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Kuda Bhejana: Lessons from Terrence Mukupe’s military rant

By Kuda Bhejana

I feel bad for Honourable Terrence Mukupe. He reminds me of a proverb which says even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.

Kuda Bhejana
Kuda Bhejana

Terence Mukupe claimed at a political rally that Zimbabwe’s military establishment would not let Nelson Chamisa be sworn in as President of Zimbabwe even if he were to win the fast-approaching national elections. 

Mukupe’s statement is extremely damaging to the posturing of Zimbabwe as a democracy and as a republic. His utterances strike to the very core of the constitutional existence of Zimbabwe.

The first lesson, albeit a no brainer is that the Zimbabwe’s National Army is a paramilitary force for Zanu-PF. We empathize with this fact by considering that Zanu-PF achieved power in 1980 through the barrel of a gun, rather than the ballot. The army is constituted of troops which were ZANLA – a paramilitary force for Zanu-PF fighting the Rhodesian government of Ian Smith. 

The sad reality is that the army was never professionalized into a national army which defends all Zimbabweans and one which does not meddle in the politics of the country.

Instead, the army has become a clique of self-entitled power-hungry mercenaries who hold Zimbabwe hostage because they think they own the country.

In essence Zimbabwe’s military is the first of four arms of government, and the most powerful, over and above the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

It is Mukupe who gave further credence to this often-ignored reality.

In his rant, Mukupe inadvertently admits that Robert Mugabe was removed via a military coup in November 2017.

By saying the army would not “grab” the country from Mugabe just to give it to Chamisa, Mukupe acknowledges deep sitted interests in the Military Establishment to rule Zimbabwe, which culminated in the seizure of power that happened last year. He also admits the easiness with which the army is willing to violate the constitution of Zimbabwe by rejecting the democratic will of the people.

Mukupe acknowledges not only the “kingmaker” status of the army, but it’s unconstitutional ambition to capture the executive branch of Zimbabwe’s government as it does now through the government of President Mnangagwa.

President Mnangagwa, it could be argued, is a puppet of the army; the army’s front man, if you like. He does not make independent decisions, but only does the military’s bidding.

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And part of what the military wants him to do is to rig the next election so that military bigwigs can keep their positions in the government and in the deep state.

This truth is slowly unraveling itself right in front of our eyes as former military leaders are now part of Mnangagwa’ s cabinet, and Zanu-PF’ s administrative structures. They will not lose all this power softly.

Mukupe appears to be chastising Nelson Chamisa for his presidential ambition. Chamisa’ s presidential candidature irks Mukupe who envied this naked ambition none of Zanu-PF’s members can ever dare to express and exercise.

He addresses Chamisa as a “little kid.” This condescension is out of order because Chamisa is 40 years old, the exact age stipulated by the Constitution of Zimbabwe as when citizens can qualify to run for the presidency. 

However, we are not very surprised by this manner of thinking, especially coming from a Zanu-PF member.

Zanu-PF is an old boys club. And to survive in Zanu-PF as a young politician, you have to show a rather illogical but morally justifiable reverence for old people, without considering their ability to produce results.

That is why they allowed Mugabe to rule Zimbabwe into his 90s. 

In other words, you have to bootlick the old unqualified military-backed powerful people that run Zanu-PF.

Bootlicking is perfected by becoming a spin-doctor. Mukupe comes across as an aspiring propagandist, but one who is still far away from understanding the serious demands of the craft. 

You don’t spin lies into truth. Rather, seasoned propagandists spin truth into lies. Someone tell this to Terrence.

He claims that Nelson Chamisa said he could impregnate all the women that attended one of his recent rallies.

The credibility of this claim is rather spurious, for it would be far from the character of Chamisa as we know him, a revered and seasoned public speaker to make such reckless statements whilst seeking the highest public office. 

Whilst this claim is consistent with Mukupe’s “little boy” characterization of Chamisa, Mukupe comes across as harboring serious anger against Chamisa. Mukupe is very envious of his colleague’s presidential run. 

He even admits his own presidential ambition by saying he would also be interested in running for president, but “everything has its own time.”

Well, Chamisa’s time is now, and only God knows if Mukupe’s time will ever arrive in Zanu-PF.

As evil as is Zanu-PF they are human too, and when push comes to shove, they panic. Chamisa is becoming too confident for Zanu-PF and the army’s comfort. Zanu-PF is becoming very uneasy at the possibility of their rigging scheme failing and as Mukupe discloses, the army is their last line of defense.

Kuda Bhejana is a political commentator based in Washington DC. Follow him on Twitter, @realbhejana.