Betrayal And Power Struggle
Despite the many sins that the late Robert Mugabe has been accused of we have not heard anyone say he was anti-democratic. This liberator was to the end in my perspective committed to political change through the ballot box. So you can say what you wish, but to say he was not a supporter of democratic traditions would be a distortion of Mugabe’s legacy.
For the army who were sworn to uphold the constitutional rights of citizens by being gate keepers of order and discipline to be party to efforts to remove the president is in my perspective an egregious betrayal of trust. That action by army chief and his generals to force Mugabe to resign must have broken Mugabe’s heart. We are glad there was no bloodshed as things could have ended differently. This is an example to all. Do not politicise your armed forces.
They must be told in no uncertain terms that their role is to uphold the rule of law and protect the constituted authority. “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” this should not apply to any professional army. There should be sound army discipline at all times. The army should take instructions from none other than the head of government. That is why most armies report to the Minister of defense who is usually the PM or President. They my have a security minister but that person does not instruct the security forces. That person should be an administrator to monitor the day to day operations of the forces. This individual’s role is not to corrupt the army and become a strong person to so corrupt army officers and seize power in times of crisis for example.
From all appearances there appears to have been a power struggle in Zimbabwe as unprofessional elements plotted to direct affairs. It is my view that Robert Mugabe hung on to power for too long especially being in failing health … should have set a clear blueprint as to his successor. There was fear of a purge and this led to instability. This is not an attempt to excuse the coup. There should have been the meeting of minds as to the way forward after Mnangagwa was removed as vice President. If Mugabe wanted his successor to be Grace Mugabe his wife this should have been discussed openly and consensus arrived at. There should be no doubt who is in line in event Robert Mugabe her husband had died. He was not expected to live forever. On the other hand a loyal army central command should have been loyal to the presidency and respect the wishes of Robert Mugabe if he had even chosen or hand picked his successor. What happened in that fateful period in 2017 was a breakdown of good order.
It is my further perspective that as it relates to Robert Mugabe’s final wishes if there are such wishes … they should be respected. Mugabe deserved to be made a National Hero. This should be a given. Bestowing this accolade should not be used as a pretext to undermine the wishes of his widow Grace and family. There needs to be respectful dialogue and consensus.
Queen Elizabeth 2 is in her 90s and is still in office and has been head of the Commonwealth from 1952.
This is my perspective. What is yours? Do feel free to disagree. Mugabe’s enemies are anxious to use this period of mourning to destroy the image of the liberator, icon intellectual, Pan-Africanist and statesman in the person of Robert Gabriele Mugabe. This should not be allowed to happen. Mugabe’s legacy should be protected at all cost. He was no saint, but fought the white supremists who were in the minority, they imprisoned Mugabe without trial for 10 years, and had little regard for the majority of black people of then Rhodesia now Zimbabwe having been driven out. Robert Mugabe brought hope and dignity to Zimbabweans and for that alone is a National hero. He should not have been removed by a coup in an apparent power struggle that is in my view was a serious betrayal of trust, especially with army help.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is Senior International Correspondent for Vision Newspaper Canada