By Wellington Muzengeza

The death of former President Robert Mugabe marked the end of an era in botched political policies in Zimbabwe such that the former strongman will be missed but only by those who benefited directly from his long and arduous tyrannical rule and partisan policies, or those Africans who had a romantic view of the old hero who affected a feigned “principled and moral fight” against white colonial rule, while actively suppressing sustained national development and political freedom amongst his critics and opponents.

The majority of Zimbabweans who lived under his iron fisted rule and do not suffer from convenient amnesia remember the old despot for who he really was. A narcissistic, power hungry, pseudo intellectual, English-loving, occasional catholic and paranoid leader.

Mugabe presided over the social, economic and political demise of Zimbabwe over 37 years of his rule through systematic corruption, self-serving policies and violence in his party and government. He mentored all the current crop of leaders that rule the country today after taking over power from him in a sanitized coup in November 2017.

The power hungry Prime Minister

In the aftermath of Zimbabwe’s independence from early 1982, Mugabe alongside his henchmen, Sydney Sekeremayi, then defence minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, then State Security minister and others began implementing a concerted plan (so-called Gukurahundi campaign) to destroy the formal opposition which at that time was under the leadership of Joshua Nkomo.

His plan was that with The Zimbabwe African People’ Union (ZAPU), Nkomo’s party destroyed, he would solidify his stranglehold on absolute power by forcibly implementing his long conceived plans for a one party state. In that quest beginning in 1983, he almost vanquished the Ndebele nation under the guise of fighting dissidents.

He unleashed his secret police, full army battalions, the police, an especially Korean trained 5th Brigade and other state security apparatus on the hapless civilian population of the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces. Areas that were the backbone of his rival Joshua Nkomo’s political support. It is alleged that over 20 000 ethnic Ndebele tribesmen were killed and tortured in a well-orchestrated campaign of village raids and curfews.

Reports that whole villages were torched, some in their huts, villagers buried alive and bodies dumped in abandoned mines among a litany of atrocities these forces visited on the poor communities abound.

A ban on food aid and relief in these areas exacerbated the hunger and deprivation during the ongoing drought of 1982. Zapu properties, coffers and project initiatives were seized and confiscated by the state. The organisation was completely crushed. The man was steadfast and ruthless in his vile quest to annihilate his political nemesis.

Former Zipra military leaders and functionaries like Lookout Masuku, Dumiso Dabengwa and the others were subsequently jailed at Chikurubi and Khami prisons on trumped up high treason charges in this period. Zipra Cadres who had been conscripted into the Zimbabwean National Army and Zapu officials and politicians were openly persecuted and forced out of the army and government by being labeled “dissidents” or dissident apologists.

The Zapu leader, Joshua Nkomo was forced to skip the border into neighboring Botswana and ended up in forced exile in Britain as there was a real threat on his life and that of his supporters at the time.

Lookout Masuku eventually died soon after being released from prison after an unimaginable ordeal at the hands of Mugabe’s men in detention, however the damage had been done. Former President Robert Mugabe did not hesitate to use draconian Rhodesian legislation that he had ironically suffered under during Ian Smith’s regime to destroy his opponents.

As Zapu had been summarily destroyed, most local Ndebele speaking party leaders had either fled the carnage to Bulawayo or South Africa, and absolute fear reigned supreme amongst the party’s former strongholds of Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces stalling all development projects and initiatives in the provinces.

An intrepid and unabashed Mugabe began talks with an overwhelmed Nkomo for so-called unity talks, which in essence were just a cunning ploy to box him into a corner so that he could swallow Zapu into his Zanu PF. Mugabe was ready to rule unabated. His “One Party State” was certainly born with the characteristic ‘command economic policies’ thereof.

In 1987 as the Unity Accord was signed between a diffident Nkomo and a triumphant Mugabe, certain elements of Zapu were incorporated into the “unified” Zanu PF with Nkomo as an ineffective and toothless second Vice president. It was certainly a marriage of unequal partners.

Nkomo a whitewashed leader whose cohorts had been purged had no choice but to capitulate to save the Ndebele nation from out-and-out subjugation and development marginalisation.

In triumph, Mugabe then predictably imposed a new constitution that conferred “executive” powers to himself. He was set to be the All-Conquering and powerful life president and ruler of the Zimbabwean plateau and was no longer directly answerable to parliament, effectively reducing the nation into a bona fide autocratic state

The late 1980s Corruption Scandals

With his stranglehold on power well consolidated, absolute control of the media, particularly the state owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, TV and radio, the dailies, Herald and Chronicle newspapers and other regional media mouthpieces.

Mugabe had built a formidable political and economic power base emboldened by a coterie of yes-man that he brazenly allowed to have their way with the state coffers. They began policy inspired abuse of state resources, rampant corruption, jobs for money scandals etc. The first publicly corruption scandal broke out in 1988. I was known as the Willowgate Scandal which was exposed through a local daily newspaper, the Chronicle by a young and brave editor Geoffrey Nyarota.

The story exposed weak government procurement policies that manifested through an elaborate scam by government officials and certain privileged and connected individuals who were getting preference when buying vehicles at the Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries at heavily discounted prices, but would then sell them at highly inflated prices on the black market.

The scandal implicated powerful politicians and key officials from his government who were directly implicated and named in a commission report namely, Maurice Nyagumbo, Callistus Ndlovu, Enos Nkala, Enos Chikowore, Mark Dube, Sally Mugabe (his first wife) and others.

It was the first major exposé on the shenanigans of his 8 year old regime at the time. Mugabe publicly appointed a commission to investigate the saga, but never took any noteworthy punitive action to against the fingered culprits, some of whom continued to have unimpeded careers in his government as heads of key policy making departments. It was his way of reigning in unhindered personal support.

“Democracy is in the intensive care unit” Edgar Tekere, 1988

Once Mugabe had consolidated his power and almost outlawed political opposition in Zimbabwe, under a unified Zanu PF with a conquered Nkomo as an ineffective and neutralized Vice President, he became audacious in his actions, completely stifling any dissent against his ever burgeoning despotic rule.

The man was convinced that his foothold on the political playing field was completely entrenched until Edgar Tekere, a former close confidant and nemesis stepped out of the shadows in early 1988 and openly criticized his One Party State policy and embarked on an unswerving and strong-willed campaign of criticizing his complicity in corruption and an unwarranted thrust to personalize the party by stifling democracy.

Tekere was eventually neutralized when the Zanu PF Secretary General position was abolished and he was eventually expelled from the party. However an unperturbed Tekere formed his own political party, the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) and announced that he was going to contest in the 1990 elections.

Tekere maintained and argued that “A one-party state was never one of the founding principles of and that experience in Africa had shown that it brought the evils of nepotism, corruption and inefficiency.” An irate Mugabe responded by unleashing a violent reign of terror on ZUM’s supporters and leadership in a campaign that was only preceded by his earlier onslaught on Zapu during the so-called Gukurahundi campaign.


The new party’s supporters endured a clearly planned and structured onslaught of violent attacks from supporters of ZANU (PF) and five of their candidates were murdered. Famously they were the targets of violent attacks and five of their candidates were murdered in cold blood. The most shocking case was that of Patrick Kombayi, a former Zanu Pf founding member and former mayor of Gweru who was shot in broad daylight and left for dead.

Mugabe was to treat all opposition forces with the same heavy handedness throughout his political career until his ouster through a sanitized military coup in November 2017. Against such a backdrop of violence and lack of funding, Edgar Tekere went on to contest against Former President Robert Mugabe in the 1990 Presidential elections.

In the short existence of his party, the combative and finger wagging Edgar Tekere fearlessly managed to canvass massive and unparalleled support for his party and opposition to Mugabe’s rule since 1980 and it was alleged that enormous vote rigging by Mugabe and his party was employed and ensured his election victory with 2,026,976 votes against Tekere’s 413,840 votes which constituted 16% of the vote. ZUM won 20% of the vote in the same parliamentary elections with only two seats parliament.

Despite his loss, Tekere had derailed Mugabe’s One Party State vision successfully and will forever be remembered by democracy loving Zimbabweans as the man who saved the country from the doom of classic Soviet style autocratic rule and its accompanying “command type policies”.

Tekere who died in June 2011, is often not rightly recognised as a key opposition political figure in Zimbabwe which is typical of Mugabe’s rule, where any of his opponents are always vilified with the exclusive accolades for patriotism reserved for Mugabe and his cohorts in Zanu PF.

It is my view that the departure of Edgar Tekere from Zanu PF was also the beginning of a deepened apprehension of Mugabe’s rule particularly within his own party. Ironically, it was to be the same obstinate and volatile relationship with the war veterans that was to prove to be his downfall more than 19 years later when he was toppled in a “soft” coup.

Even in death, Mugabe still had no love lost for Tekere. When asked if Tekere would be buried at the national shrine where “heroes” are given a state funeral, Mugabe taciturnly responded, “The dead do not decide where they are buried”

1991 to 1998

The demise of ZUM and ZAPU did not remove the tyrant from power, but at least ZUM’s efforts made sure that Mugabe did not successfully have his ‘One Party State’.

Other political parties and opposition politics stalwarts in post-independence Zimbabwe inevitably emerged in that period, of particular mention being former High Court Justice Enoch Dumbutshena and his Forum Party, Margaret Dongo alongside Kempton Makamure and their Zimbabwe Union of Democrats (ZUD).

They paved the way for future political movements that were to change the political playing field in Zimbabwe post 1998. Noteworthy is Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and its later breakaway formations.

At this time even the mood of the people had changed. Whereas even artistic sentiments who had unequivocally supported Mugabe and his polices since the days of the liberation struggle against white minority rule and in the post 1980 period began to voice their displeasure with the government policies of Mugabe’s regime.

Of note is Thomas Mapfumo, the legendary Zimbabwean musician cum social activist. During the struggle against colonialism, the dreadlocked musician had sung songs that encouraged the “boys and girls” in the bush to take up arms and fight the despotic regime of Ian smith.

Through his craftily fused traditional and western instrumentals and smoky lyrics, he had won the hearts of many of his compatriots and had managed to obtain a cult urban and rural following. It counted for something when a man of his social and musical status started singing against corruption and his displeasure to the false promises the government had made, the failure to deliver. It was clear that the public mood had changed

In spite of all these adverse social and political developments at the time, Mugabe’s government had initiated very heavy social sector expansion programmes and policies with the aim of redressing colonial, social and economic injustices through massive educational and health reform programmes which had achieved notable success. The literacy rate and access to education for the previously disadvantaged citizens was way ahead of that of other countries in Africa.

Primary and secondary school enrolment was at an unprecedented high and the health delivery system was reasonably functional. However, on the key issue of land reform, there was very slow progress, with reports and allegations of corruption in the allocation of land, widespread misuse of the donor funds meant for the “willing buyer willing seller “programme were looted and abused by government and party functionaries.

The agriculture sector driven by most of the former Rhodesian farmers, about only 4000 of whom at the time owned the bulk of prime agricultural land who were engaged in profitable commercial farming in form or another; while the indigenous population continued to engage in less lucrative subsistence farming.

Commercial agriculture was inevitably posting record exports of mainly cash crops which was bringing in the much needed foreign currency and to a significant extent (They had the best arable farmland).

On the other hand, the communal farmers despite working on the worst farmland in dry regions were increasing their yields on mostly food crops and cotton. The administrative arms of government, however were top heavy and a serious drain on the fiscus, there was rampant overspending in government and inevitably a ruling elite emerged. The government coffers started to run dry.

A serious HIV and AIDS pandemic also began to test the veracity of the health delivery system coupled with corruption at high levels of government began to take its toll on the economy and also exacerbated by the severe drought of 1992. Another severe drought was to follow in 1995.

These consecutive drought periods severely affected Zimbabwe’s agriculture, its primary economic industry. The fall of the Iron Curtain and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1990 also meant that Mugabe had to shift his focus from his so-called Socialist policies to conform to a capitalist agenda. He had to, as he needed loans to bail out his ailing economy after 10 years of looting and plunder. He therefore turned to the Bretton Woods institutions i.e the World Bank and the International Monetary Finance (IMF).

The self-serving despot

Mugabe is one leader who had so much promise and could have offered a lot to the people of Zimbabwe given his education, so-called intellect and liberation credentials and the hope he embodied in the early years of Zimbabwe’s independence but unlike Mandela, he tragically decided to focus only on himself.

Preemptively adopting the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) was in my view motivated by the man’s quest to self-preserve rather than to earnestly save the country from an inevitable economic collapse. ESAP was a neo-liberal market-driven policy adopted by Mugabe’s government in October 1990 as a shock solution to the economic crisis that had started to obtain in the country in the late 1980s under Mugabe’s reckless watch.

The key tenets of this programme necessitated and prescribed the significant reduction of Government expenditure by reducing the size of the civil service by at least 25 percent, the full withdrawal of government subsidies, the commercialization and privatization of some state-owned companies and introducing user-fees in the health and education sectors, amongst a host of other prescribed reforms.

The aid however came with conditions that Mugabe and his cronies never intended to honor. It was all talk and no action as usual. The only people that bore the brunt of the austerity measures that came with ESAP were the ordinary Zimbabweans who had to endure mass retrenchments in the government sector and doomed to joblessness in an ever shrinking economy.

Towards the end of 1996, Mugabe was facing so much pressure from both the economy that continued to go on a downward spiral since the late 1980s and growing pressure on him from the war veterans of the liberation movement who felt they had been sidelined by the elitist leaders or “chefs” who were enjoying the gravy train as well as emerging dissent from labour unions, civil society and social justice activists.

The War Veterans factor

At independence in 1980, in spite of the Mugabe headed government’s crafty demobilization efforts, not all ex combatants could be recruited into the newly reconstituted national army, the police and other security units and this posed a problem to the new government as most of these former fighters did not have any meaningful education beyond the early stages of secondary education. The new public sector required qualified personnel with basic formal education and specific artisanal skills for them to join a productive profession. Skills that greatly lacked in the country at the time, more so among the war veterans.

As a result, more than 20 000 war veterans could not be placed into productive and sustainable civilian roles by the late 1980s and over the years had gradually slipped into destitution without anyone noticing, let alone caring. A growing resentment therefore began to mount amongst the war veterans in the mid-1990s and eventually they organized themselves under Chenjerai Hunzvi and began serious lobbying for some form of compensation and for government to genuinely address their welfare issues.

Towards the end of 1996, Mugabe was facing so much pressure from both the economy that continued to go on a downward spiral since the late 1980s and growing pressure on him from the war veterans of the liberation movement who felt they had been sidelined by the elitist leaders or “chefs” who were enjoying the gravy train as well as emerging dissent from labour unions, civil society and social justice activists.

The Hunzvi-led executive significantly alerted its members about the existence of a War Victims Compensation Fund (WVCF) which had been established by the Mugabe’s government to comply with the dictates of the War Victims Compensation Act of 1980.

This act was enacted to compensate all victims of war injuries, former fighters and civilians alike but all claims were to be monopolized by war veterans only and mostly fraudulently claims were submitted and approved Z$450 million, the equivalent of USD 45 million was paid out between 1996 and 1997 to mostly undeserving beneficiaries including serving ministers and senior police and military officers in Mugabe’s government.

The war veterans began making relative to the economy at the time, massive and unreasonable payouts from Mugabe’s government and threatened to disrupt all government activity. This culminated in an open confrontation when they heckled him at a funeral of one of his party members at the Heroes Acre.

As was his wont to save his political skin, Mugabe appeased them by relenting with awarding them ZWD 50 000 gratuities which was the equivalent of USD 3,000 at the time, together with a monthly pension equivalent to USD 125. This total package amounted to approximately 3 percent of the country’s 1997 Gross Domestic Product in 1997 and was not included in the 1997 budget for the fiscal year, inevitably these impulsive inflated the budget by 55 percent on the previous year.

Even after being appeased by the under siege Mugabe, the war veterans went on further to express discontent with the previous land reform programme, and immediately demanded its acceleration.

The mounting pressure from the war veterans threatened his hold on power within Zanu PF structures and force him to act, this time recklessly such that November of the same year, Mugabe announced plans by his government to initiate the compulsory acquisition of white-owned commercial farms but as was typical of him, without elaboration on process and the financing of such an important transaction.

A combination of the unbudgeted financing of the payouts, the impulsive announcement of the unplanned and unstructured land acquisition process inevitably sent out negative signals in the investor community, foreign and local and serious investor panic and doubt ensued particularly on the future fiscal position of the Zimbabwean government.

Immediate flight of foreign capital caused crashes in the Zimbabwean money and capital markets and exhaustion of the foreign reserves of the country. This culminated in the debilitating crash of the Zimbabwe dollar on the 14th of November 1997, a day that is referred as “Black Friday “when the Zimbabwean currency lost 75 percent of its value against the US dollar.

Under the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) organized popular and widespread stay away strikes in January 1998 which further worsened Mugabe’s unpopularity. Calls for him to go began to mount. Immediately afterwards in the same month over a two day period, spontaneous food riots erupted, beginning in Harare and spreading throughout the country in response to the increases in the cost of mealie meal, bread, cooking oil and other basic commodities.

Mugabe’s government in my view erroneously introduced price controls, blaming the situation on industrial profiteers. Fatefully in September of the same year even as economic conditions were worsening, Mugabe sanctioned Zimbabwe to join the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to back the discredited leader, Laurent Kabila in a move was also unbudgeted. He used his executive powers to enforce his whim.

In the same year the land reform process continued and by November 1998 his government had issued about 841 Acquisition orders to white farmers. In light of these and other related events, foreign investors, donors and other strategic partners began to pull out from Zimbabwe, further worsening the economic plight of the country and its people. Events that had started with efforts to appease a few thousand war veterans had inevitably kick started the downward spiral of Former President Robert Mugabe’s hold on the economy and power.

Mugabe’s evolution into a fully-fledged pseudo Junta strongman began in the early 2000s when he started a structured and military inspired purge against his opponents by incorporating retired military officers (Mostly war Veterans) into Zanu PF and other government leadership structures effectively turning his regime into a pseudo junta.

Under this leadership “policy” state security resources were channeled directly towards political vendetta projects and other “economic” projects (Subject of another article).His love hate relationship with war veterans went on to feature prominently as they play were to play a front and pivotal row in the ill-fated land reform process that sealed the fate of Zimbabwe’s economy, became Mugabe’s de facto election agents and enforcers from 2000 onwards when became his political saviours against the tide of the rise of Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC from early 1999 as much as they also became the architects of his political downfall in November 17.

From 2000 onwards coinciding with the rise of the Movement for Democratic Change under of Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe had ceased to even pretend that he was acting in the interest of Zimbabweans. He openly demonstrated an open mouth and shut mind attitude that was unparalleled in diplomatic relations.

He brazenly abandoned his decorum and respectability of the 1980s, recklessly picked up quarrels with Britain and the United States of America, particularly Tony Blair and George Bush. He single handedly pulled Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth without consulting parliament, picked up a bad record for violating human rights and the rule of law and successfully isolated from the rest of the international community.

Accusations of vote rigging, political intimidation and violence against his opponents were labelled against his government and political party he led. He bragged that he had “degrees in violence” at political rallies during his election campaigns and regularly used state apparatus and resources to meet his personal and political end.

There was no distinction between his party and the government. He successfully evolved into the self-appointed leader of a “banana republic”. As mass emigration of Zimbabweans into neighboring and other countries increased in early 2007 and late 2008 due to violence against opposition MDC supporters, the worsening economic situation, particularly “super” hyperinflationary conditions, erosion of pensions, shortages of all commodities, company closures, deterioration of health care and education systems, public economic infrastructure like roads, railways, the public airline and other push factors etc., Mugabe at public rallies continued to publicly mock Zimbabweans calling those in the United Kingdom BBC (British Bum Cleaners).

A derogatory reference to Zimbabweans who are working in the British Healthcare system as nurses and other support staff. The old man had become incorrigible. The situated went on abated until his ouster in a “soft coup’ by a faction from his own political party.

Having chronicled in part Mugabe’s role in ruining “the jewel”, it is vital that I conclude this article by discussing his legacy. Mugabe in death leaves behind a country that has stepped backwards at least 40 years in terms of development.

There is electricity on 18 hours in a day, there is insignificant activity in commercial agriculture to warrant any significant contribution to the fiscus. He leaves the country as a basket case that relies on international humanitarian and food agencies to feed its poor.

The hospitals are badly resourced and the personnel poorly remunerated, the transport infrastructure is severely dilapidated both the road and rail network, the national airline is badly managed and is manned by irresponsible and nepotistic appointees.

All major cities and towns do not provide clean, safe or drinkable running water and the sewer reticulation systems are a disaster in waiting. Mugabe leaves behind a dysfunctional body politic, an incapable and corrupt government driven by a wanton accumulation of wealth cultivating poverty, preoccupied with the politics of patronage, cronyism, nepotism and despotism where “all government appointments are made based on an individual’s proximity to the president, a partisan security sector, a polarized nation with a calamitous conflation of state and the so called ruling party, a reign of terror, systematic pillaging and looting the country”

Key Events and timelines in Mugabe’s despotic rule:

Mugabe presided over genocide in Matabeleland in the early 1980s

Mugabe was anti multi-party democracy as a vehement proponent of the ‘One Party State’ system since 1980 and effectively destroyed Zapu to achieve it

He condoned Corruption. 1988 Willowgate scandal, refer to the Sandura commission report

The land resettlement fund abuse of the 1980s

The top heavy cabinet and no adherence to dictates of ESAP

Violent – 1990 “democracy is in the intensive unit” and Kombayi shooting saga in Gweru

Political assassinations of opponents.

Dictatorial The Sunningdale saga involving Nyasha Chikwinya and Margaret

The war vets appeasement saga of Nov 1997 where the arrogant elders were paid from the fiscus from unbudgeted money.

The spontaneous food riots of January 1998 fueled by the war veterans’ appeasement saga. All basic foodstuffs were inevitably hiked by over 50% which was the beginning of hyperinflation

The inevitable rise of Morgan Tsvangirai, Gibson Sibanda, Gift Chimanikire, and others in the Labour movement responding to the workers travails.

The rise of the civil rights movement after purges from the Zanu PF led government. Starting with the National Constitutional Assembly under Prof Lovemore Madhuku

The 1999 referendum and the rise of one Prof Jonathan Moyo as a spin-doctor for the unpopular Zanu PF of the early 2000s

The inevitable formation of the MDC by general consensus of various coalitions representing the people’s interests in 1999

Mugabe unleashes the war vets onto the farms primarily to save face and his skin and to remain relevant after realizing he had lost popularity after 20 years at the helm. This was after a Labour movement had risen under Chiluba in Zambia and inspired events in Zimbabwe

2000, the arrival of the MDC on the green benches of parliament and unprecedented violence on the people by Zanu Pf since Gukurahundi.

.2002, the rise of the military junta through the Smith inherited tactic of the JOC under General Zvinavashe, of the infamous strait jacket statement.

Post 2002 presidential election period militarization of Zanu Pf by retiring military personnel and incorporating ex-army officers into Zanu Pf and government.

. Repressive laws enacted on the advice of Prof Moyo, Patrick Chinamasa and others, circa AIPPA, POSA etc. The demise of the real Daily News, Geoffrey Nyarota and Wilf Mbanga.

The structured mass brainwashing Soviet/Goebels style through an enforced monopoly of the airwaves. That “rambai makashinga” Jonathan Moyo inspired nonsense

. The purging of youthful political talent. Learnmore Jongwe, Tafadzwa Musekiwa and the others.

The appointment of one Gideon Gono of the “bearer cheque and casino economy” circus and unprecedented hyper and shocking inflation never ever witnessed since the great depression.

The idiotic fixation, paranoia and obsession with Tony Blair and a fixation with an imaginary neo colonialist agenda about “making Zimbabwe a colony again” by the narcissistic and delusional Mugabe on whom a coterie of clueless Yes Men had built a ridiculous cult of personality around.

The mass exodus of our people into South Africa and Botswana in 2007.

The Insincere GNU

The stolen 2013 elections

The demise of Joyce Mujuru

the rise and fall of Grace Mugabe 

2017 The Star Rallies

The Coup

The Mnangagwa regime

September 2019 The death of the tyrant

Mugabe leaves behind a failed state and a dysfunctional system, successor that he personally mentored and socialized in his despotic ways. In conclusion, Former President Robert Mugabe should be remembered alongside his former adversary Ian Smith.

There is no way his name can ever be mentioned in the same breath as that of great luminaries such as Nelson Mandela or Samora Machel. His associates must therefore include Idi Amin, John Vorster and Ian Smith or any other despots you can think of. Pariahs and supreme oppressors of the people.

His is a classic case of hero turned villain

Wellington Muzengeza can be reached on