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Mugabe should stop taking Zimbabweans for granted

21 Mar 2018 at 05:22hrs | Views
Many people watched the Press conference held by former President Mr Robert Mugabe last week with keen interest. After his resignation as the country's leader in November last year, Mr Mugabe had spoken in bits and pieces, making it practically impossible to gauge his actual thoughts and intentions.

There had been a lot of media reports that left people with so many questions on what exactly he was up to.

A few days before, it had been reported that Mr Mugabe had a huge hand in the formation of the opposition National Patriotic Front (NPF).

He had posed for pictures inside his Blue Roof mansion in Borrowdale with the supposed leaders of the party, on the day it was announced its leader would be Brigadier-General Ambrose Mutinhiri (Retired).

This left people with no choice, but to conclude that the NPF was Mr Mugabe's baby, delivered right in his house.

So, when message began to circulate that he was speaking live on South Africa's SABC, many Zimbabweans tuned in.

But it turned out that the Press conference was a real fussy.

It is one thing to call the Press, but then it is quite another to start hiding the truth to your audience.

Throughout the Press conference, Mr Mugabe carefully skipped the important details of his resignation as the country's leader.

In fact, it was quite unbefitting that he never mentioned that he actually wrote a resignation letter.

Instead, he wanted his audience at the Press conference to believe that he was removed via a coup.

Yet, Mr Mugabe knows quite well that the intervention of the military to restore order in both Zanu-PF and Government could not have been termed a coup.

The military itself was clear on that.

The defence forces announced that they had intervened not to take over power, but in effect to prevent a small cabal from doing so, and avoid a major conflict that threatened national peace and security.

While Mr Mugabe's right to speak out and associate with whoever he wants is guaranteed by the Constitution, a major concern arises when he calls a Press conference to feed his audiences with half-truths.

The first glaring sign that Mr Mugabe was trying to be mischievous by calling the Press conference was his decision to leave out the State media.

This does not mean that the State media had an entitlement to be at the Press conference.

It is the manner in which Mr Mugabe went on to tell desperate untruths, especially concerning how he left Government, that left many wondering why his audience did not dare to challenge him on some of the misleading information he propagated.

His was a sinister message, which he wanted to ensure no one challenged, thus his leaving out of those who could have done so.

The Press conference was made up mainly of foreign journalists from South Africa and Britain, and only the Zimbabwe Independent as the local media house represented.

That the journalists at the Press conference seemed to nod in agreement at each misleading fact they were being told by Mr Mugabe raised a lot of eyebrows.

The following are the home-truths that Mr Mugabe chose to ignore on that Thursday evening when he spoke at lengths to the selected journalists at his Blue Roof mansion.

As cited above, he did not bother to speak about the resignation letter as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe on November 21, 2017, which he wrote and signed.

The resignation letter went as follows: "Following my verbal communication with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, at 1353HRS, 21st November, 2017, intimating my intention to resign as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, I Robert Gabriel Mugabe, in terms of Section 96 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe with immediate effect.

"My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire to ensure a smooth, peaceful and non-violent transfer of power that underpins national security, peace and stability.

"Kindly give public notice of my resignation as soon as possible, as required by Section 96(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe."

It is unfortunate that Mr Mugabe chose to skip such a crucial fact that when he resigned, Parliament, with members from across the divide in agreement, was in the process of discussing an impeachment motion that would have left him with no option.

He knew very well the consequences of impeachment that would have left him in a tight corner.

Mr Mugabe was quite aware that either way he was still going to go - and it appeared the choice was up to him - to resign immediately or let his fate be determined through impeachment.

This, of course, would have destroyed his mischief if he had laid it bare at that Press conference.

Mr Mugabe did not speak about the 260 Zanu-PF Central Committee members out of 300, who met in Harare on November 19 and recalled him according to the party constitution.

They recalled him from the leadership of the party and replaced him with President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

During that Press conference, Mr Mugabe seemed to forget that on November 18, millions of people throughout the country marched in their areas calling him to resign immediately.

His fate as the country's President was then left to the parliamentary process to decide, hence the motion to impeach him.

After realising that Mr Mugabe had resigned, Zanu-PF, as the ruling party was obliged to second a nominee to see through his term, resulting in the swearing-in of President Mnangagwa as the country's leader on November 24, 2017.

The Zanu-PF Extraordinary Congress in December then sealed the fate of Mr Mugabe, when it confirmed the constitutional changes made by the Central Committee.

It is clear that Mr Mugabe's fate was sealed by constitutional processes both within the party and in Government, yet he decided to hide this crucial fact at his Press conference.

The country and the people have since moved on, embracing the new dispensation led by President Mnangagwa.

The situation under Mr Mugabe was no longer tenable, as it became clear that the G40 cabal that surrounded him through his wife Grace, was poised to cause a major conflict in Zanu-PF.

And as the ruling party, the situation in Zanu-PF was set to implode into a national crisis.

It is important that the military realised this and was alert to the constitutional processes that could be initiated to avoid such a major disaster that would have called for more national resources to be deployed to resolve.

It is time Mr Mugabe stops taking Zimbabweans for granted, and the sooner he realises that, the sooner he will stop this nagging self-entitlement.

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Source - the herald
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