The rapid and dramatic downfall, within a matter of eight days in November of long-serving and autocratic president Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is a wake-up call and a timely reminder to all ruthless and power-hungry dictators that it is an illusion to think that guns and a tribal army are the best guarantee for life presidency.
Towards the end of the last book of the Bible, John the Divine forecasts the following endgame: “Whoever wins the victory will receive this from me; I will be his God and he will be my son. But cowards, traitors, perverts, murderers, the immoral, those who practice magic, those who worship idols and all liars – the place for them is the lake burning with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21 v 7-8 (GNB)
I fear such fate awaits Mugabe and his Jezebel-like wife, Ms Grace Mugabe, who attempted to take the people of Zimbabwe for a ride using blatant lies, fear, intimidation and brute force. Well, their callous and mean-spirited strategy and plans have backfired. Let the evil couple dance to the music they played for many years for wananchi.
Comrade Mugabe’s days are finally over and time has come for him to account for his deeds and numerous misdeeds committed during 37 years of iron-fist rule over a peaceful and respectable population which deserves better.
What a tragic end for a man who started so well.
As I wrote in a previous column, I had the pleasure to welcome him and Joshua Nkomo (RIP) in 1975 at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport on behalf of then chairman of the OAU when the co-presidents of Zanu-PF came to address the UN Security Council on the situation in Rhodesia.
Mugabe of the good old days was a shy and reserved man, but he cut an impressive figure as a composed, sober and reasonable man of substance, not the pathetic figure we have come to know in the last 10 years. That earlier version of Mugabe was a socialist and a man of class who spoke impeccable English slowly, carefully and thoughtfully.
After procrastinating for days, Mugabe finally did the right thing on November 21 and called it quits. It is good for what remains of his reputation, but great news for a very unhappy country which must be rebuilt from the ashes and ruins.
One hopes that unlike Ugandans, our brothers and sisters of Zimbabwe will not forget the bitter lessons they have painstakingly learnt during 37 years of Mugabe’s misrule!
Ian Smith, Joshua Nkomo and thousands of Mugabe’s victims must be smiling or laughing heartily at his shameful downfall. Some must be waiting to give him a guard of dishonour at the gates of hell where my crystal ball tells me he is heading to suffer eternal damnation and disgrace!
Some lessons learnt
First, why did it take Zimbabweans more than 30 years to realise that Mugabe was fighting for himself and his wife and taking wananchi for a rough ride to nowhere? One could address the same question to many African countries, such as Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, where tyrannical one-man rule has been entrenched through bribery, deceit, lies and use of force.
Second, whether Mugabe and his type believe or not there is a time for everything in this world. Every journey has a beginning and an end. Every political career has a beginning and an end. If you doubt, ask Mobutu Sese Seko, Muammar Gaddafi, Hosni Mubarak, Blaise Compaore and Yahya Jammeh to mention, but a few.
Third, any regime which is based on lies, deception, ethnicity, injustice and half-baked stories will not last even if the regime controls the military and police forces because, in the final analysis, legitimate and real power comes from the people. Anybody who thinks he can fool all the people all the time is fooling himself. Let him ask Mobutu, Gaddafi or Mubarak and learn some lessons from them.