BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
GOVERNMENT has announced plans to honour the late former President Robert Mugabe by launching an award in his name.
Mugabe died a bitter man in September 2019 in Singapore where he was receiving treatment, two years after his military chiefs forced him from office in favour of his long-time aide, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Government announced that the award would be an honour given to people that promote economic growth in the country.
“Government intends to award deserving Zimbabwean citizens with the Robert Gabriel Mugabe Commendation Award for Service in Human Capital Development,” read a statement signed by Misheck Sibanda, the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet.
“The individuals should be luminaries who have distinguished themselves through outstanding transformative services in human capital development that have opened up and achieved growth in new economic sectors while ensuring inclusivity.”
Government then invited nominations for the awards.
“Note that each nomination should be accompanied by a justification in the form of a brief detailed profile on the achievements for which the individual is deemed deserving for this special recognition and honour.
“You may represent your nomination in the form of a citation which will be used when the individual is awarded the special honour, or in the form of a relevant document which celebrates and immortalises the achievement for posterity.”
Mugabe’s last former Foreign Affairs minister Walter Mzembi tweeted: “It’s an appropriate honour as Mugabe is credited with many things and the government has done things right, but erred on others. He was not an angel. Mavekuita pachikuru (You are now acting like adults).”
But political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya told NewsDay that the move was meant to pacify Mugabe loyalists and the G40 cabal ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“That’s oxymoronic; those are contradictions that expose the insincerity of the government. That award simply exposes the policy bankruptcy of the system. Surely, a man who was removed through a military, in the opinion of the coup plotters, means that he was no longer fit for their purpose and was a national security threat,” he said.
“Given that thinking and framing of Mugabe and the reasons advanced by the coup plotters, how do they reconcile that with an award? I think this is mere electioneering to appease Mugabe’s social base ahead of the 2023 elections.”
Political analyst Rashweat Mukundu said: “It’s hypocrisy on the part of the Mnangagwa government to seek to give awards in the name of Mugabe, whom in 2017 they kicked out alleging that he was incompetent. It is an attempt to hoodwink the disgruntled Mugabe family and supporters who are angry and still see the coup against Mugabe as illegal and an unconstitutional move against an elected head of State.”
Political scientist Eldred Masunungure added: “The controversy surrounding the exit of Mugabe involves regret on the part of those who engineered the coup, and that is why it took time for him (Mugabe) to step down. They did not condemn his entirety, but they condemned the then First Lady (Grace Mugabe) as his successor.”