Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

Unrepentant Mugabe at it again

01 Mar 2019 at 09:15hrs | Views
On Sunday morning, 24 February 2019, the world woke up to the most unpalatable and distasteful utterances from former president, Robert Mugabe. While celebrating his 95th birthday at his Blue Roof Mansion, Mugabe did the unthinkable by attacking President Emmerson Mnangagwa for alleged human rights abuses.

In this article, this writer unpacks how Mugabe should not cast stones as his past is full of sins against humanity.

Mugabe has been allowed to keep his vast ill-gotten empire and wealth, but he has the audacity to spite his benefactor, President Mnangagwa. The President has not done anything that deserves censure from Mugabe. On several occasions President Mnangagwa has told the international community that Mugabe is being looked after by the State, fact which is backed by the reality on the ground. Is this the thank you that Mugabe should give to the President?

One striking thing about Mugabe is that he thinks he was the only God given leader to Zimbabwe and others do not measure up. During his tenure he purged anyone he considered an enemy. He is on record for keeping secret files of top Party officials so that if he thought they were getting out of hand he would cower them by moving those files from the bottom to top drawers just like what the late Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director, John Edgar Hoover did.

The former president economically ran down the country for 37 years and does not regret it. He still wants to cling to power as if his whole life depends on it. To him being President for life looked like a life support unit. To this end, the country has not achieved any meaningful economic development since the turn of the century.

In 1980 at independence, the late Tanzanian President, Julius Nyerere reminded Mugabe   "You have inherited a jewel in Africa, don't tarnish it". Due to his arrogance, Mugabe adopted uneconomic strategies which ruined the economy and pocketed the proceeds in the process. This cost the country a whole generation in terms of progress.

In terms of human rights abuses, Mugabe cannot lecture President Mnangagwa on such issues because during his day, he broke every tenet of human rights. Mugabe was in charge during the most violent electoral editions sending a chilling warning down the spine of opposition activists. In 2007 when opposition party leaders among them the late Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti and Professor Arthur Mutambara were bashed in Highfied, Harare Mugabe boastfully and unashamedly disclosed that he had told the SADC Summit that "vaTsvangirai vakadashurwa nemapurisa (Tsvangirai was bashed by the police."

However, when President Mnangagwa arrived on the scene, he opened the democratic space and MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa was able to hold over 80 rallies, most of them in the heart of rural areas.

Like his old Kutama days, if Mugabe could not win an argument then no one should and he would sulkily take his cattle and graze them a distance a away from others for the whole day. Just because he was shown the exit door in November 2017, that does not mean he should castigate President Mnangagwa and deny him a chance to turn around the country's economic fortunes.

Today, President Mnangagwa is seized with efforts to re-engage the international community after Mugabe severed ties with the Commonwealth and most western countries thereby antagonising capital. It is now proving to be difficult to get the attention of these countries because they still recall the Mugabe days when it became the order of the day that at each public gathering, SADC, African Union (AU) and United Nations General Assembly meetings Mugabe would use the occasion to scold other world leaders as if that would put food on Zimbabweans' tables.

Under the leadership of President Mnangagwa, Freedom House in its 2019 report on democracy and freedom in Zimbabwe had this to say about the country: "Zimbabwe's status improved from Not Free to Partly Free because the 2018 presidential election, though deeply flawed, granted a degree of legitimacy to the rule of President Emmerson Mnangagwa…"

On the other hand, despite what he went through at the hands of Mugabe, President Mnangagwa has seen and treated Mugabe as a father figure. During a thank you rally in Mugabe's backyard at Murombedzi Growth Point in Zvimba District in November 2018, President Mnangagwa assured the people that his Government was looking after the former president well.

In a show of affection, when former First Lady, Grace Mugabe's mother passed on while she was away last year, President Mnangagwa saw to it that a plane was chartered for her to ensure that she arrived in time for the funeral. Grace Mugabe in her own words thanked the President for arranging for her comfortable travel at such a trying time.

Given the way the President has treated Mugabe, the latter should just enjoy his retirement in peace. On account of his advanced age, Zimbabweans and the world should not take his ramblings seriously as mental deterioration is sure to accompany old age.  

Source - Elijah Chihota
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.