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The people will one day demand Mnangagwa's corpse, Mugabe warns

by ZimLive
25 Feb 2019 at 08:12hrs | Views
Former President Robert Mugabe has warned his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa that civilians being killed by the military under his command will one day demand his death in the same way.

Mugabe, celebrating his 95th birthday at his home on Saturday afternoon in front of family and friends who included the former governor of the Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono, invoked his late deputies Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika as he called on soldiers not to kill people.

"Some believe being a leader entails murdering people. That's not it. Nkomo, Muzenda and I did not create the army to kill people. The army does not lead politics," Mugabe, who spoke for 46 minutes, told his audience.

"Now we hear there are countless graves of people killed by the army, who is going to unearth or exhume those bodies?

"Zvamurikuita izvi zvichakudzokerai, mangwana, mangwana, chaiwo! (What you are doing, killing people, will come back to haunt you very, very soon. It will catch up with you)."

Mugabe, deposed by Mnangagwa in a military coup in November 2017, was accused of masterminding the killing of thousands of people during his 37-year reign, but he used an interview with journalists in July last year to pin the killings on Mnangagwa, whom he claimed often acted contrary to orders.

Mnangagwa cracked down hard on post-election protests last year when six people were shot in Harare following the deployment of the army. At least 35 others were treated for gunshot wounds.

Last month, on January 14, nationwide fuel protests were violently put down by the military, and human rights groups have documented at least 17 deaths and nearly 80 other people treated for gunshot wounds. Over 1,000 people were arrested in the operation which included door-to-door raids.

Mugabe, who turned 95 on February 21, said: "He who's obsessed with seeing corpses everyday will one day wake up to find people clamouring to also see his corpse. I say to the soldiers stop killing people… be followers of the people you want to lead, you are not even qualified to lead them. Take your place in the barracks in recognition that you are not trained to lead but to follow the people, to protect them.

"No! No! No, to soldiers being leaders of the people. Get the soldiers in their rightful place (the barracks). People should love their army, they should not fear the army.

"We want people to collectively feel this is a country they fought for, not one that was fought for by soldiers alone. This is not the environment we wanted to create with Msika and Nkomo. We wanted people to be happy. When we began our struggle (for independence), we had principles and those principles have been abandoned."

It is only the second time since Mugabe was ousted that he has shared his opinions about the political situation in the country.

After he voiced support for opposition leader Nelson Chamisa on the eve of elections last year, he upset Zanu-PF officials who called for him to be stripped of various honours, including demands that the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport be renamed.

Mnangagwa resisted the push, making deliberate overtures to get Mugabe on his side. The strategy appeared to have worked, with Mugabe congratulating Mnangagwa after he claimed a disputed election win. The spirit of reciprocity continued when Mnangagwa sent a private jet to fly Mugabe's wife, Grace, to Zimbabwe from Singapore where she was undergoing treatment following her mother's death.

Mnangagwa said last November that "whatever he asks for, we will provide" in reference to Mugabe, who was then undergoing treatment in Singapore.

Mugabe appeared to suggest Mnangagwa was "cruel" on Saturday, and made clear he was not afraid of any vindictive actions his former protégé may take.

"You who is at the top, you beat up your chest and exalt yourself. You are not God, ED (Mnangagwa). Today, you are at the top, tomorrow you will be at the bottom. You must know that. God has his own way of punishing rogues and cruel people," Mugabe said.

"You can't do without seeing dead bodies? What kind of a person are you, who survives on death?

"We will not shy away or be afraid to talk, no! Let's be frank with each other. We can't continue having our people being bashed on the head. So, I say to you, get your lessons correct. Let's create an environment where our people are happy, not what's happening now. I'm telling you without fear or favour. I don't care what will happen to me.

"We are one people, Zimbabweans. Leaders are duty-bound to treat citizens like God's people, not beasts of the forest."

Mugabe, noting the presence of Mnangagwa's spies in the tent, said he thanked them for "coming to listen," while enjoying to feel at home and enjoy the food.

The former President was driven a shot distance to a marquee that had been put up for the event. He was supported by his wife, Grace, as he walked gingerly to take his seat. Mnangagwa previously told the country Mugabe now moved around in a wheelchair.

Following the speeches, guests were entertained by various music groups including Mafikizolo from South Africa.

(Mugabe's comments supplied by the family's publicist and journalist, Jealous Mawarire)

Source - ZimLive