Mugabe ouster negotiator preaches reconciliation

HARARE - Father Fidelis Mukonori - the cleric who was at the centre of shepherding long-serving deposed Robert Mugabe's shock departure last November - last week preached a loaded message of reconciliation, saying without it, there is no "true and meaningful development" of Zimbabwe.

While the respected Roman Catholic Church priest did not at all talk about or even refer to 94-year-old Mugabe’s ouster by his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, his message interestingly coincides and comes amid apparent escalating tension between the two politicians, with the former venting out and declaring his successor staged a coup at a press conference last week.

It also comes as concerned churches — through the Zimbabwe Amalgamated Churches Council — have sought to intervene and make the heavy weight politicians, who have known each other for over 50 years, find each other.

“...absence of the spirit of reconciliation retards a true, meaningful development in our nation. Both victims and perpetrator remain stunted and dwarfed in progress.
Settlement of differences purify the communion in the community,” Mukonori said at the just-ended CEOs Africa Round Table conference in Victoria Falls last week.

He said “healing...is required by both sides; the victim and the perpetrator”.

“Restoration of health between two individuals...necessitates the restoration to health...of the nation at large,” Mukonori said.

Interestingly, Mukonori — who has shied away from disclosing much about Mugabe’s November debacle and is said to have known the veteran politician since the 70s — went further to say “the perpetrator has admit the wrong doing and face the victim...delayed conflict resolution is delayed justice, which could be viewed as a statement that speaks volumes.

“Healing is a value chain of prosperity because a healed citizen is a tried and tested leader locally and nationally,” he said, adding “he or she can dream prosperity and not nightmare, though scars or injury will remain”.

Mukonori went further to say “it takes two to reconcile...harmony is essential in our national value system because friendship...restored will lubricate the whole system in our society”.

“The value system remind one who may have old scars but take that as part of the frailty and fragility which they will resolve never to allow it to happen to their off springs,” he said.

He went on to touch on the sense of entitlement as a problem in Zimbabwe’s society.

“To be entitled does not necessarily mean that you have. The problem is how we abuse entitlements,” Mukonori said.

“As citizens, we are entitled to many privileges but we do not have to exhaust all what we are entitled (to),” the man of cloth said, warning that “consequently, some of the citizens who may not have similar entitlements...by stealing money, vehicles, company or government properties...”

Mnangagwa took power from Mugabe after a military intervention code-named “Operation Restore Legacy”, which the army said was targeted at removing criminals surrounding the now ousted leader.

The operation cornered Mugabe, who had ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years, as he went on to face impeachment threats, while he was also fired from ruling Zanu PF — a party which had gloried and endowed him with a “one centre of power” status.

The nonagenarian buckled under the pressure and tendered his resignation on November 21, 2017.

Mukonori was involved in the whole process.

But Mugabe seems to be bitter with Mnangagwa, which he openly expressed during a press conference he called last week.

During the presser, frustrated Mugabe said he never thought Mnangagwa would turn against him and denounced his successor’s move to oust him as a coup.

“I never thought he whom I had nurtured and brought into government and whose life I worked so hard in prison to save as he was threatened with hanging, that one day he would be the man who would turn against me,” Mugabe said during the press interview, his first since his ouster.

Mnangagwa was convicted of sabotage under white minority rule and sentenced to death. But he was spared the noose because it was deemed that he was too young to be hanged when he had committed the crime. Mugabe spoke with anger and passion in his first press briefing, saying he was deeply aggrieved with what transpired.

“Today, Emmerson is no longer on my side. I’m no longer the president, he is. I called him president the other day and he said, ‘oh no, no, no, please, don’t call me president, call me Emmerson’. I said I can’t call you Emmerson, ok. I said I will call you ED,” he said, speaking in a slurred speech.

“I hope you will have the views I have shared published”.

Mugabe said he was ousted in a “military takeover” and that Mnangagwa had assumed the presidency illegally.

“I don’t hate Emmerson, I brought him into government. But he must be proper, he is improper where he is. Illegal,” Mugabe said.

“We must undo this disgrace, which we have imposed on ourselves. We don’t deserve it.”

“And if he is to correct that illegality, he would want me to discuss with him and we must undo this disgrace which we have imposed on ourselves, we don’t deserve it, we don’t deserve it, please we don’t deserve it, Zimbabwe doesn’t deserve it. We want to be a constitutional country.

“Yes we may have our shortcomings here and there, but overall we must obey the law, become, constitutional.

“People must be chosen to be in government in the proper way. I will discuss, I am willing to discuss, willing to assist in that process, but I must be invited, properly invited for that discussion. Currently, I am isolated and I am glad I have your company,” he said, referring to the journalists.

Comments (4)

A disgruntled old man! He believes Zim is his own play thing. A toy of some sort, now that its taken away, Mugabe the toddler is whining agai.

PG Madziwa - 19 March 2018

Instead of pontificating Father Mukonori should have continued ministering to Mugabe as the perpetrator to heal and ask for forgiveness from God and the Zimbabwean nation he has hurt for decades. If you have known him since the 70s your relationship demands that. Reconciliation and forgiveness is not human manufactured. Unless God initiates and is involved in the process all we are putting up is an act. All God's love and forgiveness experienced individually, personally is contagious to bring healing to others

Daniel 5 - 19 March 2018

Why did this Priest not speak up many years ago when the old man nilly willy did as he pleased an didnothing for the ordinary people all he did was ruin peoples lives

God for us All - 19 March 2018

The best way to deal with Robert Mugabe is to send him to his father's home country, Malawi. If he were truly Shona he would have not committed such murders of both Shonas and Ndebeles. If he needs help to take him to the airport, some of us stand to offer such help. Please leave us alone, Mugabe! Your homeland may welcome you.

Oliver Nyoni - 19 March 2018

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