We have allowed First Family to abuse us

By Maxwell Zimuto

Zimbabwe is in an unprecedented and unenviable state, both from a socio-political and economic view point. And when a nation is in such a desperate situation, one would expect the government of the day to deploy the nation’s meagre resources to areas of urgent need, particularly targeting the poor and vulnerable groups, in order to mitigate their plight and social anguish.  

Robert Mugabe with his wife Grace at his 92nd birthday celebrations last year. Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP
Robert Mugabe with his wife Grace at his 92nd birthday celebrations last year. Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

One would also expect the government to cut on all unnecessary expenditures that gobble millions of dollars, such as international trips. It is morally and economically wrong that state resources are diverted and abused to fund unproductive activities such as impromptu solidarity marches that are designed to sanitize immoral and shameless activities. And of course, the abuse of state apparatus for political party purposes should never be tolerated.

The current state of affairs in ZANU PF is disconcerting to say the least. Something serious has gone awry and it has to be corrected now, otherwise the nation will degenerate into anarchy.  

When a whole State President and his wife take turns, as if exchanging marriage vows at a wedding ceremony, to lampoon, deride and humiliate a hapless national Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, at a public gathering for no justifiable reason, we have every cause, as peace loving citizens, to be worried particularly so, when the First Lady, Grace Mugabe, goes even further, to publicly and without shame, absolves of any wrong doing, a Minister who has a pending case before the courts. Those of us who love to see a stable Zimbabwe will continue to pray that her utterances remain as such and do not signal the coming off of the wheels of justice in our nation.

This nation is in a mess. Unfortunately, we have allowed President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace, to take us for granted for too long.

As the internecine conflict intensifies and the implosion continues within the ruling party, ZANU PF, the succession battle has become the new combat zone where history is convolutedly manipulated, twisted and turned until it loses its significance. It is not by coincidence that the Godfrey Majonga tragedy which, ostensibly, had peacefully laid in its grave for close to 30 years, suddenly becomes topical again, and is conveniently exhumed for a post-mortem review at a Politburo meeting.

The sad development though, is that the move is part of a broader strategy in which President Mugabe and his wife, supported by a coterie of hangers-on, are on a warpath, ferociously determined to crush once and for all, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ambitions of ascending to the top office in the land, should the current incumbent vacates the office for whatever reason.

President Mugabe’s startling revelation at the Bindura interface rally held on the 9th of September, 2017, that Professor Jonathan Moyo had presented a catalogue of files to the Politburo, among which included the Majonga saga, covering Vice President  Mnangagwa’s purported evil past, bear testimony to the alluded assertion. But the plot is much thicker and more deceptive than what meets the eye.

The anti-Mnangagwa group has manipulatively projected themselves as seekers of a restorative justice process for Majonga. Whether the strategy will work or not, remains to be seen. For now, the law of common sense dictates that justice, and real justice, particularly on matters of this nature, is not sought at a Politburo meeting, but is obtained at the courts of law.

When it was Dr Amai’s turn to address the crowd at the same interface rally, she went straight into combat mode and laid a myriad of allegations against Vice President Mnangagwa. These included the poison allegation, nepotism, factionalism and tribalism. The allegations, which were intermittently raised and in typical kangaroo-court style, saw a bemused Vice President Mnangagwa and his wife Auxilia, sit motionlessly, while a somewhat shocked gathering also maintained a deafening silence.

It is not the intention of this article to dig dipper, interrogate and unravel all the issues raised therein as this is a matter for another day. Suffice to say, it was an excruciating experience to both Vice President Mnangagwa and Zimbabweans who had the nerve to watch the live drama unfolding.

The free drama also provided an opportunity to understand the persona of Grace Mugabe and her moral standing in society. That she had the audacity to attack a whole Vice President in public says a lot about her character. It was discernable though, even from her facial expressions that she is under extreme emotional stress over the obtaining political situation both within the ruling ZANU PF Party and the nation in general.

She, obviously, must be concerned about her political life in the post Mugabe era. And to add salt to injury, she is disillusioned that her desire to influence the reconfiguration of a new political trajectory in which she has a key role to play is fast eluding her. As a consequence, she now suffers from a disease called political hypochondria, for lack of a better word.

It is a shame that President Mugabe and his wife now see tribalists everywhere and would have us believe that certain tribal groups are responsible for the turmoil in ZANU PF. This is utterly false.

It is his personalisation of national institutions and his failure to manage the succession issue that has caused the chaos, not only in ZANU PF, but in the entire nation. His brazen and sterile efforts to malign individuals from particular tribal groups in order to elbow them out of the succession race will not work.

Zimbabweans have been abused before and are clearer as to who should succeed him (Mugabe).