CONCEALED to many of us is that the real misfortunes of a true crocodile pursue Emmerson Mnangagwa and the politics that he represents. The crocodile tears over corruption and crime in Zimbabwe that he continues to shed are not enough to drown his present crisis.
This is a beleaguered man. The big paradise of power and prestige he sought to build is dangerously troubled. Suddenly the larger world has become too big and scary, he cannot answer the international questions being asked, and Zimbabwe itself has become too small like a muddy and drying pond, the crocodile cannot hide and time is ticking.
Making it all worse, forget the poorly but strong and brave Morgan Tsvangirai and the aged but durable Robert Mugabe, this particular man is unwell bodily, fragile and truly getting closer to palliative measures. The emperor is sick and the willing spirit and consuming ambition are not making it better; Mugabe hinted this but we were too excited to hear. The power of stealth, springing of surprises, the poisonous liver and the tenacity that are the political gifts of a real crocodile are not his anymore if they were in the first place; the mafiadom is crumbling.
As misguided political excitement about the coup dies down, the cold reality that he has been the first criminal around Mugabe and that he is the true godfather of corruption that became richer than the country dawns, and the once friendly commanders, disunited and feuding amongst themselves, have started reading the riot act, this crocodile is a stooge of an ambitious and unprofessional soldierate that is also beleaguered.
Behind the political scenes and the rhetoric of smiling commanders making press presentations, a civil war is brewing in the land. The coup makers cannot agree on anything past, present and future. Esizakubona lonyaka! Here is a true vertigonous imbroglio. A brainless giant is dangling guns and bombs and swinging around in the land.
The Impossible Promises
While Robert Mugabe was building his own reputation and opportunistic legend as a gallant anti-imperialist who championed indigenisation and economic freedom in Africa, forcefully re-possessing farms and factories from whites, Emmerson Mnangagwa, his historical side-kick was making dirty money protecting white commercial farmers and industrialists from dispossession. Those he failed to protect and their farms were taken, he promised them redress when Mugabe goes, and now Mugabe is gone. Tense meetings were held while Mnangagwa was in hiding in South Africa recently, among other places, at the Waterkloof Golf Club in Pretoria, with Rhodies and some angry Afrikaner right-wingers that have been plotting and funding the progress towards the coup for years.Advertisement
Here is the capital dilemma; will he deliver the farms and the factories back to the Rhodies and the Boers and betray some Zimbabweans in the mess or will he give the angry white supremacists the middle finger and risk an assassination or worse? These few but powerful monsters have the world system behind them. The crocodile, politically, is caught between the mud and some fire.
That Stubborn Chapter of Insanity
Both Mugabe and Mnangagwa desperately wished the Gukurahundi genocide forgotten. They even tried, not only unsuccessfully but disastrously, to use the land reform project to dilute the communities and populations of victims in the Midlands and Matebaleland by settling amongst them people from Mashonaland, a last minute attempt at nation building and social engineering. This made things worse.
Mugabe wants the genocide forgotten as the mistake of insanity while, ever simplistically, Mnangagwa thinks history, even that of a genocide, is like a boring book that can be closed at will by one that opened it.
The chapter is not closing and the plea of insanity is not holding either. The present coup has only energised Gukurahundi victims in Zimbabwe and the world over. Some of them forgave but did not forget and others forgot but did not forgive, and with Mnangagwa’s ascendancy and a changed world system, they smell justice.
More interestingly, the betrayed Rhodies and angry Boers that I discussed above are the ones that are threatening to raise the stick of the Hague for Mnangagwa, a real stick for him as Mugabe can escape into old age and senility. A real but unverifiable document, the way all spooky texts are, quotes a statement Mnangagwa made:
“It looks like, for all the sins and crimes I did for him, HE is prepared to leave me behind out of power and without immunity, at the mercy of our joint enemies. How cruel can one treat a loyal servant like myself, a servant of jail and freedom time, I dealt death to my war time comrades for HE when he was in real danger”.
Never mind the choreographed calmness, Mnangagwa is a terrified man. The document is stated as a letter he wrote and which he wanted leaked to Mugabe in the days before he was sacked.
Trouble in Paradise
Besides the fragile health, a grave condition of the body where organ failures and collapses are known to attack persons in a similar state, Mnangagwa’s most immediate terror is the anger and divisions that are in the troubled security sector.
Most of us remember well the clean and uniformed generals that posed for the cameras with Robert Mugabe in the peak of the coup. Nothing is more novel than a smiling soldier; it had to appear like a true benevolent coup where the safety of the dethroned one and his family was guaranteed!
These generals and the army details, police persons and the spooks, jointly and separately are not friends. They have been divided by politicians and business moguls along factional, tribal and money lines. After Mugabe who systematically found ways of being the glue and umbrella that brought every one of them together is gone, there is now trouble in the paradise.
In the security sector, Solomon Mujuru’s wounded boys and some girls smell revenge. Mugabe’s own loyalists are not sleeping, Chiwenga’s own paid up troops are boisterous and excited, and some of Chiwenga’s loyalists are not necessarily Mnangagwa’s loyalists. It is a jungle of anger, hatreds and suspicions. The temperatures are presently cold between the chief coup maker and the chief coup beneficiary.
There is talk of bringing in Dumiso Dabengwa to calm the sleeping but alive ZIPRA element and glue together the ZANLA element that is divided and chaotic. At long last, some despised and marginalised ZIPRA old boys are enjoying the trust of feuding ZANLA operatives that now can only admire the discipline of ZAPU cadres.
And there are young educated technocrats in the security sector, philosophising mavericks that have scared wartime commanders into literally buying doctorates to keep up. Some scholarly pretenders in Zimbabwe and outside made good money drafting dissertations for moneyed security bosses in the near-past. Some drafted and also marked them, the supervisor became the examiner and the principal in some interesting cases.
The young and educated elite in the services have other ideas besides: Pasi Nemhanduuuu! And this is a problem, no one can blink, big people are not sleeping in the land. Some who were united on the coup are no longer friends after the coup. As I write, bitter enemies are now spooking and monitoring each other by the clock.
The Hell of Pan-Africanism
In his long years in power, Robert Mugabe became a great African but a terrible and evil Zimbabwean. He enjoyed Pan-African support but did not achieve true national support except what he bought and what he forced with guns and sticks. The SADC and AU region might, at leadership level, be happy that Mugabe finally left but they are not excited that Mnangagwa took over the coup way in which he did.
Mnangangwa’s coup is celebrated in Europe, America and in China, not in Africa. Outside the water and inside the house of power in Africa the crocodile has zero legitimacy, and neither does he have the intellectual resources to muster the diplomacy to build the legitimacy which is important political and historical capital.
Around Mnangagwa are advisors like Chris Mutsvangwa, famous for sound and not sense, and too excited for a sober leader in a world that demands calm engagement and cutting edge diplomacy. Mnangagwa, with such advisors will build more enemies and some dangerous ones.
The South Africans in particular, when one reads their recently declassified foreign affairs documents, are aware of the long relationship Mnangagwa, in person as then security minister and ZANU-PF at large, had with the apartheid regime. It is on record that Mnangagwa pledged to work with the apartheid regime to crash Umkhonto weSizwe and ZIPRA in Zimbabwe.
Like Botha, who was also infamously called “The Great Crocodile” many African regimes are at best suspicious and at worst contemptuous of Mnangagwa who is a real anti-climax from Robert Mugabe the polished orator who used to raise hair in AU, SADC and UN platforms.
In a rhetorical encounter, in speech and political performance, Mugabe the genocidist, was a champion of world note. Emmerson Mnangagwa is, in all that, a true and powerful sleeping tablet to audiences that have gotten used to Mugabe’s angry, hateful but still artistic deliveries. Africa, in particular, will be a diplomatic hell for Emmerson Mnangagwa, a real stumbling block of a fatal measure.
The Banality of Evil
Robert Mugabe will go down in history as an evil genocidist who used revolutionary talk to mask his personal thirst for power. He oppressed, exploited and killed for power. He has been received by the world as a true tragic figure who carried all the promise for Zimbabwe and humanity but delivered dead bodies and mass graves.
On evil and its banality, stupidity and sinfulness, Mnangagwa will go down the same but also worse off. No amount of soap or reformist coup propaganda can wash him clean of the massacres and assassinations of masses and at times innocent children. Politically Mnangagwa sees nothing, not opponents, no adversaries but blood enemies.
Mnangagwa cannot be a tragic figure because his evil is not covered by any promise, such as the art and choreography of good that Mugabe held. This man belongs to the realm of politics as the science of annihilation and expenditure of lives; witchcraft itself. This will not stop and pressure will soon force him to his tried and tested art of killings.
With the primitive talk of his excited supporters that the military will be involved in election campaigns, something that would embarrass even a fascist regime, Africa and the world should prepare to overcome another genocide. Left unchecked, Mnangagwa and his excitable supporters will seek to silence old victims with more violence and also create new victims with the same art of killing the enemy. As the world presently stands, the Hague might get Mnangagwa before the “flue” that is eating him expires him.
The Great Enchantment
Did the coup excite Zimbabweans? It was a spectacular explosion of biblical extents. Newsmen suspended journalism, lawyers abandoned jurisprudence and high priests turned away from theology to celebrate “getting out of the constitution to deliver change and then going back, hopefully, to the constitution again”.
Veteran opposition politicians and enduring human rights activists gathered to deliver a Zimbabwean spring, the world’s first benevolent coup and selfie revolution. Even the very embodiment of political principles, the one who jumped Mugabe’s ship in ethics, Nkosana Moyo was reported ready to work with the new regime.
Well, the signs are already out, and the reality is unfolding and will soon present itself in very cold and bloody terms, Zimbabwe is now under the tyranny of a military junta. Sadly, some respectable people, possibly eyeing possible appointments and promotions have indelibly lent their big names in support of this coup. Even such dangerous nonsense as that “the AU and SADC must stay away from our coup, where have they been” was temporarily elevated to political wisdom.
Good Zimbabweans, we will soon wish the SADC, AU and UN were resident in Zimbabwe because a monster is afoot. The same biblical enchantment that blessed the coup, with the opposition and Zimbabwean masses tragically mobilised into it, will be the same energy that will complete the tragedy of Emmerson Mnangagwa and his politics.
Behold Command Elections
One day Africa will take Paul Kagame and his political lessons seriously. The lesson that when a genocide appears it must be attacked, solved and measures put to prevent any of it in the imaginable future is epochal. The coming elections in Zimbabwe will be command elections; the constitution and the world will be ignored and Zimbabweans on the pain of fire, sticks and guns will be told how to vote.
Politically, that is in the ideological sense, the North Koreans are in power in Zimbabwe. What Perence Shiri, Dominic Chinhenge (now called Constantino Chiwenga) and Emmerson Mnangagwa are known for in Matabaleland will soon be seen by the whole country.
Anyone who saw the mass shootings, rapes, forced sexual acts between children and parents, people forced to dig their own graves before they are shot, burning of entire families in tightly locked huts and the bayonetting of pregnant women will not wish the evil for even Lucifer himself and his expelled angels.
The Gukurahundists are in power and they want your votes the Gukurahundi way. The coming command elections will make Zimbabwe miss the carefully and artfully crafted manifestos of Jonathan Moyo; those jingles and political aphorisms that sought to modernise and give a democratic soul and face to ZANU-PF, and even Grace Mugabe’s rantings will be remembered as gospel in the presence of the coming storm that washes away the criminals around Zimbabwe.
The previous genocide was supposedly after some dissidents; the coming one is after some criminals in reference to political opponents. Real hoodlums and hooligans that have no ideas in Zimbabwe, or any idea of Zimbabwe and its future are in power and want your endorsement. These fanatics and sycophants of the junta, in their school boy simplicity, are in many ways like suicide bombers; they are prepared to die and to be hanged at the Hague. The problem is that they want you to die first; worse, even children in Zimbabwe know that this lot cannot win a free even if unfair election in hell.
People and Principles
Recently, Wole Soyinka asked African scholars to worry less about the African problem of leadership and stress over the crisis of followership. To look at the excitable fanatics and dung-brained sycophants who push leaders into evil is what we need to do. Blinding excitement and deafening simplicity and excitability of supporters buries leadership and leaders.
In a shallow political grave, Emmerson Mnangagwa will be buried by those that profess support for him but do not have any idea how the world works; people that live for the minute. Does anyone remember the clip of Christopher Mutsvangwa, in the thickness of the coup when Mugabe was in resistance, saying they (war vets and the army) will allow the crowds into Mugabe’s house and the “mob will do their thing”; that is tear the dictator apart with stone, knife and hand?
A warning that Joshua Nkomo gave to Mugabe “don’t teach young people blood, next they will want yours”. Not only Chris, many people that were brought up by Mugabe and in his day worshipped him, were prepared to kill for him and benefitted from his crimes, were now prepared to kill him for easy promotion in the new era.
If Emmerson Mnangagwa dreams himself safe from these unprincipled killers around him, then he is a true log in the water that believes that it is a crocodile. Zimbabwe is going through really interesting and dangerous times. Many are in danger who think of themselves dangerous.
Dinizulu Mbikokayise Macaphulana writes from Pretoria, South Africa. He can be reached via email – firstname.lastname@example.org.