Two years after his 1980 rise to power, ostensibly to put down a rebellion, Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s forces descended on Matabeleland and slaughtered the Ndebele people on an industrial scale. A liberation lion. And a genocide.
Fast-forward to 2017: Another liberation war veteran, vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, had evolved into a ‘crocodile’.
About a month ago, the first lady, Ms Grace Mugabe, kicking up dust in her power struggle with Mnangagwa, screamed, “…those in the (Zanu-PF) Women’s League who support the crocodile, you are dead.”
Was this mere rostrum rhetoric, or the beginning of the next phase of Zanu-PF barbarism?
Robert Mugabe absolutely wanted to retain power. Grace Mugabe desperately wanted to inherit it.
If these people could conceivably submit to the latest psychiatric tests, experts would probably report that a whole nation was in the hands of damaged souls.
Anyway, Zimbabwe has tested a new way off skinning a big cat.
Tuesday evening. Mugabe has resigned, as demanded by Zanu-PF. His ego bigger than a whale, capitulation must have been almost as terrible as death.
But he did not throw away even the slimmest chance of winning.
In the battle of nerves, Zimbabwe had patiently given him time. He fought, if not to win, at least to appear to be still standing, until impeachment stared in his eyes. Then he blinked. And the explosion of joy at his fall must have been more excruciating than a crucifixion!
Before the crisis, Ms Grace Mugabe’s mercurial temperament had been ruffled by a jeweller. She had paid $1million (Shs3.6b) for a ring and got one worth a fraction of the money.
To an African first lady, the experience of being conned, of being taken for a fool, must have been more infuriating than the loss of $1million. So she had marched this particular rogue to court.
It could be worse. Socialising with – and ‘spoiling’ – Ms Mugabe’s sons had earned a South African model a thorough beating.
But wherever she is now, Ms Mugabe must be baffled how rapidly the earth has been spinning this November.
I have heard people heaping blame for Mugabe’s fall on Grace Mugabe. Rubbish. Male chauvinism and the demonisation of women, wearing African blinkers.
Grace did not make Robert Mugabe. Robert Mugabe had the will power to slaughter more than 20,000 Ndebele and damn the opposition for nearly 40 years. If he did not have the moral responsibility and will power to rise above the self-indulgence of a witch called Grace, then he had no more business running a country.
As a political party (which includes Emmerson Mnangagwa), was Zanu-PF an idiot? It had endorsed a would-be 94-year-old Robert Mugabe as its 2018 presidential candidate, as if running an African country was a tragicomic show that should end with the hero chewing his soiled pampers.
Then you heard the endless call: Uncle Bob, show us a successor.
More rubbish. Why should a dinosaur that wants to rule beyond death show you a successor? You are pumping up his delusion that he is indispensable. Mugabe did not show you a successor. Is Zimbabwe now dead?
More than many other primates, the African is a natural worshipper. He sees gods and demons that are not there. As if hypnotised, he often worships a Mugabe because he does not properly grasp how much of Mugabe’s power is real, and how so much is a myth, until the myth evaporates.
Zimbabwe has woken up. Other Africans must revisit their existence and explore the possibilities of seizing their freedom.
Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.