By Trevor Shiri
The events of the past few weeks in the post-Robert Mugabe era have led many Zimbabweans to introspect on Operation Restore Legacy (ORL). The operation, which culminated in the voluntary resignation by Robert Mugabe, sought to eliminate criminals in the G40 cabal, who had surrounded the erstwhile president.
Fast forward to 2018, one is forced to reflect and reconsider whether ORL targeted the real criminals, or it only targeted the criminal’s accomplices in the G40 cabal. Question is, who is the real criminal, the real mafia boss?
The events of the past few weeks point to the fact that maybe Mugabe was the real criminal.
The G40 cabal were just his accomplices, nay criminals too. What informs this drastic recalibration of the otherwise well thought-out and executed ORL?
The first signs that there was mischief abound among the G40 cabal members is when Mugabe’s accomplices, Prof Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Zhuwao, started spewing vile vitriol against Government online.
The next thing was that ill-fated meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, which was attended by people such as MDC-T deputy president Thokozani Khupe, National People’s Party (NPP) leader Joice Mujuru and G40 cabal representatives, under the guise of sharing notes on coalitions.
Back then, the tell-tale signs of a Mugabe hand in the shenanigans were beginning to fester. In no time, an outfit calling itself the New Patriotic Front (NPF) petitioned the African Union (AU), challenging the resignation of Mugabe and the ascendency of President Emmerson Mnangagwa to the helm of the party and Government. The petition was ably shared and explained by the usual suspects, Prof Moyo and Zhuwao. The AU ignored the futile attempt to soil the legitimate transition in Zimbabwe. The world has ignored the shrills from the cabal.
In-between, Mugabe invited Mujuru to his Blue Roof mansion as part of his shayisano plan. If Mugabe cannot have the presidency, then President Mnangagwa cannot have it, either.
There are no morals or principles there, even if it means roping in poor Joice, whom he maligned and hounded out of ZANU-PF, the same way he tried to do to then Vice President Mnangagwa.
We all remember Mugabe and his unhinged wife, Grace, regaling audiences with tales of how Solomon Mujuru’s widow, Joice, engaged in all sorts of fetish and occult rituals that included nudity, chickens and water beetles.
At the same time, desperate Mugabe made contact with Khupe, all in a botched bid to stitch up a coalition of sorts to ensure President Mnangagwa loses this year’s election! If media reports are anything to go by, even Khupe snubbed the nonentity that Robert is fast becoming.
Having failed to secure his preferred leaders for the NPF project, Ambrose Mutinhiri rose from the ashes, resigning from ZANU-PF on the spurious basis that the new dispensation was illegitimate. He announced that he would front a party named National Patriotic Front, of which apparently he, Jealousy Mawarire and the Mugabes are the executive and membership.
Fully aware of his unelectability at the advanced age of 94, Mugabe has attempted to weave yarn in Zimbabweans’ faces by declaring that he would not hold any post in the nascent outfit, but would back it.
When Mugabe and his NPF pet project failed to elicit the required response from Government and ZANU-PF, he organised a presser with the Zimbabwe Independent, SABC and some other international media houses, where he falsely labelled President Mnangagwa as illegitimate. Mugabe begged and grovelled to meet President Mnangagwa, which in his warped thinking, would legitimise the new dispensation. Of course, President Mnangagwa is above that pettiness, and he rightly and curtly told Mugabe that Zimbabwe has moved on!
The import of the foregoing contextualisation is to foreground the probable need to reassess whether or not Mugabe is not the mafia boss of the criminal cabal. It is apparent that Mugabe has forsaken ZANU-PF, claiming that he was expelled, yet it is common cause that it is his wife, Grace, who was sacked. Mugabe continues to conflate his fate with that of his wife, itself one of the key issues that ORL sought to undo. Mugabe had conflated his bedroom affairs with the affairs of the State to the extent that his wife, using her First Ladyship and post of Secretary for Women Affairs started dabbling in matters of State, which were beyond her purview.
It is unfortunate and sad that one of Zimbabwe’s founding fathers, Mugabe, has decided to decimate his liberation and empowerment legacy, all because of his spiteful politics. Mugabe is NPF. He is the benefactor and financier. He is the puppeteer of the project. He is using proxies and puppets such as Mutinhiri, Prof Moyo, Zhuwao and Mawarire.
The “new” project is nothing but a reincarnation and continuation of Mugabe’s toxic politics of divide and rule. NPF is G40. The criminals remain the same, but the sum total of that criminality includes Mugabe, who is the criminal boss. He is not surrounded by criminals, but as the political mafia boss, he surrounded himself with like-minded criminals.
Emerging true narratives indicating that while Mugabe hid behind the facade that he was a pro-people leader, he was busy amassing wealth, accumulating a total of 21 farms during his 37-year rule. Mugabe proscribed Zimbabweans from leasing farms to former white commercial farmers, yet he annexed a farm from Interfresh, a local company, only to surreptitiously lease it to former white commercial farmers.
To add insult to injury, Mugabe preached the false gospel of one man, one farm, yet he is a proud owner of 21 farms. What crass hypocrisy! The man actually paid himself his salary in cash at a time Zimbabweans were failing to access their hard-earned money in banks. Surely, if this is not the mark of a criminal, then we do not know what is.
While Mugabe reserves his right to free expression and association as enunciated in the Constitution, it is cruelty for one old man to pursue his “shayisano politics” to massage his hurt ego. It is not about you Robert, it is about Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has happily moved on. Zimbabwe was willing to preserve your legacy as one of the founding fathers of this great nation. Zimbabwe was willing to overlook some of your glaring weaknesses, but to remember the equally great things you did for it from the liberation war days to empowerment programmes in post-independent Zimbabwe.
However, the spiteful politics that you want to mete out on Zimbabweans pursuant to fixing President Mnangagwa, will come to naught. Zimbabwe will fight you. It is not MDC-T supporters that marched against you, it was Zimbabweans. I am a ZANU-PF supporter, and I marched against you. Spare us the noise and live out your retirement in peace old man. Zimbabwe under the able leadership of President Mnangagwa is working day and night to undo the damage wrought on this country by the criminal cabal led by yourself.