by Tendai Ruben Mbofana
If there is one thing I completely agree with what the military said, during their so-called ‘operation restore legacy’ in November 2017, is that, then Zimbabwe president Robert Gabriel Mugabe was surrounded by people who were manipulating him for their own selfish political power ambitions.
How did the military and their political friends – who eventually took over power – know this? …simply because they also did the same to Mugabe.
As much as, then First Lady Grace and her G40 cabal took advantage of Mugabe’s advanced age to manipulate him into all manner of schemes to enable them to rid the ruling ZANU PF party of their Lacoste factional rivals, it is important to note that this was not the first time – nor was it the last time – that he had been surrounded by such power-hungry manipulators.
The main reason that the military and their Lacoste allies finally decided to force Mugabe into resigning was that they knew very well that if he stayed in office, not only would their ascension to power – their ultimate prize – be delayed, but also he (Mugabe) would still be vulnerable to manipulation, especially by his wife.
The Lacoste faction, led by now president Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, new quite well how easy it had become to play with Mugabe’s mind for selfish gains, as they themselves had been doing exactly that for years.
It is alleged that after his 2008 election defeat to the opposition MDC’s late leader Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, Mugabe was more than prepared to accept his fate and concede, but those surrounding him those days – guess who? – forced him not to step down, and tampered with the results – thereby, reducing Tsvangirai’s victory to less than 50%, in order to have a run- off election.
This enabled those around him to orchestrate the subsequent brutal crackdown on opposition supporters – that resulted in the killing of hundreds of innocent defenceless people – so as to ensure Mugabe’s victory, thereby, guaranteeing their own stay in office.
However, Tsvangirai pulled out of the run-off election, due to this violence, resulting in a one-man contest.
Therefore, those who wanted to get rid of ‘thieves and criminals’ surrounding Mugabe last year, knew from experience, what they were talking about – as they had done it before themselves!
Today, these machinations have not stopped, as the new political outfit, the New Patriotic Front (NPF) – is allegedly being supported by Mugabe.
That could be true, but I still see the same manipulation of the old man taking place just as in 2008 – by a power-hungry mob, that will do anything to attain, and retain, power.
As much as Mugabe is a victim of his own political power-hunger, which led him to hold on to the presidency till he was too old to use his mental faculties to their optimum, the truth of what is happening, nonetheless, has to be exposed.
We shall never know – at least, unless Mugabe himself decided to tell the absolute truth – the extent and magnitude of the manipulation that he has been subjected to over the course of his presidency.
However, one thing is for sure – I am now more convinced than ever before that, those who have always surrounded Mugabe, were, and still are, just as power-hungry and tyrannical as he was.
If we are to go back to what happened in 2008, and believe those reports that he had accepted Tsvangirai’s victory, and was ready to go in peace, what then, can we say about those who forced him to hold on to power, and waged a brutal war on a defenceless people?
What operation was that? Does that not say a lot about the people who are ruling us today? Does that not tell us that they are just as brutal and tyrannical as Mugabe?
The same goes for those in the G40 cabal, who took over the favourite spot next to Mugabe, by using his wife Grace.
They are still at it with their new project, the NPF, as they seek to attain power through Mugabe.
Their project has absolutely nothing to do with constitutionalism – just as the 2008 post-election violence had nothing to do with national sovereignty and independence.
Similarly, last year’s military intervention had nothing to do with restoring any liberation struggle legacy, and removing corrupt thieves surrounding Mugabe.
All these shenanigans – that, unfortunately, resulted in the suffering of millions of Zimbabweans, through an economic meltdown, and brutality – were all about who had influence over Mugabe, or as in 2017, removing him completely, so as to attain absolute power.
As I have said before, Mugabe was no saint – and I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, trying to exonerate him – as he was clearly responsible for most of the atrocities committed on the people of Zimbabwe since he took office in 1980.
However, there is need to also expose the other ‘hidden’ dark side of Zimbabwean politics that has been lurking about, and influencing the national political landscape.
The people of Zimbabwe need to be very wary of all these politicians who have been with Mugabe throughout his decades of atrocities, electoral fraud, and economic mismanagement – who now want to re-invent themselves as a ‘new dispensation’, or have suddenly become constitutionally aware.
° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. He is the Programmes Director with the Zimbabwe Network for Social Justice (ZimJustice). Please call/WhatsApp: +263782283975, or (calls ONLY) +263715667700, or email: email@example.com. Please also ‘Like’ the ‘ZimJustice’ page on Facebook.