Understanding that Ncube, a man equipped with a will of steel, meant business and could have confronted Mugabe’s regime in a suicidal but effective march, Mugabe sent the Central Intelligence Organisation to record the archbishop’s bedroom activities.
The revelations were explosive and damning. The archbishop, who is sworn to celibacy, was caught on camera performing felatio on women and the wild pornography was broadcast on national television. Humiliated and disgraced, the brave bishop failed to surmount the bad publicity and was effectively silenced.
Before Ncube, some Zimbabweans in Zanu PF, fed up with Mugabe’s genocidal and disastrous rule, proposed that an intelligent statesman, the theologian and scholar Canaan Banana must be brought forward to replace Mugabe. Banana, a combative theologian who once proposed “to rewrite the bible”, was an imposing challenger for Mugabe who was battling dwindling popularity.
A CIO agent Jefta Dube came up and accused Banana of sodomising him. The theologian was humiliated, tried, jailed and finished.
The same fate awaited Zanu Ndonga leader Ndabaningi Sithole who was tried and convicted of allegedly trying to assassinate Mugabe in 1997. He died three years later a broken man.
The spooky way in which Mugabe treated Pius Ncube, Canaan Banana and Ndabaningi Sithole is cinematic of how he handles political challengers that he fears and cannot fault in any other ways besides exposing and criminalising their lower sides.
So far, by ordinary appearance, Mugabe’s hold on political power in Zimbabwe looks like the firm grip of an octopus. With Morgan Tsvangirai boycotting here and scoring political on-goals there, while appearing rudderless on any clear political way forward, Mugabe has so far appeared a skilled political macavity who is slippery like a fish in water.
Besides the understandable excitement and optimism encouraged by the rise of Welshman Ncube, a decorated legal mind and political strategist to the leadership of MDC and the increasing prominence of Dumiso Dabengwa, a seasoned warrior who has summered and wintered in the struggle, most Zimbabweans are, like Pius Ncube, “praying for Mugabe’s death.”
Unlike the tearful and somber South Africans who called prayer meetings, lit candles and held night vigils upon hearing that Nelson Mandela had been taken ill, most Zimbabweans prepared to party, and “prayed” for the worst when rumors circulated that Mugabe’s life was in danger in Malaysia. It is a widely-held belief among disillusioned and tired Zimbabweans that Mugabe’s death will bring Zimbabwe closer to democracy, peace and orderly governance.
I write in this article to argue that Mugabe, as a personification of the historical, political, legal and economic crisis in Zimbabwe must be solved alive and solved so totally that even his ghost need not be feared. I also write to observe that there are many political and historical landmines that lie buried around a possible Mugabe death at this moment.
Besides acting and appearing strong, Mugabe is ailing physically and a weakling politically who is hostage to his securocrats and economic hangers-on in Zanu PF who are using his name and symbolism to hold on to the benefits of economic and political power that come with it.
A Socratic observation of the political and historical circumstances that surround Mugabe’s hostage status indicates a strong possibility that upon his death, an extremist Mugabeist political cult might rise and in his name torment Zimbabwe more than Mugabe ever did in his lifetime.
Minus the fact that Mugabe’s death is likely to unite the cracking Zanu PF, his replacement is likely to outdo him in Mugebeism to prove that he or she can fit into his big genocidal boots. Mugabe’s death in office undefeated and unprosecuted for his crimes will give the many genocidal offenders in Zanu PF a legal argument that they conducted genocide under legal instructions of the late Commander in Chief.
Besides that, the removal by death of Mugabe from office as things stand cannot in any way translate to victory or political power for the opposition in Zimbabwe, his death can only perpetuate rather than weaken the wicked Zanu PF genocidal agenda.
The many Zanu PF hardliners who continue to show fanatical and near cultic support for Mugabe are not Zimbabweans who love and honour “a dear leader.” It is a collection of fearful beneficiaries of Mugabe’s violence, corruption, patronage and pillage who stand to lose their freedom, wealth and even lives in the case of his departure.
These are Mugabe’s zealots who have raped, murdered, robbed and stolen in the name of Mugabeism and are most likely to be thrown into extremism upon Mugabe’s death and run down Zimbabwe in a bloody civil war if not managed strategically by the political opposition.
Contrary to their pretensions and posturing, these zealots are not courageous but dead afraid. They include some of Mugabe’s top ministers and service chiefs in the military and intelligence echelons. They have access to arms and other state resources which make them a formidable, though not indefatigable force. If handled with adequate political masonry, they can prove to be a small political quantity whose fears and weaknesses can be exploited to assure victory.
That Zanu PF has feuding factions cannot be doubted. Mugabe has remained as the leader by playing them against each other and ensuring that they all report to him. It is the political spinelessness and ineptitude of Morgan Tsvangirai that he has totally failed to attract any of these factions to his side and permanently crack and finish Zanu PF.
Observations of cultic behaviors and tendencies suggest that Mugabe’s death might actually unite these factions who might then rally behind his appointed successor, and in his name sentence Zimbabwe to turmoil. Whoever will replace Mugabe is most likely going to desperately try to prove his worthiness to fit into Mugabe’s “strongman” political template by exceeding Mugabe in violence, cruelty and genocidal inclinations.
If the political opposition in Zimbabwe in that case does not employ political craft and gamesmanship, Zimbabwe might be taken back politically by many years.
It is a well understood Zanu PF plan that Mugabe should not suffer the indignity of being replaced alive and being out of office and powerless. This is mainly to allow him to cling to the immunity from prosecution for crimes against humanity and escape possible harassment by political opponents.
Mugabe’s death at the moment would be a natural and somewhat dignified escape from justice to the comfort of the grave. Those securocrats that Mugabe used to commit genocide will then remain with the argument that they were sent to slaughter civilians by a head of state, which is a lousy legal argument but a sound political excuse.
Those opposition politicians who have a genuine interest in solving the excesses of Mugabeism in Zimbabwe should look at confronting him in his lifetime, and not wait for death that might strengthen rather than weaken him.
It appears clearly from the evidence of previous elections that electoral defeat alone is not enough to remove Mugabe from office as he is most likely to ignore the results and stay on. Even his death at this point in time cannot dethrone Mugabeism, it can only hide Mugabe from prosecution; give his securocrats legal leverage while the genocidal system persists in power.
Mugabe’s only survival tactic in politics is violence and the tried and tested manipulation of the fear of death that politicians like Tsvangirai suffer from, often leading to boycotts when the country needs real leadership.
The solution to this will be found by politicians who will mobilise the many Zimbabweans into self defence mode against the few youth militias, soldiers, police and war veterans who are instructed to intimidate the people. As soon as these hired forces are overwhelmed by the many Zimbabweans who are prepared to die for freedom, precedence has it that the armed forces are known to turn around and join the people. This takes reckless and suicidal leaders who understand that under the shadow of death is where freedom normally hides.
Mugabe will be removed by politicians who will surmount the fear of death and breathe courage to the population. Leaders who will, with their trusted people power and large numbers, demolish Mugabe’s thin fortresses of violence and extract freedom and justice from the sinking regime. In his lifetime, Mugabe must see the colour of defeat, taste the bitter cup of justice and smell the freedom of his victims.
The removal of Mugabe from office will not be a beauty pageant or a picnic but a wrestling match with the gods that only those leaders with the jihadist ingredient and suicidal element need to attend. Too much love for life or too much fear of death are qualities that are not needed in the political theatre that will uproot the titanic tyranny in Harare. Praying and wishing for Mugabe’s death is not enough, not even voting in huge numbers will help, what is needed is the conquest of the fear of death and then Mugabe will be Tunisiad and Egypted from State House.
Paying Mugabe in his own currency by standing up pound-for-pound to his violence is a political choice that Zimbabweans should be seriously thinking of, or otherwise stop wasting time in preparing for elections whose results Mugabe will ignore.
Dinizulu Mbikokayise Macaphulana is a Zimbabwean journalist studying in Lesotho. He can be contacted on e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org