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Mugabe should be grateful and rest

27 Feb 2019 at 09:15hrs | Views
Former President Robert Mugabe celebrated his 95th birthday last week, a befitting occasion indeed for a man whom God granted the gifts of not only good life as a President of Zimbabwe for 37 years and seven months but also a long life as well. Instead of worshipping God for such unparalleled blessings, the old man chooses bitterness and being vitriol-tongued.

Following his resignation on 21 November 2017, Mugabe has been in and out of hospital in Singapore at the cost of President Emmerson Mnangagwa's Government several times given his advanced age and frail health. If President Mnangagwa was as vindictive as Mugabe, he would have revenged for the treatment which he received from the aged former President and his wife in 2017 and 2018 but he chose to be the bigger man despite being younger than the country's first executive President.

If the President was as mean-spirited as his successor, he would have kicked the old man out of the country and he had the power and opportunity to do so but he chose not. Instead of paying the former President in his own coin, the President granted him full immunity and took flak for agreeing to a US$10 million lump sum payment, full monthly salary, medical cover, security and the protection of his private properties. As Mugabe's vindictive nature seized him at the White City Stadium Presidential Youth Interface in Bulawayo on 4 November 2017, he promised "kudonhedza (fire)" his then Vice President on the unproved charges of organising the people who heckled his wife at the same event. True to his word, Bob, as the former leader was popularly known, fired President Mnangagwa on 6 November 2017.

Despite being treated like a common criminal by his predecessor, the President continues to revere and regard him as the founding father of Zimbabwe, his mentor for decades.

During the run up to last year's elections Mugabe was convinced by former G40 elements in ZANU PF such as Professor Jonathan Moyo and his nephew, Patrick Zhuwao to spite ZANU PF by supporting the MDC Alliance presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa. Addressing journalists at his Borrowdale mansion on 29 July 2018, Mugabe indicated that he would not vote for President Mnangagwa.

"I cannot vote for the people who tormented me. I will make my choice from the other 22 candidates. Who is there left? I think it is just Chamisa," he said.

President Mnangagwa did not withdraw Mugabe's agreed benefits in retaliation. On the contrary, he ensured that his mentor and predecessor continued to be well looked after, a fact which he reported to the people of Mashonaland West Province when he addressed his first post-poll thank you rally at Murombedzi Growth Point on 24 November last year.

Perhaps the peak of President Mnangagwa's grace and magnanimity towards Mugabe and his family shone through in September last year when the former First Lady, Grace Mugabe, the President's chief persecutor in the run up to November 2017, lost her mother, Mbuya Idah Marufu. The President had an opportunity to look the other way and rub his hands in glee while the former First Family went though the double challenge of a sick Mugabe who was holed up in Asia with his wife and bereavement following the loss of his mother-in-law at home.

 Instead of dusting off celebration drums to rejoice at his nemesis' ill fortune, President Mnangagwa chartered a Gulfstream 650 aeroplane to urgently bring back the Mugabes home to mourn and bury Mbuya Marufu. Overnight Grace Mugabe who, during her last public address at the Rufaro Stadium on 5 November 2017, uttered, "Mnangagwa wajaira!" suddenly gushingly described him as a god-send. For the first time since the 30 July, Mugabe agreed that President Mnangagwa had won. "Akahwinha apa ndiMnangagwa. Zvava mugwara. Isarudzo yeruzhinji. Hazvicharambika. Zvanezuro zvakapfuura. (Mnangagwa won. Everything is now in order. The past is now behind us.)," Mugabe said in a speech during Mbuya Marufu's funeral.

As if he had sloughed off his old newfound self and assumed another personality of folktale proportions which had nothing to do with events of the past six months, Mugabe reportedly ranted to the attendees to his 95th birthday party utterances which seemed aimed at President Mnangagwa.
"You are at the top, you want to glorify yourself. You are not God. Today you are at the top, tomorrow you will be at the bottom, know that. God has his own way of punishing rogues and cruel people," he said.

The former President, who seems to be out of touch with events on the ground, told the birthday attendees that the army should not kill people but protect them before indicating that the army members should go back to their barracks.

Although Mugabe has a right to express his views, he should check his facts. Yes, the army assisted the police in bringing law and order in the country during the 14 to 16 January violent and destructive riots. Yes, some people could have unfortunately fallen victim as the security services were discharging their mandate, but to state that the army was killing people was an over-exaggeration. Government is currently seized with investigating any flouting of the law by the security services during the period in question.

President Mnangagwa and Government have accommodated Mugabe despite his not-so-saintly past and he should be grateful. If anyone desires glory it is Mugabe. When the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Harare Agricultural Show a few years ago, Mugabe caused a stir questioning the society what kind of a centenary celebration it was without even a single image of him in the literature and other associated paraphernalia. That is a glory seeking individual.

Mugabe should know that, despite being a major contributor to Zimbabwe's liberation struggle and history in general, the country does not revolve around him. He did his part both pre and post independent Zimbabwe. He should therefore enjoy his retirement and save himself the stress that comes with worrying about a country of which he is no longer President.

 Mugabe should enjoy his package and commit his time to reading and writing his memoirs which would enrich the available body of information on the country's liberation struggle and the country since independence. He should play an advisory role to President Mnangagwa and not to the gallery of anti-Government elements such as the NPF spokesman, Jealousy Mawarire. President Mnangagwa has treated him like a father and he should behave like one.

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