Saving Private Mutsvangwa
By Masola wa Dabudabu
President Robert Mugabe gathered enough courage to fire his fiery War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa.
Mutsvangwa will be remembered as the guy who spoke so passionately about the disgracefulness of the issue surrounding the emergence of G40.
The now jobless Mutsvangwa was swiftly replaced with Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube. The hiring and swearing-in of his was equally swift.
The former War Veterans’ minister could not afford to leave his job quietly. He could not stomach the humiliation of being told he was no longer a Cabinet minister hence his use of the sour grapes approach.
As a parting short, the fired Mutsvangwa said he was not desperate for both the ministerial and the politburo posts which he was relieved from. He even bragged that he had voluntarily left a rewarding business in the mobile telephone industry to return to frontline politics to save Zanu PF from the jaws of defeat from a nascent MDC. He also made it clear that his remit has never been to serve, but to save.
We contend that Mutsvangwa had to be saved from his delusion that he is invincible, powerful, and indispensible. He needed to be saved from his siege mentality just like in the movie Saving Private Ryan.
In his emotional state of insecurity and despair, Mutsvangwa had cocooned himself with a belief that his back was sufficiently covered from any unforeseen eventuality. He so believed that the army of aging ex-combatants would help him put up another “Hunzvi” blackmail stunt.
The most intriguing part in this rigmarole is that the man who claimed to be self-sufficient and independent preferred to be fired instead of resigning from his post as soon as he knew that his position was untenable.
Such are the hallmarks of a man, who is vulnerable to his own internal weaknesses despite his impressive educational credentials, the bitter experiences he had in China and his refusal to go on a second ambassadorial stint in Germany. A man who waits to be shot when he has an opportunity to dive or duck may be suffering from intense emotional turmoil which is difficult to differentiate from ordinary ignorance.
For ordinary Zimbabweans, there is a great deal of significance to contend with regarding this development that has half-sealed Mutsvangwa’s political fate.
The major issue is that the juggernaut that has traded evil for years is now slowly, but surely getting downsized. Those who lived by the sword are literally having their very swords being turned against them.
Somewhere around the country there are people who are genuinely happy that some form of retribution is at play. It is not a secret that Mutsvangwa was pitching for a group that is heavily laden with people whose hands are dripping with the blood of innocent civilians.
Mutsvangwa’s blameworthiness does not necessarily pass on to all the people he led as War Veterans minister far from it. The blemishes that make him less palatable to some sections of our society are the company he keeps.
Most of the men and women he associates with are those who have constantly been fingered in the atrocities that blight Zimbabwe’s 36-year-old history.
This is not to say that G40 is innocent, yet Team Lacoste proudly boasts of the largest number of the instigators of violence against innocent civilians. Mutsvangwa’s failure to acknowledge the atrocities is not helping. At least Mugabe hides behind the “moment of madness” rationale to acknowledge that crimes were committed.
Mutsvangwa and a majority of the members of Team Lacoste are in denial and would rather not discuss them openly. What is known is that most of those involved in the Gukurahundi atrocities are indeed war veterans or serving members of the military.
Surely, thousands of men would not have come from nowhere, joined the Fifth Brigade, committed atrocities and then disappeared into thin air. They were recruited to the Fifth Brigade after their service in Zanla hence their membership to the war veterans’ association.
Deep in his heart, Mutsvangwa knows the type of men and women he used to lead.
Mutsvangwa knew that during his tenure as leader of this association there were some rogue elements from a chequered past. He never sought to distance himself from any of the crimes committed by some members of his group instead choosing to align himself with those fingered in the crimes.
It has to be pointed out that Mutsvangwa may not have been personally involved in lynching Zapu supporters, yet he remains guilty by continued association with the culprits.
He may not have surrounded unsuspecting villagers in Tsholotsho and beat the lights out of their senses. He might not have gathered people around Bhalagwe Mine and executed them in cold blood. He might not have forced children to attend sadistic “pungwes” in Lupane and beyond.
He may not have been there when civilians in Matabeleland and parts of Midlands were forced to contribute money towards the construction of Zanu PF headquarters.
Certainly, Mutsvangwa knows the history behind Gukurahundi and he knows the side of the fence members of Team Lacoste stood. He knows what was done to people who could not articulate themselves in Shona. He knows the precise numbers of the victims. He served the system with utmost pride and dedication. Now, who will save Private Mutsvangwa?
Masola waDabudabu writes in his personal capacity