Quantcast
Connect with us

Robert Mugabe a ‘broken soul’ in final years after Zimbabwe ouster

Published

on

Once feared for the all-encompassing power he wielded in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe died a “broken soul,” bereft at his downfall, his allies and relatives say.

Mugabe died in Singapore on Friday at the age of 95, nearly two months before the anniversary of the coup that forced him from power.

He had ruled the southern African country uninterrupted for 37 years and seven months.

ADVERTISEMENT

During these long decades, Mugabe was Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwe was Mugabe.

But in his twilight years, he became vulnerable and helpless, according to relatives, allies and analysts.

Mugabe bowed to pressure and resigned on November 21, 2017 in a military-backed coup, ending an increasingly tyrannical rule that saw millions leave Zimbabwe to escape repression and economic ruin.

People close to him said the coup hit Mugabe very hard.

ADVERTISEMENT

He never recovered from the shock that lieutenants whom he had groomed and trusted for years could betray him, they said.

UPI/AFP / –Mugabe, seen here with Prince Charles a day before Zimbabwe’s independence, was lauded as a liberation hero in the beginning

“It was sudden,” his nephew Leo said. “He could not believe that those he trusted most turned again him.”

The coup was his “lowest moment — that period from November 2017 up to his last day… sometimes he would just sit there,” said Mugabe.

ADVERTISEMENT

“A person who was used to waking up at 4 o’clock every morning, exercises, baths, goes to work and he has the whole country to look at, and suddenly that is abruptly brought to a halt — that is bound to affect.”

Mugabe’s health deteriorated incredibly quickly, he said.

– ‘Blind to reality’ –

ADVERTISEMENT

The coup had been in the making for months but Mugabe was blind “to reality at that time,” said Ibbo Mandaza, one of the intellectuals who served in Mugabe’s government after independence.

AFP / ALEXANDER JOE Allies and relatives said the once-feared Zimbabwe autocratic suddenly changed after his ouster

“Mugabe’s last years were years of extreme vulnerability,” said Mandaza, now head of a thinktank, the Southern Africa Political Economy Series (SAPES) Trust.

Shortly after tanks rolled into the streets of Harare in a show of force, one of Mugabe’s allies who sought shelter at the leader’s house, was former education and information minister Jonathan Moyo.

ADVERTISEMENT

Moyo, who spent time with Mugabe in the post-coup turbulence, said the once-feared autocrat dramatically changed.

AFP /Robert Mugabe

“He became unusually introverted,” Moyo said. “He just became instantly withdrawn and non-engaging. He was deep in thought and palpably at a loss.”

He became a “broken soul, an obliterated soul and someone whose world collapsed in front of him and left him helpless,” Moyo said in a phone interview from Kenya where he fled after the coup.

Generals seized power days after Mugabe fired his vice president and there were mass street protests over concern Mugabe was positioning his wife Grace to succeed him.

ADVERTISEMENT

AFP / STR Mugabe could not believe those he trusted turned against him when he was ousted by the army and protesters, allies say

After days of talks mediated by a Jesuit priest Fidelis Mukonori, Mugabe resigned.

Close to Mugabe for decades, Mukonori mediated most conflicts of Zimbabwean politics, starting in the 1970s with talks between guerrillas and colonial ruler Britain that led to independence in 1980.

Negotiating the exit of the man who ruled for nearly four decades “was not a walk in the park”, he told AFP at a cathedral on the outskirts of Harare.

“It was in the national interest that he decided to resign,” said Mukonori who later visited Mugabe several times after the coup.

ADVERTISEMENT

– ‘Disappointed, angry’ –

During one visit, Mukonori told Mugabe that he had put on weight. Mugabe replied “‘of course why shouldn’t I, this is something quite good'”, said the priest adding he had a “beautiful smile, he looked calm”.

But others said he struggled to adjust to losing power.

The Catholic vicar general of the archdiocese of Harare, Kennedy Muguti, who used to go to Mugabe’s house to celebrate mass, said the former leader was “disappointed and angry” at the ouster but kept his faith.

“The last mass that he attended before he went to Singapore, I celebrated that mass,” Muguti said.

ADVERTISEMENT

AFP / DESMOND KWANDE Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe kept his faith despite his anger over his ouster, allies say

“He still had his faith even after the frustrations of what happened … the way he was removed from power; yes, he was a disappointed man, he was frustrated, he was angry.”

The anger was palpable during one of Mugabe’s last addresses to the media, on the eve of the July elections, just eight months after he was toppled.

Sitting on a chair, propped up by cushions, a bitter Mugabe vowed not to vote for people in the ruling ZANU-PF party who had “tormented” him.

“I can’t vote for ZANU-PF… what is left? I think it is just (Nelson) Chamisa,” he said referring to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader.

ADVERTISEMENT

Chamisa himself said that Mugabe, by hinting that he would vote for the opposition, “did realise some of his mistakes.

“There is a danger in overstaying in leadership,” Chamisa said. “You can’t succeed yourself successfully, successively.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

New testimony adds 2 stunning — and previously unknown — details about the Ukraine extortion

Published

on

New testimony released Monday from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the Ukraine scandal included at least two new stunning details about the quid pro quo scheme at the heart of the matter.

Overall, the transcripts for depositions of Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, who were advisers to U.S. envoy Kurt Volker, built on the story of that we already know: that President Donald Trump pushed a shadow foreign policy to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political opponents, a scheme that involved using his office and military aid as leverage over the country in opposition to the official policy.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump blasted for his ‘Endorsement of Doom’ after Sean Spicer loses on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

Published

on

Team Trump had gone all in urging supporters to vote for former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on the game show "Dancing with the Stars."

Votes had been urged by RNC officials and Trump himself had urged his 66 million Twitter followers to vote for Spicer.

Despite the full heft of the Trump campaign, Spicer lost on Monday's show.

Trump deleted his failed tweet urging votes for Spicer -- and instead said it was a "great try" by his former advisor.

Looks like this endorsement was as successful as your last one!

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

‘He’s misunderstood’: Nikki Haley tells Fox News how Trump is actually a really good listener

Published

on

Former Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley defended President Donald Trump during a Monday appearance with Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

Hannity asked the former South Carolina governor if Trump was "misunderstood."

"I do think he’s misunderstood," Haley replied.

"I can tell you, from the first day to the last day that I worked for the president, he always listened, he was always conscious of hearing other voices, allowing people to debate out the issues, and then he made his decision," Haley claimed.

She argued that, "I saw a president that was very thoughtful, looked at all of the issues, made decisions, and it was a pleasure and honor to work with him."

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image