By Nancy Samuriwo, HourlyHits Reporter
ZAMBIA’S new President Hakainde Hichilema got an idea of how polarised Zimbabwean society is when he received massive bashing from perceived MDC Alliance supporters all night as they took their dislike of President Mnangagwa to Hichilema’s doorstep.
This was after Hichilema, who was sworn in on Tuesday, posted photos of himself and President Mnangagwa, and promised “continued cordial relations and increased economic diplomacy” with the Zimbabwean leader.
Hichilema made the same promises to regional leaders Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania, who were all in the photos shared.
However, the comments section immediately flashed red with Zimbabweans who made no effort to mask their displeasure with the tweet.
The tweet, published shortly before 9:00pm, generated lots of heat all night and unimpressed Zimbabweans stormed into the comments section in protest.
Hichilema was perceived by many especially in Zimbabwean opposition to be a close ally of MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa. While the close relationship between the two cannot be denied, some observers had warned that once he got into office, Hichilema would act just like any President as the office comes with straightjacket issues.
In the comments section, some threatened to “unfollow” his page while others demanded that he take down the photos of him with President Mnangagwa.
Some called for Hichilema to distance himself from “that one in a scarf”, referring to President Mnangagwa.
Some urged Hichilema to never befriend Mnangagwa if he wanted to stay out of trouble. “The one wearing a scarf shall be the source of your problems. You can either be his friend or his enemy, either way you are in trouble with that one. Good luck!”
Some described the Zimbabwean leader as a “war lord” who Hichilema must sup with using a long spoon.
They also urged Hichilema to, while he was still at it, urge his southern neighbour to hold free and fair elections in Harare.
Hichilema’s victory was seen as a boost for opposition movements. His regional political allies Mmusi Maimane and Chamisa, attended the inauguration.
The 59-year-old businessman-turned-politician outlined what he described as an “ambitious economic and social transformation agenda” that would see the country reach middle-income status.
Meanwhile, Hichilema has hit the ground running. Early this Thursday morning, he advised that he was already taking action to correct “errors” with the Zambian tax system, and also to fight the Covid-19.
“Good morning friends. On this, my second day as your servant, I wish to inform you that yesterday I assigned my economic team to begin evaluating tax reforms and remedying the numerous errors made in our country’s economic management,” he said.
“COVID 19 is still an issue and it isn’t only a threat to precious lives, it can threaten our efforts to revive our economy. I will appoint a “COVID Czar” to lead efforts in mitigating the pandemic and dealing with it more effectively.”