What is there to say about Robert Mugabe that has not been said already? His rise and fall from ‘Grace’ has been well documented, his defiance to leave office was witnessed by all, and the state in which he has left his country stands testimony to the kind of leader he became. Perhaps, the only thing we can say that has not been emphasised from the happenings in Zimbabwe is, how hard it is to see the true feelings of the people.
It would be nice to see what is now on the mind of FORMER president Mugabe, seeing the wild celebrations on the streets of Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and all of Zimbabwe. We wonder how he feels after realising that he had been living a lie. The soldiers who swore allegiance to protect him and his office have stabbed him in the back. They pretended to be loyal to their commander-in-chief, but when the deed was done, the soldiers showed whom they were truly loyal to, which is themselves.
Every time Mugabe spoke at the United Nations, African Union, SADC and COMESA, he always referred to the will of the people of Zimbabwe. He carried himself as a true patriot and a celebrated comrade of the comrades who fought in the liberation struggle.
Mugabe had no idea that the lava was boiling and there was only one man who was sitting on the crater and preventing the volcano from erupting. All along, he had been dealing with plumes of smoke that managed to escape the edges of the buttocks of this one man. Therefore, when he was convinced by his family and advisors that the molten lava could be contained, he pushed this man called Emerson Mnangagwa off the crater, producing the consequences which are still materializing on international television.
Of course analysts are cautioning Zimbabweans to be wary of their ‘saviour’ because it was his bottom that managed to suppress a revolution and not Mugabe’s weak, frail buttocks. They say this is the man who, as a matter of fact, was calling the shots in the defence forces, and therefore it will be impossible to oust him when his time comes. To some extent, the critics have a point which can be justified by the fact that all of a sudden, street vendors in Harare have money to print expensive posters worshiping Mnangagwa. But anyway, that is a story for another day.
Our point is that the people Mugabe said he was fighting for; the people he thought loved him, are undressing on the streets in jubilation for his downfall. There is no doubt that when Mugabe said “Zimbabwe will never be a colony again” citizens viewed him as the most detested colonialist. They had no means of challenging the oppression, given the iron fist with which he ruled, but in their hearts the citizens wanted a Zimbabwe without Mugabe.
This is how hard it is for those who hold political power to hear the voice of the people. They always hear and believe what their spouses say, what their advisors say, what their ministers say and most dangerously, what the intelligence says. The truth is; all these have the capacity to make a president unpopular. We can search the whole continent, but we won’t find an advisor to the President who has the capacity to tell a sitting Head of State “sir, you must step aside now because people don’t want you anymore”. The opposite is always the case, and Presidents interpret that as the people’s voice.
This is the danger that comes with silencing critics. When a President insulates himself from condemnation, he listens only to the burping sound of those he eats with, while the sound of rumbling stomachs of the majority are ignored. But even those who eat at the high table with the President are never content with what they have; they always want more power and more wealth.
They say, the most successful revolutions are instigated by the clique within the corridors of power. While they eat with their master, they study his weaknesses and they patronize him enough to earn his trust until he lets out all his secrets. Then a time comes when they feel confident enough to take him out. When they do, they swiftly move to convince the people to give them a fresh mandate to undo the bad things that the bad man had done.
It is the case in Zimbabwe, historians will tell you that the military commanders in that country were among the best-remunerated citizens, but their loyalty was not with their paymaster, and neither was it with the poor people; as citizens will soon discover when the dust settles.
But we cannot blame the people of Zimbabwe, they say when you haven’t tasted an orange before, a lemon feels like the real deal. When you are too thirsty, you convince yourself that brown water is nutricious. Therefore, let the people of Zimbabwe enjoy the moment. As they do, let other African leaders learn how hard it is to hear the true voice of the people when you are surrounded by henchmen.
Let them observe that even two to three-years-old children who are too young to understand and appreciate anything beyond their own mother’s breasts, are dancing to Mugabe’s departure, including pets.
Perhaps the only animals which are unhappy with the fall of Mugabe are the chickens, because the happiness of a man is usually a nightmare for the cock. Judging from the nature of dancing in Harare, we can assume that very few cocks survived the mouth last night.