EDITORIAL COMMENT: New Patriotic Front project doomed to fail

Retired Brigadier-General Ambrose Mutinhiri

Retired Brigadier-General Ambrose Mutinhiri

FORMER President Robert Mugabe is a respected African statesman, liberation struggle stalwart and one of the founding fathers of Zimbabwe but his willingness to be used as a tool by his wife and the G40 cabal will besmirch his record and place in history. During the last days of his Presidency, it became apparent to the whole world that he had been captured by the cabal fronted by former Cabinet Ministers — Professor Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwao — who were using their access to his wife Grace Mugabe to push their nefarious agenda.

There was a concerted campaign to rid the State and ruling Zanu-PF party structures of the liberation struggle element and this culminated in the firing of former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa as he was perceived to be a stumbling block to the cabal’s designs of destroying the vanguard party from within.

The timely launch of Operation Restore Legacy by the Zimbabwe National Army —itself a creature of the former armed wings of Zanu-PF and PF Zapu — rescued the situation and prevented a catastrophic scenario whereby the cabal would rule by proxy using the former First Lady as the public face of their criminal endeavour.

Former President Mugabe is in the twilight of his years and at 94, can easily be manipulated by those around him. His decision to “anoint” former Minister of State for Mashonaland East Retired Brigadier-General Ambrose Mutinhiri as the leader of the G40 cabal’s new political project, New Patriotic Front, shows that he has not learnt from events of November last year which culminated in his resignation as President of Zimbabwe.

In fact, by endorsing the NPF, the former President is daring the Government of Zimbabwe under the leadership of President Mnangagwa and spurning their overtures and the respect they have accorded him since he left power. His actions are akin to biting the hand that feeds you since the Government has availed him with all his benefits and ensured that he is taken care of and comfortable in retirement.

This is in keeping with their commitment to preserving his legacy by getting rid of the criminal elements around him. Since his resignation, the former President had not spoken publicly against the new administration but decided to use a private birthday party at his Blue Roof residence last month to claim persecution of his family and that his wife was “crying daily” because she was no longer enjoying the fabulous trappings of power which allowed her to amass astonishing riches.

Since then, he has also escalated his re-entry into the political scene by meeting Rtd Brig Gen Mutinhiri at his residence after which the latter announced his resignation from Zanu-PF and the formation of the NPF. The former Zipra commander — described as “doubly beholden” to Cde Mugabe after he was rescued twice from political oblivion —  is allegedly being used as a Trojan Horse by the former First Family which is desperate to protect its sprawling business empire that includes 21 farms, local and foreign investments including claims of Black Granite in Mutoko.

It is unfortunate that former President Mugabe is unrepentant and continues to kow tow to the whims and caprices of his wife and her G40 cabal who harbour ambitions of regrouping and possibly worming their way back into power. It would be a shame if his actions resulted in the current administration losing patience with him and withdrawing their benevolence to him and his family which they are at pains to justify to a nation that had grown tired of the shenanigans of the former First Lady.

What is disappointing about this charade is that the former President still thinks he is popular throughout the country to the extent that he has plans of going around Zimbabwe to introduce his protégé — Rtd Brig Gen Mutinhiri. Cde Mugabe should disabuse himself of that notion as such a stunt would only expose him to utter humiliation. As for Rtd Brig Gen Mutinhiri — no one is buying his flimsy excuses for leaving Zanu-PF as his NPF is clearly a G40 rescue project meant to prepare the ground for the eventual re-entry into the Zimbabwe political scene by Mrs Grace Mugabe. Yesterday, we reported that several former G40 kingpins linked to the NPF had distanced themselves from it further denting its chances of success in the forthcoming harmonised elections.

Zimbabweans are revelling in the progress being made under the new political dispensation and would never countenance a situation where former President Mugabe and his loose-tongued wife are anywhere near the reins of power.

Cde Mugabe deserves to enjoy his retirement in peace and solitude but his latest actions point to a man keen to spite the same people who treated him with respect and extended all the entitlements accruing to his former office. This cannot end well.