Mmegi Blogs :: Lesson from Zim
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Lesson from Zim

It did not appear like a coup from the word go and it certainly did not sound like one.
By Tumie Modise Mon 27 Nov 2017, 17:19 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Lesson from Zim

The exit of one of Africa’s longest serving Presidents, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe from power after a staggering 37 years confirms the aphorism that indeed nothing in this world lasts forever!

I have been around long enough to know how a real coup looks like. In Zimbabwe though, it appears that military chiefs there must have read the wrong coup manual or they must have a PhD (real or fake) in executing the perfect coup! Perfect operation it was! Scholars define a coup as a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government.

Uncle Bob, as he was affectionately known, was regarded as one of the great survivors of international politics. Charming and allegedly utterly ruthless, he is rumoured to have, over the years, used ethnic division, death squads, media manipulation and a host of other unsavoury tools to crush all opponents.

Many of us did not see this but on Wednesday, Nov. 15, the Zimbabwean military placed the country’s long-time president, Robert Mugabe, under house arrest and detained several other senior government officials and Zimbabwe, as we have come to know it, was never the same again.  One day, Mugabe was President, the next day, multitudes were gathered on the streets of the country’s capital, telling him to step down with immediate effect.

He must have thought his eyes were deceiving him when he realised that the masses were in fact with the army, dancing on the streets with placards with the public even taking selfies aboard military tanks!

As he was still reeling from their sheer guts, next his Cabinet shunned his emergency Cabinet meeting and before he knew it, they were in Parliament that same afternoon tabling a motion to impeach him!

I don’t know about anyone else, but the Mugabe’s story touched me. Apart from the fact that I had long resigned myself to the fact that he would probably outlive all of us, still this weeklong coup had me utterly confused.

Politics by nature places politicians in a very precarious position always and the reasons I am never quitting my day job for politics is precisely for this same reason. Once in power, whether you like it or not, you are now public property.  Never mind how many degrees you have, you are, as they say, a servant of the people. I cracked my lungs the other day


when I read somewhere that the moment they are voted into offices, soon they erect boundary walls around their houses or they get ferocious dogs to keep the ‘masses’ out.


Keep Your Family Out!

The first lesson I quickly learnt as this was unfolding is that unless you are a monarch, if you are holding a position of influence, your family should stay in their lane and just play a supportive role, nothing more.

The mistake the aging (now) African statesman made was trying to keep it in the family! Dubbed “Gucci Grace” within Zimbabwe for her reported shopping habits, Mugabe’s wife was never popular.  Since he entered his 90s, it soon became clearer that Grace Mugabe, an ambitious woman more than 30 years her husband’s junior, was angling for her own shot at the presidency.  According to the impeachment motion later tabled in Parliament, his wife was soon heading a notorious cabal within the party and the one thing they had in common was their love for finer things and an unusual hunger for power.  Their scheming and backstabbing, we are told, is what really broke the camel’s back.


No Autocrat Lasts Forever!

Like they say, you can fool some people sometimes but you sure as hell won’t always fool everyone all the time.  Described by some people as a “brilliant tactician,” our now ousted Uncle Bob was regarded as one of the greatest survivors of international politics.

Ironically, his downfall was brought about by the same people he trusted the most with his life.


Beware Of Vultures!

I do not understand why people in power always insist on surrounding themselves with stooges. It is true that the higher you are, the more likely you are to be ingratiated by people who then immediately impose themselves as your ‘’dependants’’.

As Uncle Bob learnt the hard way, these same people ultimately orchestrate your downfall. Sadly, I see this phenomenon even here at home.  I see leaders succumbing to such people, mostly just the brainless type or even school drop-outs who really have no business ‘’advising’’ anyone in the first place.

 If you ask them, they will swear they are merely ‘’protecting’’ leaders. Yet what they really do is try to keep everyone out!

Fake Gucci presidential aides aside, perhaps the most important lesson I have learnt is that the Biblical Delilah is still very much alive!

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