what we are looking for, [Mnangagwa] has a short span in the presidency, and we will be watching closely," ZimFirst leader said.
Mnangagwa has already publicly hailed the beginning of a new democracy in the country and stressed to his supporters the importance of jobs and the economy.
ZimFirst Future Political Plans
According to Shumba, ZimFirst wants to secure the support of both voters and the international community as "untainted, clean" political power representing a break from tradition.
"My remarks, these are directed to Zimbabweans who are angry and in despair, hoping it’s the end of the road…We want them to look at us, ZimFirst, untainted, clean and fresh. We need all Zimbabweans and the international community to support ZimFirst, which does not represent more of the same, which represents fresh ideas," Shumba said.
The head of ZimFirst stressed that hope was not lost and the party was willing to bring about significant changes, adding that "fear has been removed" from people thanks to the latest developments in the country.
"When people poured into the streets, for the first time demonstrating no restraint, they knew they tasted the people’s power. And that’s going to drive people in their demand for free and fair elections. And I think any positive developments will come if there are free and fair elections which brings to the fore a legitimate government. That’s where we come in," Shumba added.
Later on, he was nominated by the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party, which reinstated him as a party member after his removal by Mugabe. The former president and his wife, in their turn, have reportedly been granted immunity from prosecution and guarantees of a safe stay in the country.