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Mugabe, a year on

06 Sep 2020 at 19:04hrs | Views
Angry and defeated!

This is exactly how I feel one year since Robert Mugabe passed on.

Angry because the country he left in a mess has gone completely bad and inhabitable in many respects. 

I feel defeated because the current political scenario playing out has no signs of relenting leaving a whole generation in peril.

Millions of people are in the diaspora. They celebrated Mugabe's downfall from grace in a November 17 military -assisted-coup.

And yet still, millions are faced with a drought, joblessness- hunger and disease stalking their lives to the extent of hounding them out of the country.

We have seen immense activity on Zimbabwe- RSA border unofficially despite a global coronavirus pandemic that largely shut out frontiers for cross-border movement of people.

That was able testimony Zimbabweans cannot survive at home without dipping hands into the cookie jars of South Africa and elsewhere.

Zimbabwe is in a mess economically worse than what Mugabe left. On the diplomatic front, it is a leper with no friends despite spirited efforts by Mnangangwa to coax and woo investment into the country.

Who on earth would bring bags of money into a country where soldiers wake up shooting unarmed civilians at 45 degrees?

Yes, Mugabe is credited for being the genesis of the economic demise when he kickstarted a land redistribution exercise, the Fast-Track Land Reform Programme that jettisonned former white farmers out of the country citing violence, death and a high disregard for property rights.

The move, however noble and revolutionary it was, envisaged to give back arable and productive land to the majority of landless blacks from largely colonial hands, turned haywire with government chefs acquiring more than one farm.

To this day, results of the Land Audit are an emotive issue with little known of who owns what, where and how?

Many previously productive farms lie desolate and dilapidated thanks to years of neglect.

Land, prized and pristine itself has become a political tool used by victors to control and assert power.
There are cases of farm seizures of former government operatives including Jonathan Moyo, Walter Muzembi, Mandy Chimene, Patrick Zhuwawo and lately Saviour Kasukuwere whose Concorpia Citrus farm in Mazoe has been retaken to settle old political scores by the contemporary leadership.

Farm infrastructure painstakingly built and invested in over the years has been ripped, dismantled throwing lives of many families who survived on farming into disarray.

But like all mortals, Mugabe died living a litany of woes, weeping hearts and 'fat cats'- those that benefitted from years of his benevolence.

I have not been home since the intriguing drama that ensued his death in a Singaporean Hospital. There, we were told the Mugabes had been using Uber transport commuting between privately rented lodgings to the old man's deathbed.

Yes, were also told the former strongman was footing his lofty medical bills- a blue fib buttressed by Munangangwa sending a jetliner to fetch the funeral party from that far-flung shore.

Over yonder, we again got to see pictures of Mugabe's most loyal aide-de-camp escorting distraught 'Gucci Grace' in the streets of downtown Singapore. The guy, a secret service agent for years won not only my heart but many becoming a celebrated figure of loyalty in social media circles with Twitterattis likening his faith, obedience and loyalty on the Mugabes to that of a dog, a man's best friend. He stood by the family to the very end. Only heaven knows how he is faring today without Mugabe at the beckoning.

The adage a toad' s full length is known upon its death could have been more truerer. For all his perceived invincibility Mugabe's life, friends and Malawian roots were laid bare for all to see.

Who would have known he despised his father with an excruciating passion?

Who would have guessed he had family in business, cabinet, police and even his VIP protection. The Matibilis were stripped bare to the bone marrow!

We got to know his siblings, cousins and innumerable nephews- the Chidhakwas, Chombos, Chiyangwas with Leo Mugabe deserving a Bell for family spokesman of the decade.

He articulately bluffed, counter,-punched, ducking and diving questions about his uncle the Statesman in a protracted family drama that exposed family politics than it served as a fond and final farewell to a loved one, an academic fundi, an African loved and loathed in equal measure across the globe.

Mugabe's funeral became a riveting story of fear - instructions that Grace, the flamboyant wife-turned -politician-and-failed successor to the throne should not leave Mugabe's cadaver alone until it was completely interred from public eyes.

His remains became a centerpiece of power with the family in a tussle for his bones at the family courtyard in Zvimba with the State led by Mnangangwa opting for a monumental Mausoleum that has become a white elephant. It remains ghostly, unoccupied and new atop a hillside at Heroes Acre in Harare overlooking a city in turmoil.

We saw Mugabe' s regional ideological fanatics seizing the moment with Julius Malema and firebrand kinky-haired Mbuyiseni Ndlozi of South Africa' s EFF jetting in for a pie lunch at the famously expensive Blue- Roof mansion while Mugabe lay in state in-house pending final arrangements to his resting place.

He stole the show famously extolling Mugabe's virtues to the lofty skies in the process literally urinating on Mnangagwa' s wish to usurp Mugabe's bones from the family.

It was a masterstroke that swayed public opinion in Grace's favour.
Resolute and unbending in the face of pressure, many regarded her as the ' Iron lady of Zim'. At least that was the picture we got of her bedecked in black mourning regalia as she fought silently using Mugabe's remains as a message to her political foes.

I vividly remember the day Mugabe died, a balmy Pretoria morning. A cursory look on Twitter handles for many government actors that dawn were in cryptic messages, innuendo and double-speak that was pregnant with meaning.

I have couple of public officials that I follow, not for their news value or importance but because they are purveyors of government activities, warts and all.

Given that, instinctively, I knew he was gone. This time it was not the fat lies about his death over the years that Mugabe himself had grown accustomed to.

He had become ardent at dismissing rumours of his own death at one point going poetically aplopletic saying: 'I am as fit as a fiddle'

Mugabe is famous for declaring he had died and risen many times than Jesus Christ of Nazareth- a peek into his renowned intelligence and Catholic upbringing.

One year on, as he lay in a customised copper- plated casket in Zvimba, questions abound.

Was he truly invincible the entire three decades he ruled? What made him tick, entrenched patronage, simple luck or just a hand of God over man?

Was he a runaway success politically in failing to cherry-pick a successor opting for his subordinates to figure it out and fight for the bone themselves literally?

At his death, what did he think of his long-time protege Emmerson as he used to call him? Did he feel sold out, snitched or cheated upon? What will he say now about Munangangwa' s Global Compensation Agreement set for $3,5 billion to pay off displaced farmers on their farm improvements and refurbishments.?

For the entire Zimbabwean citizenry, do we really deserve the wanton arrests, beatings and armed soldiers patrolling our streets and villages daily?

For many, can we resign to a life in the diaspora fleeing political persecution and an intolerable economic environment?

How many heroes in our midst still carry people's welfare at heart? Of late we have had fellow scribe Hopewell Chin'ono and Jacob Ngarivhume who endured a gut wrenching-prison spell meant to serve as a warning to dissenting opinionistas and also to dissuade potential revolts in the country.

Have the humongous street celebrations that November 17 turned into something worthwhile?

Can we write home about the future of our kids? Mugabe came on the stage and left, is he to blame forever?

I don't miss him neither would I care who leads Zimbabwe for as long as they are true humans at heart..for as long as they create a conducive environment for everyone to thrive and flourish to their highest and best self.

The government we currently have is not the government we need.

Josiah Mucharowana is a Zimbabwean-trained-journalist living in Pretoria and writes in his personal capacity. Feedback;

Source - Josiah Mucharowana
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