Paranoia of the demented: A tell of Mugabe and imaginary assassins

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THE late veteran nationalist, James Dambaza Chikerema, Robert Mugabe’s uncle and childhood neighbour, did not only shade some light into the incumbent’s psyche, but, in death, exposed the centurion’s worst flaw which is the inability to forgive real and perceived enemies in spite of his routine visits to the Vatican as a born again.
As Chikerema recalled, few among them disputed Robert’s intellect, especially his academic prowess spiced with unparalled fluency in English which, together with other veterans of the struggle like Edgar Tekere, he foolishly equated to wisdom. Regrettably, it is Mugabe’s physical allure consolidated by his distinguished academic stamina that masks the demon in the infamous dictator of Zvimba.
Indeed, as Chikerema reveals, Mugabe has always been an insecure boy from childhood, a bully and sour loser to the extent that when he felt cornered by other herd boys, he would not hesitate to drive his cattle to a secluded area of pasture for the rest of the day – attributes of intolerance which have plagued his political career ever since. Even in death, Mugabe never forgave James Chikerema and other foes including Ndabaningi Sithole who were denied heroes status while known thugs and bootlickers from Chenjerai Hunzvi to Border Gezi had the honour of being buried at the Heroes Acre.
In fact, Mugabe showed clear signs of mental retardation even in childhood as evidenced by Chikerema’s narrative, problems that are clearly manifested now with old age but, unfortunately, Zimbabweans, couldn’t diagnose correctly their leader’s mental problem for the past 34 years with dire consequences. Abandoned by his father, raised by his fanatically religious mother, and devastated by the death of his adored older brother, Robert Mugabe’s childhood left him lonely, bitter and ruthless.
In nature, he is an insecure man, an attribute nurtured from childhood , one who sees enemies all around him , a man unused to challenge, for, he is the Alpha and Omega. Is it a surprise that his motorcade consists of more than forty vehicles? The incumbent expresses his paranoia as he ambushes Nicholas Goche, one of the alleged coup plotters as he fires his salvo, ‘Ndimika muri kupumhwa huroyi’ (You are the one being accused of witchcraft).Advertisement

In Mugabe’s imaginary world, inherited from a disturbed childhood, for which he needed treatment, everyone is after his life which is dearer than that of Josiah Tongogara, Herbert Chitepo, Lookout Masuku, Rashiwe Guzha, Tonderai Ndira, Tichaona Chiminya, Christpower Maisiri, Talent Mabika, Solomon Mujuru and many others whose deaths never bother the incumbent as he only shed tears over the deaths of his mother, sisters and brothers.  
It is regrettable that for the past 34 years, the nation has been unaware of their leader’s mental problems, leaving him on the steering wheel; a paranoid, selfish bully prepared to go to his grave with the nation. It is this paranoia that fools Mugabe into believing that Mujuru is after his head. For, who on earth would be all that foolish to ambush a 90-year-old and frail incumbent? Even Joyce Mujuru, in spite of all her flaws would not bother to flog a dead horse.
It is Mugabe’s mental retardation coupled with paranoia that fools him into believing that he is still a teenager to the extent of dying his hair at such an advanced   age. At best, any would-be assassin, be it Mujuru, Mutasa or Goche, would wait for nature to take its toll on Mugabe rather than waste even a single bullet and be haunted by the stigma of the treasonous act.
In fact, poor Mugabe should learn from Rugare Gumbo who appreciates the long life he has enjoyed even if it means he dies today, for he has played his part in liberating the country. In contrast, the demented Mugabe is not satisfied with the long life he has had and is even prepared to sacrifice the lives of the young who still have a future, from Job Sikhala to Itai Dzamara and others. It is the incumbent’s mental retardation, a problem identified by James Chikerema but hidden to most Zimbabweans that forces him to cling onto power even at that advanced age and in spite of his poor health; he is clearly an insecure man. He can’t trust either Mnangagwa or Mujuru, hence, grooming ‘Gucci’, his youthful sweetheart in spite of her proven intellect deficiency.
In addition, and contrary to the myth that the incumbent is a sophisticated schemer whose shrewdness sets him high above the rest, Mugabe is too simple and predictable in behaviour. He hasn’t changed much since the 1970s; a ruthless, bitter and unforgiving bully who can’t stomach a challenge. It is these attributes that fool him into believing that Joyce Mujuru should have attended the party’s congress and be undressed in her person; for the dictator derives pleasure in inflicting harm on his victims.
Mugabe is a man who has thrived on the manipulation of state power to silence critics and foes alike. He has thrived on this strategy for too long; framing enemies through assassination plots as a means to serve his selfish interests.  It was predictable that Mugabe was to use Mujuru as a shock absorber to fend off opponents in the same way he used Muzenda against perceived adversaries to the throne from Edson Zvobgo and others.
Indeed, the incumbent achieved his selfish goal and now it is time to dumb Mujuru, but the vice president’s image has to be dehumanised first to justify the attack, hence the allegations of corruption and extortion being levelled against her. The image of the renowned veteran Teurai Ropa Nhongo has to be dehumanised to justify the ill-treatment, hence Chris Mutsvangwa’s dismissal of the liberation story linking Mujuru to the downing of a helicopter.
Isn’t it a known law of the jungle that when a lion intends to devour its cubs, it accuses them of smelling like goats? Mujuru and camp have satisfied the incumbent’s selfish interests and now it’s time for them to be slaughtered at the altar. This ruthlessness and cunning behaviour is consistent with Mugabe’s reign ever since. Didn’t Dumiso Dabengwa and Lookout Masuku suffer the very fate Mujuru is embroiled in as early as 1982 when they were charged with treason for attempting to assassinate Mugabe? In order to silence Joshua Nkomo and Ndabaningi Sithole, didn’t Mugabe charge them with treason on the very grounds Mujuru’s case is being framed?
As if that is not enough, Mugabe’s simplicity and naivety as opposed to sophistication is exposed again in 2002 when his arch-rivals Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube of the MDC are charged with treason on trumped up charges involving Ari Ben Menashe in plans to “eliminate” the incumbent, only for the courts to clear Tsvangirai in 2004, with charges against the other two men dropped.
In fact, it is on record that Edgar Tekere of ZUM is the only opposition leader of a sizeable party to date never to be charged with treason. In light of this evidence, who is naïve enough to be of the opinion that Mugabe is a master tactician and schemer besides being too simple and easy to predict? And now, it is Joyce Mujuru’s turn to be the sacrificial lamb and she has to be slaughtered on the alter while Jonathan Moyo, Gucci, Saviour Kasukuwere and Oppah Muchinguri dance around the sacred place with saliva dripping all over.
In Mugabe’s calculation, Mujuru has to be sacrificed for several reasons: Firstly, she has outlived her usefulness. Mugabe used her to fend off opponents and he has retained his post long enough to the end of his reign. As such, Joice has no more role to play in his scheme. Secondly, getting rid of Mujuru by framing her as an assassin and witch would automatically rule out the poor widow from the succession equation, for she was never Mugabe’s choice of successor from the beginning as theirs was a marriage of convenience.
Thirdly, there has to be a scapegoat who derailed ZimAsset and other economic programmes and that culprit is Mujuru, hence Grace’s accusations that the president is deputised by a lazy vice president. Did Mugabe deliver any meaningful policy pronouncement during the party’s congress besides lambasting the poor widow? In any case, why is it that Joice’s crimes are unveiled soon after her husband’s mysterious death? Is it a surprise that some die-hard Zanu PF fanatics take the attacks on Mujuru to extraordinary levels by accusing her of interfering with the rainfall pattern in the country in order to derail the land reform programme spearheaded by the incumbent?
Fourthly, allegations of a coup plot are meant to divert the attention of the restless population who need answers from Mugabe after the incumbent failed to deliver on his election promises.  Fifth, Mujuru is being sacrificed for expressing her reservations on Grace’s entry into active politics and, for that alone, the poor widow has crossed the line in the incumbent’s selfish calculations for which she has to pay dearly, hence the trumped up charges being levelled against her.
Indeed, time is not on Grace’s side for Mugabe can’t afford to die or go into the vegetative state without resolving the succession issue, hence the need to fast track the whole process and purge real and perceived enemies.  That being said, these developments are a blessing in disguise for Joice Mujuru’s growth for she will be forced to reflect on her ill-treatment of Joshua Nkomo in the past in collusion with Mugabe, her nemesis today. Let us hold our breath as the drama unravels and as predictable, its climax will be Mugabe’s death and Zimbabweans should be prepared for the worst.    
William Muchayi is a pro-democracy and political analyst who can be contacted on