British Columbia

Zimbabwean presidential candidate speaks out from B.C. on Mugabe oust

A Kamloops man running as a candidate in Zimbabwe's 2018 presidential candidate fears military action won't bring with it the political change some are expecting.

Richard Kanyangu says that the removal of President Mugabe doesn't necessarily signal a political overhaul

Kamloops man Richard Kanyangu (L) is was set to run against incumbent president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe (R) in the 2018 Zimbabwe election. (Richard Kanyangu and Nasser Nasser/Associated Press)

A B.C. man  planning to run for the presidency of Zimbabwe says while the reign of longtime leader Robert Mugabe may be nearing its end, he is wary political change is coming to the African country. 

Mugabe is currently in custody after the Zimbabwe military took over the capital of Harare on Tuesday.

Kanyangu, a pastor and nurse living in Kamloops, B.C., planned to to run against Mugabe —one of the world's longest serving authoritarian rulers — in the upcoming 2018 election as a presidential candidate with the Unity Party of Zimbabwe.

"We might celebrate that Robert Mugabe is out, but it's just one of his friends coming in and they're just going to continue doing the same things," Kanyangu told Rick Cluff on The Early Edition.

"It is something that we knew would happen one way or the other. We don't obviously condone how it has happened but it needed to happen and we are grateful that lives have no been lost in the process."

Richard Kanyangu says he still plans to run in the 2018 presidential election. (Richard Kanyangu)

Kanyangu also stresses it's important to consider the timing of the military takeover.

"What has suddenly happened in the last two weeks is that people in power in the army have started facing the same challenges that normal people are facing … so for them to say they are doing it for the people is just trying to hide behind their finger. They're doing it for themselves."

Room for Change

Kanyangu says now is the time for the international community to get involved and help the people of Zimbabwe.

"We require and hope that out of this, the international community will put a mandate on whoever becomes the next president …  to actually allow international observers at the next elections," he said.

Kanyangu said he would like to see a commission overlook the Zimbabwe election process to "make sure that at the end of the day the elections are free and fair and that whoever is in power is in power because of the mandate given to them by the people, democratically."

He plans to continue his campaign for president despite the mounting political uncertainty. 

"Our mandate still remains that we need to run and make sure that there is proper change in Zimbabwe."

With files from The Early Edition