How Mugabe Has Successfully Manipulated Zanu (PF) For 34 Years
By Prince Tongogara
President Robert Mugabe is one-step away from his crowning moment as Zimbabwe’s imperial leader after King Lobengula. His ambition to turning Zimbabwe into a kingdom where his word is the law is just one central committee away and his inauguration a week away during the watershed Zanu PF sixth national congress.
In a Saturday politburo meeting that lasted 11 hours Mugabe imposed his will on Zanu PF. The supreme party organ approved the constitutional amendments that make him the Alpha and Omega in Zanu PF and by extension the state.
Zanu PF henceforth will only be electing party president who in turn appoints his vice-presidents, national chairman and politburo members.
That Mugabe has always been the crown prince is not in doubt but his shrewdness in this day and age of constitutionalism that he could manipulate his party to crown him an absolute monarchy is outstanding.
Like the Machiavellian politician he is, Mugabe in the last three months isolated his perceived competition to the mantle through a series of sinister and stage-managed accusations and votes of no confidence.
Among those beaten into submission before the penultimate politburo meeting ahead of the congress include Vice President Joice Mujuru, Didymus Mutasa, Nicholas Goche, Rugare Gumbo, Dzikamai Mavhaire, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Tendai Savanhu, Flora Buka, Webster Shamu and Sydney Sekeremayi.
However, at this juncture it is important to note that Mugabe has slowly been working towards this crowning moment since independence in 1980.
Soon after independence Mugabe established the North Korean trained Fifth Brigade that was accountable to him as the premier and not President Canaan Banana who was the commander of the defence forces.
The brigade was deployed in a brutal war against dissidents and civilian population in Midlands and Matabeleland provinces. It is ironic that the region was the stronghold of the opposition Joshua Nkomo led Zapu.
The brigade committed atrocities in the region where more than 20 000 civilians were killed according to a Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) report, Breaking the Silence. Zapu was beaten into submission and forced to pursue peace in which it was submerged into the belly of Zanu PF under the 1987 Unity Accord.
From then on he worked towards creating a one party state only for fiery Edgar Tekere to torpedo the project before it could take off during a tense politburo meeting. Tekere for his pains and democratic credentials he paid dearly by being booted out of Zanu PF.
However, the wily Mugabe did not abandon his ambition but lulled the country and Zanu PF into a false sense of capitulation.
Shortly after the blocking of the one party state he amended the constitution to create an imperial presidency in 1989 where he became the Republic’s first executive President. Even the youngest citizens can easily recite the title Head of state and commander-in-chief of Zimbabwe’s defence forces because the dozens of reminders before and in radio and television news bulletins as well as newspaper articles.
When all, including the president’s former Monday tea drinking partner Morgan Tsvangirai were beginning to think Mugabe had forgotten, the country is awakened to the horror that Zanu PF with is two-thirds majority in parliament had swallowed everyone and the time was nigh for King Robert to announce not only his life presidency but also dynastic rule.
For three months since August 2014 his wife went on a national tour savaging everyone against Mugabe’s continued rule. She even invoked that her husband was ordained to rule.
It all culminated in Saturday’s 11 hours politburo meeting and Mugabe at last got the imperial powers after using every available trick in the book. He blackmailed, used overt threats and cajoling of his politburo.
This time there was no one in the politburo with spine like Tekere, Joseph Msika and Solomon Mujuru (Rex Nhongo) to stop Mugabe’s crowning moment.
The central committee within a week from now is expected to rubber stamp the decision and the lone, studious boy from Zvimba who once refused the Zvimba chieftainship for politics will become His Majesty Robert Mugabe, King of Zimbabwe – the lands between the great rivers of Zambezi and Limpopo.
It took 34 years for Mugabe, a certified Victorian gentleman who also envied Queen Elizabeth II powers, to create his own monarchy despite the growing democratisation of the world where the kingship titles are going obsolete.
Who therefore is not tempted to shout: Hail King Robert and his consort Her Majesty The Queen Doctor Amai Grace!