Can we safely say goodbye to the last Napoleon of Africa, Robert Mugabe?

November 23, 2017 Africa , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , POLITICS

AP photo



Mbizo Chirasha


Zimbabweans describe it as a coup-lite. Hardliners say it is a soft fall of ‘we say no’ to the caress of a tiger-pawed dictator, an African Napoleon, and many say it’s a soft revolutionary change. Factionalists have quickly diagnosed it as a political witch hunt and factional revenge of long harboured political vendettas. Alarmists whistle that the Southern African republic is sitting on a powder keg of civil war. Extremists sing ‘let the gun announce dawn.’

Let’s unpack the origins, the immediate causes, the results and threads of this mindboggling storm ravaging the Zimbabwe political field.


The city of Harare and its outskirts symbolizes a warzone. The city is currently clad in a dark green jacket as the military took over all government operations from midnight on Wednesday, (Night of Crocodile canines). Zimbabweans will never forget the month of November, while the names of the two war time guerrillas and political allies, Constantino Guveya Chiwenga and Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa will always be bleated on the gossip bleached lips of the Zimbabwean populace.

Names usually carry a moral message according to our elders. Names we give usually have a meaning. Really these two war liberation soldiers, (trouble twins of Mugabe- famous Aku and Ukwa in Nigerian films popular in Zimbabwe and other countries), have surprisingly flexed their muscles and smashed their grenade hardened fists into the shrewd scheming Napoleonic and monarchical face of the politically tired Mugabe who has presided over the already autocratic riddled Zimbabwe for the past difficult 37 years.

Costantino and Dambudzo are long time revolutionary comrades who endured the bush life in the struggle for liberation with Mugabe as their revolutionary and political leader in the 70s. War time reports state that Chiwenga was the Head of Commissariat while Dambudzo was the Executive Assistant of the estranged dictator – Robert Mugabe. So this clearly indicates how the two were closer confidantes of their elder from the war time years until a few years from their fallout, perhaps due to Mugabe’s greediness or his failure to uphold to their revolutionary succession principles.

Several political scientists in a number of instances sent warning shots of Mugabe’s failure to clear the succession cloud given his advanced age and tussles for the top post in the ZANU-PF. It is very sensible to conclude the two (Mnangagwa and Chiwenga) are familiar with his dirty and hazy political games. They remain major shareholders of the Zimbabwean political matrix be they out or inside the ZANU-PF.

The current Zimbabwean political ideology is born from songs of the resistance, guns and bloodbath. The ethics of the ZANU-PF party are derived from the clutter of the gun though Mugabe wanted to do the opposite due to the piling pressures from his bedroom cabinet talks and shrewd ZANU-PF greenhorns. The two war time trouble twins have proven that they own the keys for a leadership change in Zimbabwe.


Of late Mugabe, his wife Grace and their so called G40 cabal went on a mission to denigrate a political faction perceived to have links with the military top brass (composed of diehard war time fighters), the Team Lacoste (named after crocodile clothing brand name in Europe) fronted by former Mugabe blue eyed, top securocrat and one of the powerful political heavyweights in the Zimbabwe political terrain, highly feared of his crocodile-like antics, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangwa, nicknamed Garwe (Shona for vicious crocodile).

Mnangagwa has worked entirely for the ZANU-PF and the Zimbabwean government since Mugabe took office in 1980. He is very much in touch with Zimbabwe security forces/operations since he is the First Minister of Security in Zimbabwe’s first government and is a key stakeholder in the foundation of the country’s security, intelligence and defence systems. Many people believe he is in power and was the power behind the oiling of the Mugabe-led dictatorship. His sympathisers argue that Garwe is ZANU-PF and ZANU-PF is Garwe. He is the longest serving Secretary General of the ZANU-PF Party (leading party administration, usually head of Admin is the CEO of the party/head of secretariat). That was too powerful a post given the strength and traits of the old ZANU-PF of the 80s and 90s.

Since independence, Dambudzo (Garwe) has shaped and cultivated his relationship with the securocracy and the bureaucracy. So he enjoys credible and strong support from those vital pillars of governance in the Mugabe Dictatorship. A large chunk of ministers, members of parliament and the army top brass believe in his political maturity, ideological correctness and leadership qualities and they want him to replace his boss Mugabe.

So one would say, what is the current situation is Zimbabwe? And what is the problem? Those who read and understand politics and revolutionary processes say that Zimbabwe is undergoing a coup, others say it is a soft revolutionary rain to soak the land scorched and dry from the baking sun of tyranny and that the Zimbabwe populace is seized in an excited fever as they wake up every morning to listen to the echoes of the freedom drum beat, for them the new sun is rising.


The mantra is that Mugabe must stepdown. Zimbabweans are tired, social media is awash with gossip and half-baked news of his political demise. The majority of Zimbabweans are highly grateful of the military intervention as they are deemed the only qualified to clip the wings of the ambitious Grace Mugabe and stubborn Mugabe. The president is under house arrest as negotiations are proceeding, his G40 cabal and their close zealots are said to be on the run and others are held in military custody including the Police commissioner, Augustine Chihuri.

The military was supposedly irked by the dismissal and suspensions of veterans of struggle of liberation from key positions in the ruling party and government of Zimbabwe and that made them respond crudely to the mischief of the G40 political cabal fronted by Mugabe’s wife, who wants to replace Mugabe as president come 2018 and was about to be nominated for the Vice president post at the ZANU-PF 2017 December Congress en-route to become President of the Republic in 2018.

So to polish her carpet to the political stardom, Grace Mugabe pressured her husband to axe potential contenders and their supporters, top among them Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangwa and Joice Mujuru,  allegations laid against being at most frivolous and based on gossip. Both Garwe (Emmerson Mnangagwa) and Joice (Teurai Ropa- war time name meaning spilling blood) are political with military and revolutionary struggle credentials. The two belong to the revolutionary elite and they enjoy military inclinations.

Recently, a coterie of powerful war cadres including Christopher Mutsvangwa, (Academic, war time cadre and diplomat opposed to Mugabe’s shenanigans and the G40 cabal), were also purged from the cabinet and politburo posts as the dramatic power dynamics in the ZANU-PF Party unfolded. Grace and her cabal are political green horns who failed to read well ZANU-PF political bible and its revolutionary ethics.


The military, business, civil servants, senior ministers, war veterans and some sections of the youth blame Mugabe for desisting from the revolutionary party ethics, protocol and principles. They accused his egoistic wife for belittling the revolutionary war cadres who placed her husband in the position of power during war time to the dawn of the new Zimbabwe. The cadres feel short-changed, abused and disrespected. They want to teach Mugabe and his new political friends a lesson. They also blame them of counter revolutionary conspiracy, cheap politicking and threatening the security of the state.

Since the beginning of 2014 many war cadres and heavyweights were banned from the governing party and government. While many of them believe they are the stakeholders of the ruling revolutionary party and have a voice in the machinations and dynamics of ZANU-PF Party machinery.

Early November 2017, the hype of allegations against the former Vice President Emmerson Mnangwa increased and were fuelled by Mugabe’s deliberate revolutionary misconduct, Grace Mugabe’s vulgarity, Jonathan Moyo’s craftiness (Mugabe’s Goebbels) and a close clique of the clueless ZANU-PF Youth league during Mugabe Youth Interface rallies fronted by one Kudzanai Chipanga – a ZANU-PF Youth League boss.

From November 4th to November 6th 2017, Zimbabweans witnessed a dramatic twist of the events in the governing party. Youths perceived to be linked to Garwe booed Grace Mugabe while giving a speech. Mugabe warned that he was to fire his Vice President and five decade long political sidekick the next day. The incident angered to the core, synonymous of dictators, they do not want their power to be challenged publicly. On November 6, 2017, Emmerson Mnangagwa (Garwe) was dropped from his position as the Vice president of the republic, leading to his automatic sacking from the party.

The sacking of Dambudzo was like torching a hornet nest. It was the Sarajevo that exploded this soft coup experienced in Zimbabwe since November 14, 2017. The military forces have for the first time defied Mugabe. Yes, we are sitting on this knife edge at the moment.


Many are saying dawn has come, oh, I disagree to agree. The same people who are about to wrestle power from Mugabe are the same lubricants of the Mugabe monarchical machinations during all these decades of the ungrateful Mugabe led regime. They are the ones who presided on blood election campaigns, the drafting of and making oppressing laws and the violent political skirmishes that Zimbabwe experiences every election season, in which many have died since the beginning of the country’s independence.

Mnangagwa was the Chief Election Officer and election strategist of Mugabe, while Constantino, the General, swore that he would not salute anyone without revolutionary war credentials, which led to the blocking of Morgan Save Tsvangirai’s entry into State House in 2008, the whole election campaign characterized by a blood bath and untold suffering of the masses.

The military elite and revolutionary cabal is the one that shaped the dictator in Mugabe and his clinging to power. They are known to have defended Mugabe on various platforms and legitimized his political misconduct. So this is a refreshing insight for us all that in Africa, political leaders are just an advert, real leadership has its owners and they might want to define who to hand keys of power to, especially with revolutionary wars attained governance (Marxist, Stalinist, communist ideologies).

There are usually behind the scenes stakeholders in the power matrix (producer, shapers and vanguards of power). This crisis tells us that Mugabe is and was ruling with borrowed keys from the war cadres and the military. Today, they come out with guns blazing, fighting to fire him and his cabal in the name of freeing the masses from economic crisis, political decadence and social turmoil. They are just in some way protecting their loot and they want to position their own leader for their future and maybe the future of their party.

In reality they are exorcising counter revolutionary demons that have seized their ZANU-PF Party and they are also known to be vanguard of this party. They are cleaning the party, they want to bring back the mojo of the old Party, and the return of the old ZANU-PF Party will assure them of their future and the future of their wealth.

Opposition politicians must not be fooled by this fight. If they think this is their ball, No, a big No. This is not their ball. Otherwise they need to continue strengthening their parties and motivate the voters for the near future. Amazingly ZANU-PF will come out clean and strong from this exorcism. Mugabe might be part of this whole grand plan by the military. He is a schemer, he usually dumps weaker factions when the plot thickens, and he is a a powerful schemer at that. Whatever he does is for the benefit of himself and his ego. He has no choice now but to throw his Goebbels (Jonathan Moyo), his bedroom adviser and the G4O cabal into the gnashing mouth of the crocodiles.


ZANU-PF is always strong with the revolutionary functionaries and the military. I think this notion skipped the G40 schemers. The Lacoste mojo is being oiled by the military, another section of the intelligence, another section of SADC countries, opposition political parties, another section of pressure groups and a big chunk of Zimbabwe. The masses are tired of the Mugabe name and his leadership.

The G40 is merely following the shadow of the clueless foul mouthed Grace Mugabe because of her privileges as the wife of the president, their mojo lubricated mainly by land barons and corrupt fat cats who pay thugs to soil the image and character of potential contenders of the presidential seat, top among them Dambudzo Mnangagwa.

The army had to act swiftly because Mugabe’s grinding axe was dangling over their heads before and after the purging of the most powerful Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mugabe wanted to axe them because he knew they were not impressed by his attitude towards their military peers in the party.

Mugabe and his G40 cabal were caught napping by the political storm (Crocodile Snapping Back). History repeats itself. Rex Nhongo (First Army General of Independent Zimbabwe, Solomon Mujuru) gave Mugabe the keys of power, and it is now Constantino opening the door of power for Mnangagwa (Garwe) which shows how you cannot separate the ZANU-PF politics from the Zimbabwean military and its war of liberation-struggle roots.


For 37 years, elections never yielded any change and many feel that elections are always rigged. The military’s intervention is the rising of a new sun to many Zimbabweans who are being ravaged by the cracking whip of poverty while the political elite enjoy the cake of state in high offices. Corruption is being oiled by nepotism, tribalism and political cultism.

‘Is it a dawn or are we heading for another Animal Farm?’ Tired voters are asking. Nobody knows. Political soothsayers see it as a window for smooth democratic processes in Zimbabwe as they anticipate a peaceful transition very soon. Zimbabweans are sitting on a knife edge and there are many unanswered questions weathering the concrete Harare jungle as social media gossip and the paparazzi are failing to keep to the expectations of the masses.

A lot of half-baked and alarmist news stories hover above the tense concrete jungle of Harare. The loudest clamour is that Mugabe must step down and make way for a government coalition. Talk is all over mobiles phones, PCs and the poverty shrunk faces “Mugabe Must Go, Grace Must Fall.” The military is promising to handover the country to the people after cleaning it of political bugs and economic weevils.

It may be the case that negotiations will fail and we continue under the Junta. Amazingly the soft coup is nonviolent unlike all past Zimbabwean elections that were mired and bathed in blood and tears.

These are just threads and thoughts.

Is this the dawn of a sound economy, political democracy and the end of social decadence, or are we just daydreaming?

Can we safely say ‘Goodbye Last Napoleon of Africa, Robert Gabriel Mugabe?’





Mbizo Chirasha

Mbizo Chirasha is an Internationally published poet, writer, blog publisher and Citizen  Justice Activist. Mbizo Chirasha is the Originator/Instigator of the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign (Brave Voices Poetry Journal-Tuck Magazine, Word Guerrillas Protest Poetry Journal – Zimbabwe Sphere, Poets Free Zimbabwe- MiomboPublishing). Mbizo is also the participant of the International Human Rights Arts Festival, Exiled in Africa Programin New York, United States.

His poetry, writing and blog journals are widely published across the globe. Mbizo Chirasha is also the founder /creative director of GirlchildCreativityProject. He is the Zimbabwe Resident Coordinator of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change – Global and the WomenScream International Poetry Festival. Mbizo has led a number of creative interventions and arts based projects. Mbizo Chirasha can be  found at the following links:

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