When a thief gets robbed too….Mugabe vs Grace
By Luke Tamborinyoka
Kadoma might as well be a familiar robbery scene for some families.
The other day we heard the son had grabbed Tolrose gold mine in this town and now the mother, who over 20 years ago grabbed a husband from an affable First Lady on her death-bed, has used the same town to showcase how she has now successfully “stolen” her husband’s executive powers.
There were two Vice Presidents who left their offices to accompany the current First Lady to open a housing scheme.
It did not end there.
Grovelling ministers, led by Minister of Local Government, one Ignatius Morgan Chiminya Chombo, took turns to kneel prayerfully before the now Almighty “Doctor Amai.”
And then Amai herself stood up to tell the crowd how the Vice Presidents of the country regularly consult her, notebooks and pens in hand to ensure that they adequately capture her instructions.
And when she last year led the crusade against Joyce Mujuru, some might have regarded it as a fluke but now the truth is out. The President has abdicated and the wife is now in charge.
When you are able to have in tow a retinue of two VPs and more than half the Cabinet, you re as good as the leader of the country.
Whether Mugabe has abdicated voluntarily or whether someone is taking advantage of his old age remains unclear.
But even in the village, it is not unusual for the wife of an aged headman to try one or two cases and even order one party to a dispute to plead guilty and bring “mbudzi yababa, on the premise that she is acting on instructions of the headman who is indisposed.
She may actually end up taking full charge of village issues, profiting from a senile husband in his dotage.
The same could be happening in the First Family’s household; an acerbic wife taking full advantage of the abundant opportunities arising from her husband’s dotage.
Given his age and his penchant to sleep even at public meetings, as frequently captured by the cameras whether in Harare, Abuja or in foreign places, the President is metaphorically “absent”, any sense of presence having fully given in to time and age.
Seeing the two VPs and a host of Cabinet Ministers as part of a hapless retinue in servitude, I thought about that classic Shona novel, Jekanyika.
With King Dendera absent, his aides, Chitate and others, ended up reporting to vaMumbabarwo (in our case vaMwenewazvo ) who appeared to have take over the running of the kingdom in the absence of her husband, whom they presumed dead.
Similarly, it is morbid that a whole party and government can engage in post- Mugabe politics when he, like the King Dendera in the folklore, is still very much alive.
Theft of the President’s power and authority is a manifestation of the two fold crisis of legitimacy that we now face as a country.
Not only did Mugabe steal a mandate in 2013, but that mandate has now been stolen from him as well.
A few months ago, war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda spoke of a bedroom coup and Zimbabweans thought it was a laughing matter. But the pillow de tat is now official. ( Dis) Grace is now in charge.
When you have two VPs, pen and notebook in hand in daily consultations, not with the President himself but with his wife, it means the nation now has a de facto President, and probably a de facto chair for SADC and the AU as well.
I have said that Mugabe should simply resign on grounds of dereliction of duty, even though that mandate and duty was stolen in the first place.
In a cruel irony, the thief has now been robbed of his stolen bounty.
And as I have said, some may have legitimate but disturbing concerns as to the whereabouts of President whenever his two male deputies will be “consulting “his wife, “regularly” as we are made to understand.
Somewhat more disturbing to a worried nation keen on answers to the vexing national crisis is that on the same day that the two VPs and half of the country’s Cabinet were kowtowing before the First Lady in Kadoma last Wednesday, the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda was livid with them for absconding Question Time in Parliament.
They had absconded national duty because the new centre of power had beckoned in Kadoma.
And as I have said before, just like the economy which is now largely informal, even the President’s powers have followed suit and are now being vended by informal traders in public places and in the streets of our cities, far away from their designated places.
At least the soothing fact about most of the vendors on our streets is that they are innocent, hard working Zimbabweans who are not flaunting stolen items.
So before removing our innocent, hard working vendors from our streets, Brigadier General Ancelem Sanyatwe may have to remove the notorious informal trader at State House; the one flaunting informal executive Presidential powers on the streets of our cities.
Luke Tamborinyoka is the Presidential Spokesperson and Director of Communications in the Movement for democratic Change. He writes here in his personal capacity.