Do Zimbabwe's election results show a break from the repression of the past?

It’s been a punishing election week, after which I’m left to wonder; which is the real Zimbabwe.

Is it the Zimbabwe of the smoothly scripted president holding out an olive branch to his defeated rival and promising to unite the nation?

Or, is it the Zimbabwe of the army shooting protesters in the street and riot police breaking up a press conference by that same leader of the opposition?

Police break up a press conference held by Nelson Chamisa. Credit: AP

Emmerson Mnangagwa actually represents them both.

He’s Robert Mugabe’s henchman remodelled as the friendly face of a nation desperate to reconnect with the outside world because it needs the money.

In the end, it might be that Zimbabweans really are better off with the devil they know, rather than Mr Chamisa, who according to some independent analysis of the election results, really did lose.

But Mr Mnangagwa has a long way to go to convince many of his own people – and perhaps Britain and others will pause before they decide he really is someone they should do business with.