By Elizabeth Chukwuma
Until his death on Friday, September6, 2019, Robert Mugabe, who had ruled the Southern African Country of Zimbabwe ,for 37 years was not a happy man. His source of unhappiness was the plot by ZANU PF, military veterans, who overthrew him in 2014, and invited Emmerson Mangagwa, a former Vice President , who was forced into exile in 2014, shortly before the Coup, by the ageing Mugabe , to return and take over the government in 2017.
The fallout was that Mugabe refused to have anything to do with the government , let alone those he described as his’’ tormentors and betrayers, including the Mangagwa’’, the beneficiary of the 2017 Coup d’état in the country.
While the former President was shocked by the Coup , many believe that his problem actually started in 1992, when his first wife , sally, died. Her death was a big blow to him as he broke down repeatedly. Political watchers noted that as his health condition was getting worse by the day, he was repeatedly hospitalized in the Asian country of Singapore. This is because of his insistence that he must not be taken to any United States or United Kingdom Hospital for routine medical check- up.
He believes that that Donald Trump, President of the United States, US and Theresa May, a former British Prime Minister, were part of his problem and therefore , do not see any reason, why he should patronise Hospitals in their Countries to spend his hard his hard earned money for medical check-up.
It was reported that he had never spent more than a month in the Hospital at each visit. The last visit to the Country last April, was said to have dragged on for three months over alleged undisclosed sickness. The long stay in the Hospital for the normal routine medical checkup may have given the government the opportunity to step in to avoid being taking unawares by the family.
The government was said to have taken the responsibility of settling the accumulated medical bills which runs into millions of dollar, for the bedridden President , despite his sour relationship with Mangagwa, his successor. The Value News learnt that Mangagwa, the Zimbabwean President who could no longer shy away from his responsibility towards the former President , giving their 50 years of close working relationship as Liberation fighters , at party and government levels delegation, when he became aware that he may not recover from the sickness this time around.,
He was said to have repeatedly sent delegations to Singaporean Hospital to liaise with his family members to know his state of health to avoid taken unawares when he passes on.
One of the delegations was aid to have been led by one Misheck Sibanda,a Chief Secretary to the President. The delegation the, Zimbabwean Independent Newspaper, reports had included the country’s Director General, Central Intelligence Organisation, CIO, and Jonathan Matenga, a Professor and a one –time, Mugabe personal physician.the interest shown by the Zimbabwean government on the former President’s sickness may have informed why the family agreed to carry President Mangagwa along despite the strong feelings of the bedridden President against any dealings with the government.
Note that his hatred for the former Vice President and now President, was so pronounced that he had told his family members when it became obvious that he would not survive the undisclosed disease that he does not want to be buried at the’’ North Korean -style shrine’’ in Warren Hills, tagged, Heroes Acre, in Harare, the Capital, to avoid giving room to the Mangagwa led ZANUPF government to preside over his burial.
He was also said to have made it clear to the family members that he does not want President Mangagwa and his allies who had succeeded in overthrowing him in 2017, to hold forth and pontificate over his dead body. In anger he had declared that he must be buried next to his mother, Bona at his ancestral rural home in Zimba province ,in order to ensure that the Mangagwa government did not participate in his burial.
Indeed, Mangagwa, resort to plan B, to fix , his broken relations , with the family may have informed why the family informed him him on his death last Friday at the age of 95 . He did not hesitate in announcing the passing on of the former President to the world.
‘’it is with utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe founding father and former President , Comrade Robert Mugabe’’, he had posted on twitter Account . He had showered encomiums on the deceased former Zimbabwean leader , describing him as an ‘’icon of liberation, Pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people’’.
The Zimbabwean Chief mourner said Mugabe’s contribution to the history of their nation and the African Continent would never be forgotten. ‘’May his Soul rest in eternal peace’’, he added. President Mangagwa, was said to have cut short his trip to South Africa where he was attending the World Economic Forum on Africa on Friday, when the information filtered out to him that Mugabe was dead.
Many older Zimbabweans who will look back into history would remember him as a revolutionary fighter . They will also remember his massive social programmes like expansion in the country’s educational sector and the building of Clinics in the rural areas but the younger generation would think differently of him. They will remember him as a’’ tyrant’’ who drove the Opposition politicians and those alleged to be disloyal to him in ZANUPF, into exile, including the Mangagwa, the current Present.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who have had a close working relationship with the deceased Zimbabwean President described him as an ‘’indomitable fighter who contributed in no small measure to the liberation of hi country from apartheid and oppressive radicalism’’. According to him, he had become the’’ living symbol and embodiment of their long and valiant struggle of the people of Zimbabwe to occupy their rightful place in the Comity of nations’’.
President Muhammadu Buhari, another Nigerian, leader, who have had a long time standing interaction with late Mugabe believes that his ‘’sacrifices especially in struggling for the political and economic emancipation of his people would always be remembered by his people’’.
He Commiserated with the family members , friends and political associates of the political activist who fought for the Independence of the country from colonial rule and live most of his life in public service.
Note tat towards the tail end of his 37 –rule in Zimbabwe, he served as rotating chairman of the 54-member nation African Union , AU, and the 14- nation Southern African Development Community. His criticisms of the International Criminal Court of Justice, a United Nations Oraganisation speaks volume as it was welcome by other African leaders including late Mummar Gadhafi, who saw it as being used by the United States and the Industrialised nations to target African leaders.
‘’ When will Africa get such a rib cracking joke president again’’, remarked remarked Uju Ukwe, a Nigerian business man. As at press time, the government and the family are yet to work out a burial arrangement for the late President.
There are indications that he may be buried in the Heroes Acre as the government is making e moves to resolve the differences with the family to ensure that the purpose of establishing the Area in Harare ,the Capital City, by the late former President was not defeated. Diplomatic sources said the family members are likely to bow to pressure to allow the government have its way to handle the burial at exclusive site because of the number of dignitaries both within and outside African that would attend the burial as soon as a date is fixed