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Grace Kwinjeh: The Coup, Grace Mugabe’s cry for help, and why Kasukuwere is still not our ‘Saviour’

“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”

By Grace Kwinjeh

Zimbabweans are still haunted by the November 2017 coup, that toppled the late former President Robert Mugabe from power.

Grace Kwinjeh is a journalist and and women's rights advocate.
Grace Kwinjeh is a journalist and and women’s rights advocate.

In trying to handle and deal with the trauma and guilt, the debate on the coup, exposes the lack of honesty and duplicity among Zimbabwe’s political players, who for self glory at each point, re-write our history, in a selfish attempt to come out smelling like roses.

Tina Turner in one of my favourite hit songs, sings, ‘we don’t need another hero.’ And I add “we now just want leaders, to take us home.”

On the eve of the 2017 coup, my namesake Mwenewazvo Soko Grace Mugabe’s shrill cry for help could be heard throughout the world.

“We are being threatened night and day that if a particular person does not become president we will be killed,” she cried out.

“We will not bow to that pressure. They say there will be a coup, but no-one will recognise you. The African Union will not recognise you, the SADC [Southern African Development Community] will not.”

Everybody heard, but not many took notice or even cared, the hatred for the Mugabe’s and everything they stood for, eclipsed all reason and understanding, that their departure would end up just that, two human beings gone – everything else remains intact, logic defied.

Yes, following that, people were killed during the coup, we raised alarm for those in the G40 who were under siege, not because we agreed with their politics, but that our common humanity requires us to be compassionate, even when those who have tormented us are in trouble.

I did not sleep for 72 hours, missing the historic ‘coup moment’, more concerned about those whose lives were in danger, among them Jonathan Moyo and Savior Kasukuwere.

I have never met them, have no briefing from them, might probably never meet them, but it was an instinctive call to duty, that is my nature.

Grace Mugabe’s warnings are soon to be felt, in many instances later, these include the August 1 killings when the military opened fire on innocent civilians, we are haunted to date, not because of her and her personal struggles, but our lack of diligence and foresight.

Preceding the coup, for weeks, the role of the army in national politics was a source of much rancour and escalated tensions, the Mugabe’s rightfully arguing that politics should lead the gun not the other way round. They lost that fight.

I wrote an article for a local publication, fully understanding and stating why Grace was raising important issues to do with the historically disturbing role of the war vets and the military in our body politic. Security sector reform being one of the key areas the opposition movement was agitating for and why they should connect to her fears.

The only other person I remember who put up a spirited and principled fight at this time was Dr Nkululeko Sibanda, who raised the same fears, warning all, but his well researched academic arguments fell on deaf ears. The opposition was on dizzy heights, they had arrived, Mugabe was gone, power was theirs, but, the fundamentals had not been dealt with.

Our MDC leaders and colleagues had disturbingly sold out, openly working with notorious Zanu PF entities who include Acie Lumumba, he became a featured face at party rallies, Victor Matemadanda became an instant darling.

A historical moment was lost, as party leaders became victims of Zanu PF’s shrewdness, in a typical manner that Esau signed away his birthright to Jacob, vakatengesa, a process they are now trying to strenuously undo.

All this history is important and I can’t at this point write it all down, including the Mugabe parliamentary impeachment process.

Zimbabwe is dying slowly, stuck in a stalemate that necessitates a few of our leaders, all political players, at the top to swallow their pride, and break within a matter of minutes.

As citizens watching, in need of reprieve, we are simply sick and tired of double faced leaders, who at each point change goal posts and play victim when they are made to account for their decisions.
Where there is no vision people perish.

It was a painful and totally heartbreaking chain of events to watch from afar, unbelievable short sightedness, the V11 are there on my Facebook timeline for all to see, on the events surrounding the coup.

The opportunity was missed for the MDC to remain strong and negotiate a transition in which they would have a stake and hand to influence the future of Zimbabwe’s politics post Mugabe. This was lost in the furore and excitement of the moment, culminating in all of them attending and endorsing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration. Again turn to my Facebook timeline on this days.

After calling out former Zanu PF minister and politician, Savior Kasukuwere, on his role in the violence, killings and rape, that the country went through, during his time especially in the Mashonaland Central province, his spin doctors are on the attack associating me with the Lacoste faction and that I supported the coup.

NO. As an exile who has to daily deal with my own personal challenges, watching from afar events in my beloved country, I have always disassociated myself from cliques, factions, feeding troughs, I do not have the luxury for narrow, myopic politics. My sacrifice and struggle is too painful for that.

I follow instinct, right now Savior is not the person who is going to lead Zimbabwe, there are many factors which I have outlined before, we deserve better as a country, and we can do better.

Grace Kwinjeh is a journalist and and women’s rights advocate