HARARE – Political leaders appear to be saints for as long as they are in power but tumble off that pedestal of cleanliness once they are out of the power equation.
This, however, is not limited to Zimbabwe alone as other countries within and outside Africa have also found themselves in similar situations.
Politics is indeed not a cathedral of morality when one explores the Zimbabwean political landscape in the past five years.
So much has changed in that little time with most who lose positions of influence getting exposed to not only litigation but other actions that place their invincibility into question.
Probably starting away from home would help not dampen readers’ spirits.
Frederick Chiluba, the late Zambian president and leader of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD), was hauled before the courts by none other than his successor Levy Mwanawasa over corruption committed during his tenure.
For a man who had been credited with bringing the curtain down on the reign of first Zambian president and United National Independence Party (Unip) leader Kenneth Kaunda, this must have surprised many.
By the time Chiluba died, he had fallen from grace owing to these allegations of embezzlement of funds.
Current National People’s Party leader and former vice president of Zimbabwe, Joice Mujuru, invited everyone’s sympathy following the demise of her husband — Zimbabwe’s first black general Solomon Mujuru — in a mysterious fire at his Beatrice farm in 2011.
Fast forward to 2014, with the entry of former president Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace into mainstream politics as Zanu PF women’s league secretary, the world was told that Mujuru was planning to kill Mugabe in order to grab political power.
Precisely coming as opportune for the former first lady, smearing Mujuru would ensure no one would be more senior to her in the party’s women’s league, which was going to be her springboard as she gunned for higher office.
Following Mujuru’s sacking, the gun was aimed at Mugabe’s second-in-command and current President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who received accusations almost similar to those used to get rid of Mujuru.
As had been planned, Mnangagwa was pushed out of office by Mugabe, effectively leaving Grace with the presidency at her disposal.
However, this only lasted until the military intervention of November 15, 2017 code-named Operation Restore Legacy.
The emergence of the National Patriotic Front — led by Ambrose Mutinhiri, a retired brigadier-general — on the Zimbabwean political landscape and its subsequent blessing by Mugabe only shows how involved the former president would like to remain in the politics of the country.
It appears he still wants to have a go at Mnangagwa and is prepared to deal with anybody, including his sworn enemies in order to discredit the regime of his former second-in-command.
What the veteran politician fails to realise is that whatever he is doing makes the people of Zimbabwe suffer and not Mnangagwa.
The pensionable age for civil servants in Zimbabwe is 65.
Whatever Zimbabwe’s former strongman thinks he can offer the country at 94 is perhaps known only to himself.
However, it is becoming clearer and clearer that Mugabe was not prepared to go when he did. In his mind, he is still the head of State.
Perhaps what is interesting is how those who are out of power get haunted by crimes they would not be bothered with during their days at the helm.
During their day, Mugabe and his wife were virtually untouchable. Today, there are several accusations the former first family has to fend off from the ownership of multiple farms to being alleged recipients of fake qualifications among others transgressions.
For the generality of Zimbabweans, who were already used to the term “Dr Amai”, the finalisation of the case is keenly-awaited.