FOR those familiar with William Shakespeare’s works, September 6, 2018 is symbolic of the Ides of March to the late former President Robert Mugabe’s family and supporters except that it was not the exact 13th day of the preferred month (March).
Like the late former President Mugabe, the main protagonist in Shakespeare’s play, Julius Cesar, also died a bitter man, stabbed in the back by a tightly-knit coterie of executive powerbrokers, among them his closest friend, Brutus, causing Cesar to cry out:
“Et tu, Brute? (and you, too, Brutus my friend?).”
During Mugabe’s funeral wake at his rural home in Kutama, the former President’s cousin, Leo Mugabe, spoke of how the twine of bitterness and betrayal had played a hand in sending his uncle to the grave.
But that said, the former President’s legacy can safely be described as disastrous, having reduced the “Jewel of Africa” to a basket case within the span of his four-decade rule.
During his rule (some would say dictatorship), Mugabe commited monumental errors.
Sensing the real threat of losing his government’s then sole major powerbrokers, Mugabe in 1997 succumbed to demands of a one off $50 000 payment each to the 1970s 2nd Chimurenga War fighters then led by Chenjerai Hunzwi, their fearless chairperson.
The unbudgeted for one off $50 000 gratuity for the former 2nd Chimurenga liberators triggered an economic downturn, with the Zimdollar tumbling both on the local and Johannesburg stoke exchanges within a very short space of time.
Zimbabwe is yet to recover from this experience.
At about the same time, a unilateral decision by Mugabe and the ruling elite to militarily intervene in the Democratic Republic of Congo conflict for personal economic benefit caused another massive economic collapse in the country.
Another controversial experience Mugabe stampeded the nation through was the fast-track Land Reform Programme of 2000.
The result was the collapse of a once vibrant agricultural sector, with the country resultantly losing its bread basket status in Africa and the Sadc region.
Many accused Mugabe of privatising Zimbabwe, dishing it out to his cronies in Zanu PF and relatives.
Another very dangerous legacy Mugabe bequeathed this country is political gangsterism, resulting in creation of undemocratic institutions across the country.
That way, the late former President would ensure that no election by itself would remove him and his Zanu PF party from office.
The above is in particular reference to the 2008 plebiscite where – after both Mugabe and Zanu PF were beaten at the poll by the Tsvangirai-led MDC – the former resorted to violence to regain what they had lost at the ballot.
There are allegations that Mugabe (at his time of desperation) turned to the army to bludgeon the electorate into submission during a forced presidential run-off.
But the late former President also taught Zimbabweans and other dictatorships that nothing lasts forever.
Like Mugabe, Cesar’s subordinates and close buddies such as Brutus shifted their allegiance, resulting in his tragic removal from power via assassination!