Mugabe a prophet without honour in his own country?
By Benjamin Semwayo
Recently the Sunday Mail published a story in which Mr Johannes Chikanya, Robert Mugabe’s ‘twin’, asserts that the latter is a prophet without honour in his own country and that people will only realise this when he is gone. Mr Chikanya idolises Mugabe, describing him in glowing terms and lavishing inordinate praises on him. Reading his description of the man who has presided over the systematic plundering and devastation of a once-prosperous country, one cannot help noticing the obvious disparity between the real Mugabe everyone knows and the one Mr Chikanya is trying to paint and impose on our minds.
In the said story Mr Chikanya relives the early days when he and Mugabe were growing up, taking great pains to accentuate his closeness and personal interactions with the man who was to become the first black leader of Zimbabwe after the colonial era. He reminisces about how they ate from the same plate, went to the Catholic Church services and were instructed by the Catholic priests. He extols Mugabe for being obedient, following in the footsteps of both his grandparents and priests and later caring for his grandparents in a loving and responsible way.
Mr Chikanya narrates how he was later robbed of Mugabe’s companionship when the young Robert left his home area in pursuit of higher education and went on to find gainful employment. He recalls how Mugabe never forgot their special relationship and bought him a suit. Mr Chikanya says Mugabe was very disciplined and loved his family. He then says Mugabe later developed an interest in politics and went on to become a leader with a vision for Zimbabwe. He saw and experienced colonial brutally and did not want it repeated in Zimbabwe. This is where most Zimbabweans differ with Mr Chikanya. This is where the falsification begins.
While we cannot dispute facts about Mugabe’s the early life because we were simply not there and therefore have no basis for making any valid claims about that period of his life, we cannot be lied to about his later life that even children at crèche know. We all know it and experience it every day. From the time Mugabe elected to run for public office his life was placed under public scrutiny and there is an indisputable running commentary of his actions recorded in the annals of history. It is there in black and white for all anyone who cares to read.
Mr Chikanya says Mugabe has a vision for Zimbabwe without telling us what the vision is. We can only deduce what it is by looking at what Mugabe went on to do after getting into power. While the war of liberation was being waged Mugabe gave us a preview of life under him when he announced in an interview that he was going to establish a one-party Marxist state, a vision that was thwarted by Edgar Tekere who is credited with putting his political career on the line for pointedly refusing to allow Mugabe to impose a one-party state ideology on the nation.
Mugabe wanted a one-party state for selfish reasons. In such an arrangement he would live a life of luxury, wallowing in riches, while the rest of us lived in abject poverty. Absolute power would ensure that there was no opposition to whatever he wanted and, more importantly, it would allow him to become a life president like the dictators he was trying to emulate, such as Muammar Gaddafi, Fidel Castro,Mobutu Sese Seko, Idi Amin and Nicolae Ceausescu, some of whom were his mentors. He is even dreaming of establishing a dynasty.
If Mugabe did not want a repeat of brutality it was brutality against him and members of his party that he did not want because he happily and brazenly meted it out to anyone expressing divergent views to his. He not only bragged of having degrees in violence and made threats that death would visit his political foes, but he actually unleashed a massacre in Matabeleland, murdering innocent souls conservatively estimated at more than 20,000 as a retribution for daring to vote against him in a general election.
He later arrogantly and disdainfully dismissed it as a moment madness, a moment spanning five years, which suggests that to him those souls were just a drop in the ocean – far too insignificant and nothing to worry about. Thousands more were murdered, maimed or made to disappear throughout his nightmarish illegitimate reign spanning thirty-seven years and counting. Illegitimate because he has rigged every election, and evidence to that effect abounds. Court appeals against stolen elections all suffer stillbirth and never see the light of day. Appeals against every election after independence are still pending.
Judging from what Mugabe has achieved, one of his visions was to impoverish the nation while enriching himself and his cronies. At independence Zimbabwe was one of the richest countries in Africa despite the crippling, full scale sanctions it was under; Mugabe and his cronies were all paupers, but now they are all billionaires with expensive assets strewn across the world while the national coffers are tinder-dry and the all facets of the national infrastructure have irreparably crumbled.
Mr Chikanya’s attempt to portray Mugabe as a magnanimous benefactor for whom Zimbabweans should be eternally grateful rings shallow and hollow: the case for his magnanimity is unarguable. Mr.Chikanya has set himself the impossible task of sanitising a man who is evil through and through, as proven by his track record. Mugabe’s erstwhile comrades such as Rugare Gumbo and Wilfred Mhanda have given insights into the true nature of the man.
That Mr Chikanya is obviously biased is easy to see.By his own admission he is a very close relative of Mugabe, one with whom he shares the umbilical cord. As such he cannot realistically be expected to give an honestly critical appraisal of a relative who did him personal favours such as buying him suits.
Mr Chikanya is silent about what Mugabe did for him since assuming the highest office in the land, but it is anybody’s guess he benefitted immensely. He obviously has his millions stashed away in a safe haven, and a mansion or two abroad. When the power of the people prevails and Mugabe has to do a runner like Yahya Jammeh, the former President of The Gambia, they will run together.
As for Zimbabweans realising what a prophet without honour Mugabe was after his departure, nothing can be further from the truth: the history of the country will be rewritten and the spotlight will be trained on the real Mugabe and his murky past. Researches will be given unfettered access to every kind of information, record and detail. People will be horrified and a lot of innocent people who share the same surname with Mugabe the dictator will not want to be associated with the stench exuded by that name. Many will change their names. Information currently kept under wraps will be unearthed and published.