The ephemeral nature of life and everything within it has rear its head in Zimbabwe this week as the world is witnessing the end of the reign of Papa Robert Gabriel Mugabe. For the entire duration of his tenure he was also the leader of the ruling party ZANU-PF and almost unilaterally determine what goes there. Zimbabwe has almost been personalised as a Mugabe estate, and even when he lost elections in 2008 to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, he was forced in by the same military led by the same loyalist (who announced his ouster), General Chiwenga, to continue. He was a product of impunity even though he was a reputable freedom fighter.

Robert Mugabe is a unique African leader; he is the most educated African President, with 7 Degrees, and had been in the trenches in the 1970’s fighting the British for the independence of Rhodesia, which later became an independent Zimbabwe in 1980, from whence he became the first Prime Minister and later President till date. He is married to a second wife, Grace (known as “Gucci Grace” for her extravagance), who is built in the mould of Lady Macbeth, with an inordinate ambition.

Every society has its own version of Robert Mugabe elements. Benue state is a locus classicus. They equate themselves with the state. They reign in impunity. Like Grace Mugabe, their wives determine who remains in or out of government. They pocket the party, but unlike a more refined Mugabe who’d amend the constitution of his party to contain his new desire, the rogue leaders we have here would outrightly violate the provisions of their party’s constitution and Electoral Act and depose a false affidavit with annexed fake documents justifying their impunity. The same way Morgan Tsvangirai won the Zimbabwean elections of 2008 but was denied the Presidency and was, rather, compensated with the Prime Minister slot is the same way they are quick to deny victory to winners but quick to ask for compensation with an appointment. Even when the people no longer feels their power as a result of their ineptitude, they’d insist on maintaining strong hold on power as the misery of the people persists.

In life, every activity of humans must have an end. The Mugabe era is the latest case study. And very often it starts with a revolt within; when ex- loyalists will rise up in arms against an unquenchable act of impunity of “the leader.” General Constantino Chiwenga – who is the face of the palace coup in Zimbabwe is a die-hard loyalist of Mugabe. He capitalised on the act of impunity done against Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to bring in Grace Mugabe as vice, in violation of the constitution of ZANU-PF.

If the reign of ‘pater patrie’ of modern Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, who sacrificed his life in the trenches and had been in and out of jail in the 1970’s for his stoic struggle for the independence of his country, could come to an inglorious end, what do we think of ‘little elements’ in our own society who have no pro-democracy credentials but are crass beneficiaries of Nigeria’s democratic process, and whose every action is in breach of our democratic values rather than strengthen them? For how long can they stand?

“When the people no longer feel your power, it means a new power is on its way”
– Chairman Mao of China

Yours in service,

Franc Fagah Utoo, Esq. LQC (Malaysia); LL.B Hons (Newcastle, UK ); BL (Abuja)
*Former President of the Students Representative Council (SRC), Nigerian Law School, Abuja

**Honour To Defend Freedom*

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