via Bulawayo24 NEWS | Robert Mugabe – A man and president Zimbabwe never needed! by Stella Msebele 17 January 2014
Plainly, Robert Mugabe was the wrong man and the wrong president for a post-colonial State to succeed Rhodesia, by whatever name that post-colonial would be known. As readers can clearly tell, I disown the name ‘Zimbabwe’, not for itself, but for every evil it has represented and every good it has not been. It should also become clear shortly why I think that now, more than ever be before, that the name ‘Zimbabwe’ must be discarded altogether.
But for contemporaneity, Mugabe is exiting his Zimbabwe just as he began it, mocking the Ndebele people with his new wave of ‘Joshua Mqabulo Nkomo’ and ‘Umdala wethu’ love songs which augment his tuneless ‘pasi naNkomo’ chorus of the 1980s. Because this new wave of fawned fondness is all mockery, it is all characteristically imposed, rehearsed, square and tasteless. Mugabe will never be cleansed of his sins against the Ndebele people by wearing the facial mask of Joshua Nkomo. This is all uninvited pantomime of self-deception.
If he wishes to before he dies Mugabe must own up to the Ndebele people as Mugabe about Gukurahundi, not as a Nkomo-like face or Nkomo-like shape, otherwise if he will not, as clearly he has no intention to, then to hell with his unsolicited pantomimes. At the very most, he should just keep quiet. A short digression, though.
I hear many times over people of all sorts claiming that it is not in ‘our’ culture to talk about someone’s impending death while they still breathe. Thixo! Which culture is that? From where?
The cultures I know, and certainly of those peoples who make up present-day Zimbabwe, as the inevitable becomes clear, the elders will gather the family, especially sons of the departing elder, to make them accept the unfolding inevitability and prepare them for the post event. The cultures I know therefore talk about impending death openly, and as culture. And for how long have we known about Nelson Mandela’s grave at Qunu? But back to Mugabe.
I tap from my article I wrote a few days ago about lying (Tendai Biti – Please mourn privately!). Because it’s Mugabe’s impending death we now face, suddenly everybody, including self-respecting White men, now feel a compulsion to be untruthful, commonly known as lying, and to use culture to validate or mask their untruths. Again, as I said in that article, all this is equalization of Zimbabwe and lies. Tellingly, though, that Zimbabwe equals lies is the only self-applying truth about Zimbabwe. People lie because lying is expected in Zimbabwe and lying is Zimbabwean. From false boasts about the quality of Zimbabwe’s education system to false claims of superiority over other peoples and nations, to superiority of the Shona over the Ndebele Zimbabwe has lied and continues to lie.
The simple, plain and raw truth is that Mugabe is going to die, and perhaps pretty soon too, and no one needs waste valuable time proving or disproving the rumour mill in Harare.
And for many, Mugabe’s demise will be cause for celebration, and rightfully so. The end of any evil is cause for celebration. There will be few families Ndebele or Shona who in some way have not been affected by Mugabe’s evil, either as surviving relatives of killed or disappeared victims, maimed victims themselves, or living victims of families tone apart by Mugabe’s evil and bad policies. It is only in Zimbabwe where even in ‘peace-time’ exile is a far better than home. Of course, Zanu-PF will do everything it can to choreograph Mugabe’s death, but the more sober-minded faction of Zanu-PF will know very well what a bad idea it will be for them as individuals and the country as a whole to deify Mugabe upon his death. They understand that this is simply the wrong age for celebrating what many see as a monster! They know that their political fortunes may well depend on how they handle Mugabe’s death. And more importantly they now know that post-dictatorship criminal tribunals are now being created innovatively and to suit each particular circumstance. It may not have with Gukurahundi, but once they touched the White man son and daughter in 2000, the game has completely changed.
Mugabe’s death is therefore for them a time for sobriety, not recklessness. We will be watching ….
Robert Mugabe has simply been a man and president Zimbabwe never needed.
After Smith’s Rhodesia, post-colonial Rhodesia needed a Nelson Mandela, perhaps a Kenneth Kaunda, but certainly not a Julius Nyerere. A man full of love, not hate. A unifier, not a destroyer. A man of truth and not a man who manufactures truth. In short, a national father-figure to whom respect and affection would have been freely given, and not a monster that extracts allegiance.
Mugabe apparently learnt his macabre trade from Nyerere. Rumour has it that Julius Nyerere and the Tanzanian army were used as a cover by the British to kick Idi Amin out of Uganda. With Zimbabwe’s independence coming, Nyerere advanced his blue-eyed boy, Mugabe, for the presidency of the new Zimbabwe, and the British returned the 1977 favour. Many will recall that Mugabe pre-announced the results of the 1980 elections after he, Nyerere, Samora Machel, Commander of the Rhodesian Army, General Peter Walls, and South African Army Commander, General Magnus Malan, secretly met in Maputo early 1980 ahead of the results of the 1980 elections.
Post-1980, many Ndebeles will recall that they said that most Gukurahundi were so ‘dark’ and didn’t look ‘Zimbabwean’ or speak Shona and were probably foreign. Many Ndebeles suspected these elements to be Tanzanian. This was not a fanciful idea, given the well-documented massacres of Zipra forces by Zanla at Morogoro and Mgagao in Tanzania at the apparent instigation of or the the connivance of Julius Nyerere. Nyerere absolutely hated Nkomo.
With Robert Mugabe forming the first post-colonial government, the ‘Zimbabwe’ everybody had hoped for became a still-birth. It was a conspiratorial Zimbabwe based on lies and fanned by tribal hatred.
As Mugabe prepares to exit, Zimbabwe remains behind as this empire of crumbling dominos. Mugabe’s Zimbabwe re-made the Ndebele State and Mashonaland State. Perhaps in its own strange way, Mugabe’s assumption of power is a positive that created this unfolding political dynamic of two independent states of Matebeleland and Mashonaland, past his sorry rule.
No one needed a Robert Mugabe in 1980, and no one needs a Robert Mugabe in 2014, or after. And here, I am talking about the institutional Robert Mugabe. His self and his institutional reality have to have coincided. You have to have it inside you to do or to be the public face of the many evil things his Zimbabwe has done to many people, of whatever tribe or colour. And Mugabe has never been his own man throughout his sad rule. Many believe even today that those who put him in power in the first place have a vested interest in protecting him and easing him into a Pandora’s grave.
Robert Mugabe’s demise must certainly be welcome, and celebrated by those who will choose to. There is nothing sinister or unpleasant about saying this. His friend, Margaret Thatcher, invoked the same reaction in Britain when she died in April 2013. A big part of Britain celebrated her death, openly. And there are many people in the public and private spheres who deaths are and can only be celebrated! Indeed, good riddance to old evil!
Those who may think that what I have said here about Mugabe are un-sayables will simply have to deal with it, but I will not lose sleep or agonise on their behalf.
Certainly, it is the right thing that before he departs, Mugabe knows that the people know him for who and what he is: a short, dark angry man who abused entrusted public power and brought untold misery to millions of innocent people merely and solely because he was president. And a short, dark angry man who has cloned equally evil and bad people who continue to man the State machinery of present-day Zimbabwe, people who even today, insult, mock, scandalize, and seek to harm others merely and solely because they control the institution of the State. These clones, together with their leader, Robert Mugabe, must be demystified now just before Mugabe dies, otherwise if we don’t they are the new breed of Robert Mugabes that no one needs and no one has ever needed, about to terrorise us all over again.
It is also worth remembering that each one of these Mugabe clones – and we know them all by name – has their own crimes to hide post-Mugabe. Mugabe’s impending death has them wetting their pants, justifiably so.
My culture obliges me to acknowledge Mugabe’s impending death and plan for the future. And I do.
Two scenarios are possible after Mugabe’s demise (after the constitutional transitional arrangements). The first is another Zanu-PF dictatorship that will come in soaked in various wordy disguises. Already we see some of those disguises in some laughable things Zanu-PF presently calls ZimAsset and Indigenization. The second scenario, is an MDC-T plastic democracy which also takes a whole country for a Spiderman toy. Both scenarios scare me; both are totally undesirable.
But what are the immediate challenges facing us immediately after Mugabe’s death?
First, Zanu-PF and MDC-T regard themselves, separately, as heir apparents, though from different political standpoints. Second, both Zanu-PF and MDC-T are likely to collude and connive on a second GNU, under whatever guise.
For those who haven’t seen it, MDC-T’s hand-handlers are still at it, withholding lines of credit to the ‘new’ Zanu-PF government in the hope that a second economic collapse will force another GNU. However, as the four years of the so-called GNU showed, the MDC formations and Zanu-PF are totally incapable or able to resolve the political and economic ‘crisis’ in today’s Zimbabwe.
Third, there could be another version of a GNU, this one made up of the MDC formations, Zanu-PF, the tantrum-throwing Zapu, the power-chasing NCA and a few patronage-coating individuals hand-picked from the Civic Society political movement (in Zimbabwe civil society is a political animal in disguise). This is the worst of all scenarios. However, this is what all these ‘politicians’ want and what this political stampede we now see is all about. With minor exceptions, therefore, all these are predatory politicians always prepared and ready to ambush and kill freedom in the name of expediency. But this time we must say we want freedom, not democracy!
So what should be done, post-Mugabe?
Firstly, we must clearly define what we want. As I see it, the underlying purpose must be the creation of a completely new political order. That new order must be founded on freedom, not democracy, and that freedom must be defined by processes, not ends.
Secondly, in the immediate to mid-term, we must stop the supposed automaticity of either a Zanu-PF, MDC-T or GNU government, post-Mugabe.
In terms of post-Mugabe institutional processes, the following must be done:
Firstly, the immediate commissioning of a Transitional Government made up of civic leaders who will not participate in future elections. No political party must be part of the Transitional Government.
Secondly, the Transitional Government to commission a Constitutional Conference. Thirdly, the Transitional Government must commission the writing of a New Constitution, but only at the end of a Constitutional Conference. And at the Constitutional Conference, everything must be on the table and open for discussion, from the name of the country or countries, the constitutional re-construction of that or those countries, right down to gender and sexuality issues. The people must accept and reject issues, freely, and as informed citizens.
But how is such a Transitional Government to come about?
There are two options. One is a popular uprising modelled on the Arab Spring. There will have been lessons by now about not allowing such a popular uprising in today’s Zimbabwe turn into an Islamic Winter such as it has in Libya, and more so, in Egypt. The second is a civic-led coalition underwritten by the possibility of a popular uprising which should petition SADC, AU and the international community for such a Transitional Government.
There is a third option, and this consists of the Ndebele State (or the Shona State) violently seceding. Only fools dismiss or wish this possibility away. In fact the chorus of dismissive political imbeciles is loudest. That is both regrettable and irresponsible. However, all of the present and future challenges of present-day Zimbabwe can be resolved through constitutional means.
This is the Zimbabwe that this departing Mugabe is bequeathing, a Zimbabwe built as a fool’s paradise in which one tribe thinks and convinces itself that it can in this day and age subjugate another tribe by a genocide and then label that genocide ‘unity’, and further fool itself that by repeating the word ‘unity’ ad nauseum that triumphalist tribe has a created a truth. What a shame! But an even greater failure that is worse than Mugabe’s evil will be this generation’s failure or inability to see through Mugabe’s deeply flawed and broken Zimbabwe, and corrected it. Now!
It therefore has to said clearly that this Zimbabwe Mugabe is leaving behind, nobody ever needed. Therefore, this Zimbabwe, as both a name and a polity must expire with Mugabe. But it is also not just Mugabe’s evil that we want rid of, though very worryingly, some of that evil has somehow migrated to MDC-T. It is also Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC-T’s playfulness about serious matters of State that we want rescued from.
I am sure I speak for many when I say Mugabe’s end cannot surely come about sooner! We never needed Robert Mugabe as Prime Minister or President, and don’t need him today as President. Even with all our imperfections too as human beings, Mugabe deserves to be told truthfully about how he has been to others when he wielded power against them. Indeed, a classical rebel who never understood the true meaning of power in governance.