Ousted Mugabe breaks silence

HARARE - Former president Robert Mugabe has broken silence over his resignation from office last November — and on Monday told visiting chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat — that he stepped down to avoid the country from descending into bloodletting conflict.

Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist for close to four decades, “resigned” from the top office on November 21 last year — hours after Parliament had initiated proceedings to impeach him.

This happened after he had refused to leave office during eight tense days that began with the military intervening in the governance of the country.

But for the first time since his inglorious exit from politics, Mugabe who turned 94 years today, on Monday told Mahamat that he gave up power for the sake of peace and development.

“Since it was the first time I was visiting the country, I could not go without meeting him . . . and since (ex) president Mugabe forms part of the heroes who have fought for the continent, he is common heritage for us and he is recognised by the authorities of the country.

“We exchanged views, I found him to be very lucid and he also explained why he had resigned, it is for peace and development of the country . . . , so we appreciated very much and we did discuss very much at ease,” Mahamat, who was on a three-day working visit to Zimbabwe, told journalists yesterday, via an interpreter.

It was the first time that Mugabe had broken his silence from the time his unflappable rule came to an end after the dramatic military intervention on November 15 which culminated his eventual resignation.

The curtain fell on the veteran former Zimbabwe and Zanu PF leader on November 21 when he resigned moments after Parliament had started proceedings to impeach him.

This followed a military intervention code-named Operation Restore Legacy which saw the nonagenarian and his wife, Grace, being placed under house arrest.

Several Cabinet ministers linked to the Generation 40 (G40) faction who had coalesced around Grace were targeted in the operation which ended a week before Christmas, with the soldiers only retreating to the barracks after five weeks of executing the operation.

Among the former ministers who were targeted are alleged G40 kingpins — Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Zhuwao and Saviour Kasukuwere — who are now living in self-imposed exile following the fall of Mugabe.

Moyo and Zhuwao have been publicly and viciously attacking President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government through social media and interviews with foreign media over the past few weeks.

On his part, Kasukuwere — who is said to be trying to smoke a peace pipe with Mnangagwa’s government — is being linked in some quarters to alleged cloak-and-dagger activities of the mooted National Patriotic Front (NPF), which is also courting opposition parties to take on Zanu PF and its leader in this year’s crucial national elections.

It has been reported that the G40 is allegedly bidding to bring together former vice president Joice Mujuru and the MDC, as part of its wider campaign to stop Mnangagwa from winning this year’s make-or-break elections — whose dates are yet to be announced.

Mujuru, who now somehow enjoys the G40’s support, recently held talks with Mugabe at his “Blue Roof” mansion in Harare — three years after she was sacked from both Zanu PF and government by the 94-year-old.

The NPP leader was ruthlessly cut loose by Mugabe in the run-up to Zanu PF’s 2014 congress, together with other then leading ruling party figures who included former Cabinet ministers Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo — on untested allegations of seeking to topple the power-addicted nonagenarian.

Mujuru’s meeting with Mugabe coincided with the announcement of the formation of the NPF, which is said to be driven by the exiled G40 kingpins.

Mahamat came to Zimbabwe two weeks after disgruntled G40 stalwarts wrote to regional and continental bodies, the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and the AU, appealing for their intervention to help Zimbabwe return to “constitutional rule”.

Yesterday, Mahamat said the AU was satisfied with the political developments which brought about the end of Mugabe’s long rein — putting paid to hopes the proponents of the NPF might have been having of delegitimising Mnangagwa’s administration.

“We have said that and everybody has noted that the transition in the country has been a peaceful transition according to the laws of the land and it is the responsibility of the African Union to support and accompany countries in such situations to ensure that there is peace and stability in the country and all others have to respect the sovereignty and the decisions of the country. If there is any unconstitutional change of government then we also have our instruments, we have our rules then it applies in that case,” Mahamat said.

Mahamat, who was accompanied to the press conference by Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo, said he was satisfied by his visit to the country, adding that the AU will push for the removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe as a way of improving the people’s economic situation.

During his visit, Mahamat met with Mnangagwa, senior government officials, speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Priscillah Chigumba.

“The African Union is ready to support Zimbabwe in the electoral process and the commissioner for political affairs has met the head of the electoral commission and a team of the African Union will be coming to Zimbabwe so that it will continue to work with that organ, the electoral commission.

“The African Commission is mobilising partners so that they can actively support Zimbabwe in this process and also to have the elections,” Mahamat said.

Since Mugabe’s resignation, Mnangagwa’s government has been consistent in safeguarding the security and interests of Mugabe and his family.

During his appearance at the AU annual meeting in Ethiopia last month, Mnangagwa told the continental leaders that there was no need to worry about Mugabe and his family’s security as they were well-looked after.

Mnangagwa’s government has gone on to give him an eye-watering exit package which includes benefits commensurate with those of a sitting Head of State.

Details of the frail nonagenarian’s massive handshake were announced in the Government Gazette at the end of last year under Presidential Pension and Retirement Packages Notice 2017.

Comments (18)

Yes indeed will try not use vulgar language but will express in my strongest terms. Mugabe is a name Zimbabweans would love to forget and I feel he lost all accolades as ran the country down to ashes. We do understand that he participated in the bush war for liberation and sorry not liberation to own it. Today you find a Zimbabwean anywhere in the world working just for survival thanks to Mugabe. I think all the knowledge this man talk, the degrees he obtained are all fake like his wife because were all just to serve his personal deeds and I will tell you I got no bit of respect for him. I think ED will be better than him zvataifunga kuti garwe richamupedzisa but instead defended him. Gukurahundi,Murambatsvina was all his what could have Munangagwa said to those orders I just think that one day he will tell the truth, I don't blame him. Mugabe made Zimbabwe the KGB state where everyone distrust everyone you oppose you fired, killed or missing. Now we talk freely and in Mugabe network you gone. Mugabe ngaamame ariku blueroof and be quite

Syd Chiwambu - 21 February 2018

No respect for this old man because he had no respect for the people he purported to be leading yet he ruled them ruthlessly to the extent that his fake Dr DisGrace had started to live in her world of 'make believe' as evidenced by her verbal diarrhoea in the months leading first to the downfall of Joice and in the months leading to her husband's downfall. Mugabe should know that the people of Zimbabwe were not going to cause bloodshed as they were united across many divides, political party divides and racial divides as they wanted to see him go together with his rabid wife and waywide children. If there was going to be bloodshed it was the lynching of Mugabe the Gaddafi-way. Mugabe is trying to play the altruistic one by saying that he resigned to avoid bloodshed. What about all the other bloodshed he caused during his reign. Sorry kwazvo. Ko zvamainzi muchatonga from the wheelbarrow or the grave ?Nhasi ndezvipi? God is for us all not for Mugabe's family as he had wanted us to believe. Mugabe had thought that he is the Kim of Zim.

tongesai - 22 February 2018

Mugabe thought he was the Kim of Zim

tongesai - 22 February 2018

I appreciate when Mugabe says he gave up power so that they wasnt going to be war or bloodshed. To me its ironic considering the chombo 10million saga and those so called hired Taliban's whom he thought were going to be good enough for his cause. We know it Mugabe. This was never going to be any bloodshed the moment you were placed under house arrest. The truth is everyone so your weakness and were ready to let you down because down you had let everyone else. So it was time to say its over. Your wife was your biggest culprit, u know it, she wined and dined with the devil. And the devil gave her the fruit of destruction which was too good a poison that resulted in your unceremonious exit. We have since moved on brother, we have since accepted your fate. You are done and dusted. We don't regret an inch even. I penny off because i am getting emotional

Simbarashe - 22 February 2018

Thank you Robert Mugabe for giving up power for peace and development. Both these elements were taboo in your Government! While we are fully aware that you bowed down to pressure from all corners of the Zimbabwean people. You should not be embarrassed coz these actions were necessary to restore economic development, Zimbabwe it seems in your opinion was your personal estate because you went to the Liberation struggle. Robert, frankly you should have never been allowed to be President in the first place, simply because your character trends are not in line with good President attributes. At 94 you still have a pretty huge ego and now you are sulking to the AU. What about the damage you did to the country. It remains for me to say the day of reckoning is yet to come, you shall be called upon to answer to some of the crimes and policies you did. So I suggest you play nice.

Mackenziw - 22 February 2018

Don't act like kids who look at the bad things that happen without appreciating the good things adults do for them. Every President has his good and bad, look at what Mugabe has lead the country to be a leader in multiple areas and also we have the downside too. But at the end of the day I guess just saying Cde. Mugabe hope you are enjoying your retirement and the birthday.

JJ - 22 February 2018

Never equate us as kids for speaking our minds respectfully coz that's an insult we all can do without OK! This is a public platform where honest opinions are raised so don't try to intimidate us by that. If you cannot stand the heat of our opinions then perhaps you are better off buying a hard copy where no one can respond to issues and stories. Do not transgress on the terms and conditions of this platform! If you wish Robert a happy retirement do so respectfully and we will never criticize you in any manner whatsoever but calling us acting as kids, is low and lacks insight on your part. In future recheck you comments before posting. Its no wonder you havnt put your name on it!

Mackenzie - 22 February 2018

Its an honorable thing that mdara bob left power for the sake of peace. Whatever errors of omission or commission, the old man remains a hero to Zimbabwe. His contributions towards Zimbabwe's independence can never be taken for granted.

Zvimbaline - 22 February 2018

What contributions did Mugabe make during the liberation war if not killing and maiming our comrades that he perceived were after his position. Believe it or not, Mugabe was absorbed in political power such that comrades who raised their heads in criticizing his leadership of the armed struggle were eliminated through his instructions. He was our enemy number one and remains so to this day. Quite frankly, most war veterans have no respect for Robert Mugabe for sidelining them after Zimbabwe attained its independence in 1980. That he was forced to resign, gave the war veterans hope that perhaps Munangagwa could improve the welfare of the ex-fighters who are leading a life of abject poverty. Mugabe never cared about anybody except his wife, children and a few of his cronies.

Chimbwido Warvet - 22 February 2018

Mugabe thought he was bigger than Jesus Christ- that's why God took him down!!

Jonso - 22 February 2018

Not exactly breaking his silence though, is it. This is someone else saying he spoke to Mugabe. Surely he's spoken to lots of people since 21 Nov and has literally broken his silence already. Give us an actual interview with Bob, not third party statements. Jeez, DNZ! Your standards are really going downhill

Omuhle - 22 February 2018

Hayi boooooo!!! What's breaking silence here? I thought you"re a publishing excerpts of interviews with the 94-year old Devil who wanted to go into the grave with the entire nation. Musani ukudlala nathi nina habe!!!

OkaS'lwane - 22 February 2018

the day shall come when we will hear the actual words from Mugabe himself not these lies by the daily news who are bent at propping up ngwena's image.to us Bob and ngwena are one thing.real change will come when these two and all the junta are gone

pretyy - 22 February 2018

Please explain to me how RG Mugabe got to be Gushungo? Please make it simple for me.

Dzvuke Muchaina - 22 February 2018

He is not a hero va Edgar Tekere Ndabanengi etc fought for this country but Mugabe akavarasa because they left ZANU PF

sharp - 22 February 2018

And in everything that Mugabe's Government did to bring down the country, why do you exonerate ED, they were together and did that together therefore ED is just as Guilty.#EDLOSTMYVOTE>

Zidzundi - 23 February 2018

It boggles the mind how we fail to appreciate our own and let others do it for us. The African Union which represents the entire African Continent and therefore the majority of this earth's downtrodden recognise mdara Bob as a Hero. Yet here are some Zimbabweans in their own wisdom seeing a devil in an African hero. I dont understand. Yes former President Mugabe has weaknesses and shortcomings, like any other human being, but he has done great things for this country's posterity. I think people are only selfish in that they wanted their immediate comfort at the expense of posterity. Yes Zimbabwe is currently in the dolldrums because of isolation, but we can not stay in there for ever. As we emerge from there, we can claim our space in the world politics and economics. The ideological grounding instilled in us through the boldness and resoluteness of vaMugabe has set us above the rest in terms of knowing who we are and being able to assert our aspirations. I for one can stand up against any other person of whatever creed colour , race and kind. Thanks to vaMugabe I dont see any race as superior to mine. We need to own our resources and not die as workers. Lets wake up guys. We have been emmancipated!!!!!!.

ndorok - 24 February 2018

That is what you get for doing a half COUP. RGM is emboldened now that he knows he will not go the Ceausescu way. There is no halfway station with egoists like RGM and Grace. What is left is to see what the AU does now that they have been updated on the illegality of Mnangagwa's government

tsoka - 24 February 2018

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