By Nobleman Runyanga
Former president Robert Mugabe was buried at his Zvimba rural home last Saturday, three weeks after his passing on September 6 in Singapore.
The Generation 40 group of self-exiled former ZANU-PF members, who remained close to the former First Family, mainly through the former First Lady Grace Mugabe, seized Mugabe’s death to score embarrassingly cheap political points against President Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF in revenge for their own loss of the succession battle in 2017.
Heartless and inhumane designs
The matter, however, goes back to 2014 when one of the associates, former Politburo member, Professor Jonathan Moyo, schemed to succeed former president Mugabe by befriending his wife, Grace, in order to achieve his ambitious design. While nursing ambitions to lead one’s country is neither criminal nor sinful, it is heartless, inhumane and immoral to take advantage of an ageing leader to achieve that ambition, which is most repugnant.
To buttress his designs and improve their chances of success Moyo roped in Mugabe’s relative, Patrick Zhuwao, the former president’s nephew. Despite claims of a flowery résumé of being an economist, agricultural and digital transformation researcher and strategist, Zhuwao is not blest with any outstanding achievements (except of course wearing his head in dreadlocks) to have been of any meaningful value to Moyo, except to bolster his foot-in-the-door strategy by virtue of being a Mugabe relative.
To this assemblage Moyo also added the then burly national commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere who, like Zhuwao, did not possess much political stock, except the advantage of being in charge of the ZANU-PF commissariat at the time. This is the guy who broke new ground by buying Commercial Transport of Mutare before adding Johnston’s Transport of Kwekwe in the 1990s. He also formed Comoil, a petroleum retail concern before acquiring United Touring Company (UTC) in 2001 in partnership with Nicholas Goche.
By 2014, the time that Moyo set his plans into motion by convincing the then First Lady to get into politics full-time as the ZANU-PF National Women’s League chairperson, most of Kasukuwere’s business empire had been run aground. Most of his trucks were sitting on bricks, service stations were franchised and UTC was liquidated. In view of this background Kasukuwere’s only value to Moyo’s scheme was his control of the ZANU-PF national structures which Moyo hoped to leverage on, on his dreamy way to State House.
Enter the bulldozing Grace
At the secretly-convened Mazowe meeting which was disguised as a birthday celebration for the then First Lady at her orphanage in July that year, it was agreed that Mrs Mugabe should get into politics full-time. A subsequent Women’s League congress held that year saw her being endorsed to lead women, despite having never been in any ZANU-PF structure. So far so good for Moyo’s plans.
By October that year Grace Mugabe was already on the political field bulldozing any people, who stood in the way of the political scientist’s path to the ultimate crown, such as the former Vice President, Joice Mujuru, who she viewed as the most serious threat.
The close of 2014 marked the end of Mujuru, who was jettisoned from the party unceremoniously. The same fate also befell other senior party members such as Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo.
The Youth League
After positioning Mrs Mugabe politically, Moyo needed the other key wing of the party — the Youth League. He roped in the then Kudzanai Chipanga, who was quickly taken under Grace’s wings. This time around Moyo’s target became President Mnangagwa, who was the Vice President then, and almost shoo-in successor both in the party and in Government. Talk such as “pana Amai ndopane vana (the youth and women’s leagues work together)” became common.
With Moyo playing the puppet master in the background, Grace Mugabe was soon on the road again fighting President Mnangagwa at her meet-the-people rallies. Moyo, on the other hand, took the fight to the Politburo seeking to get its approval to have President Mnangagwa expelled from the party using falsehoods such as that he had formed an opposition party.
The political scientist meets his comeuppance
The women and youth leagues culminated in the Presidential Youth Interface rallies of 2017, which were mainly fora for Mrs Mugabe to denigrate, embarrass and fight President Mnangagwa all in the name of preparing for the following year’s polls. Lies such as that he had attempted to remove the former president from power in the 1980s became standard fare at such gatherings. Attempts were even made on the President’s life through poisoning and any members who were deemed sympathetic to him were summarily expelled.
Grace Mugabe’s fights respected no one. She ended up even poking her finger in the eyes of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) daring them to shoot her. While concerned by the fights in ZANU-PF and how Moyo and his G40 coterie was literary taking over the party and tarnishing former president Mugabe’s legacy, the ZDF kept a distant but interested eye. When the former president expelled President Mnangagwa on November 6, 2017, the ZDF could not continue watching Moyo’s drama. It quickly put into motion Operation Restore Legacy, which culminated in the former president resigning on November 21, 2017.
Heartless political scientist
While Moyo was a hardworking asset to former president Mugabe, he was equally hard-hearted. It only takes the only Professor Moyo of Zimbabwe to be so mean-spirited as to use Mrs Mugabe to happily bulldoze his threats out of way in the most sincere belief that she was doing it for herself when, in fact, she was slogging for the scheming professor. It only takes a cruel Professor Moyo to use both the then president and his wife for his own designs.
Even when the iconic liberator passed on, Moyo did not relent. He used his body to fight President Mnangagwa by influencing the former First Lady to refuse a national shrine burial as befitted the national hero in a bid to embarrass the President. He sowed confusion and division between the Mugabe family and the Zvimba royal clan to which the late hero belonged. It is very sad that Zvimba chiefs had to stay away from the burial thanks to the G40’s shameless machinations.
As the former president was being buried, Moyo was tweeting a eulogy with a hypocritical tear down his cheek:
“Without fear or apology, while still on this earth, I will in my own small way stand tall by you, your legacy & the abiding national, African & human ideals & aspirations that you shared with UmdalaWethuu JoshuaMqabukoNyongolo Nkomo!” he tweeted.
As the nation puts the matter behind it, the world should know that everything that befell the national hero since the fateful July 2014 Mazowe meeting, is squarely the responsibility of the G40 led by Moyo. Future generations will ask why he was not interred at the National Heroes Acre and they should be told the truth of Moyo’s hand in that national aberration.
They should be told of how Moyo most unculturally, inhumanely and heartlessly disregarded the bereaved and mourning state of the former First Lady and used her to pursue a narrow, personal, vindictive and selfish vendetta. They should know that everything that went wrong with former president Mugabe’s legacy was Moyo’s handiwork.