Mugabe Exit: The eventual fall from grace

Mugabe Exit: The eventual fall from grace

By  Alexander O. Onukwue

“I’m not going to have anybody advocate the overthrowing of a government and remain in the country. He’s not one of us if he does that” Robert Mugabe, 1980.

As you read that, the Wikipedia page for the revolutionary and dictator now describes him as the former President of Zimbabwe, after his Government was effectively overthrown on the 15th of November, 2017.

The removal of his Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa on the 6th of November for allegedly exhibiting traits of disloyalty must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. That announcement that made it clear the Mugabes wanted to ensure a transfer of power from 93-year-old Robert to 52-year-old Grace, elongating the family’s hold on Zimbabwean power which has lasted since 1980.
A coup, in the bloody sense of the word, has not taken place in Zimbabwe. In their broadcast on national television, the Zimbabwean military chiefs were keen to stress that Mr Mugabe and his family was safe. Tanks and armoured vehicles were seen on the streets of Harare from Monday and reports have it that the army has gone after and arrested some of the “criminals” whom they set out to get.

Officially, the Mugabe era has now ended.

Many Zimbabweans are now proclaiming ‘freedom’ from the long choking grip under which they have been for the past three decades now. Some persons, on social media, have uploaded videos of the Zimbabwean anthem, claiming to be teary-eyed by its sound for the first time in a long time. The United States Government has lifted a trade embargo. That’s how rapidly things seem to be changing for the brighter, less than 48 hours after the ‘PhD holding’ military officers of Zimbabwe carried out what could be rightly described as a professionally handled deposal. To be sure, the immediate result of the soft-coup is that the country finds itself in a constitutional crisis but many ordinary citizens are not thinking technicalities at the moment.

The course under Mr Mugabe had turned so sour from a journey of hope after doing away with white minority rule, to protectionism, gargantuan inflation and insurmountable backwardness. It sure was going to get worse with an imminent despotic transfer of power to his hard-handed and electric plug-whipping wife, Grace.

THE SUCCESSION PLAN

The Zanu PF party had already declared Mr Mugabe as its candidate for the coming elections in 2018. He is by far the oldest ruler in the world and at 93, barely makes it through public gatherings without dozing off. The revolutionary leader of the 1980s who had been the country’s Comrade as they hoped to journey towards prosperity had long stopped caring about the people. 1000% inflation was the evidence of a family who was only after the preservation of its dynasty. Being old and ineffective, there was only going to be one way to ensure the family rules on.

“He has the right to be part of the process, to say who will succeed him as President. His words will be final. Mark my words, his word will be final!” screams Mrs Grace Mugabe, at a rally.

Of course, a man of 93, who barely controls his consciousness, has as much of a right to make decisions as a toddler has the right to properly have a bath. Mrs Mugabe has been certain for a while that she would be the next President of Zimbabwe. For a woman who began her career as a typist in the Zimbabwean State House, it would most certainly be the greatest rags to riches story of any woman President in history. She does not have the Harvard degree of outgoing Liberian leader, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, but she is ‘Gucci Grace’, the name earned from extravagant shopping habits. She had been on the Italian job of kicking out all other contenders within the palace, particularly Mr Mnangagwa, a veteran of the Zimbabwean wars of the 70s. It has borne a similarity to the way she became the First Lady in the first place, already having children for Mr Mugabe even before the death of his first wife, Sally Hafron, in 1992.

THIS IS GOODBYE

They may have been kicked out of the helm of affairs but it cannot be said that this has been largely unexpected. While they have had firm plans in place to perpetuate their grip on power, they have also made plans for the day the well dries. Grace and her two sons, Robert Peter and Bellarmine Chatunga, have been regulars at South Africa, where they are said to own million-dollar properties of more than the combined income of thousands of Zimbabweans. A video, uploaded by one of the boys, shows him pouring a 200-pound bottle of champagne on a 45,000-pound watch, with the boast “When your daddy run the whole country, ya know!”

The Mugabes have a close relationship with Jacob Zuma and his government. When Grace last visited SA and physically assaulted a young lady with an electric plug for partying with one of her sons, the South African Government arranged for her diplomatic immunity to flee the country. With the end of the road now reached in her journey to the top, she could be faced with the dilemma of having to return to the same South Africa, her country of birth, as the whole of Zimbabwe would certainly be too hostile for her. The Mugabe boys are already treated as vagabonds of sorts at home and in SA, hopping from one campus to another lacking the cool head to settle down in any academic endeavour.

With the wealth they are sure to have accumulated over the years, it should not be difficult to imagine them disappearing to some island where they will begin life again. A case in point would be the ousted Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh, who, since he was deposed early in the year, has remained out of sight and out of mind.

For his role in emancipating Rhodesia, Comrade Robert may not necessarily fizzle from immediate memory. However, Zimbabweans cannot wait to lose memories of the last 30 years under the grip of Dictator Mugabe. Those who had begun to have panic attacks on how much worse their lives would become under Grace can now get medical help and recover with ease.

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