President Mugabe died in exile. President Mugabe died “a sad man; a sad, sad, sad man” as explained by Honourable Walter Chidakwa. Some of President Mugabe’s commanders did not pay their last respects. Some of them are in exile. President Mugabe’s Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Chiwenga, could not bid farewell to President Mugabe. President Mugabe’s Director General of the Central Intelligence Organisation, Major General Happyton Bonyongwe, could also not bid farewell to President Mugabe.
It was heart breaking to read General Bonyongwe tribute to President Mugabe. General Bonyongwe spent 19 years at President Mugabe’s side; seeing and engaging with him on a daily basis. There are countless other comrades who worked so closely with President Mugabe that they became family. I cannot imagine the anguish and torment that loyal colleagues like President Mugabe’s Police Commissioner General, Dr Augustine Chihuri, are going through. I extend my condolences to President Mugabe’s loyal colleagues who are ostracised. My gratitude also goes to the commanders who carried his casket; it is very significant.
After being ousted in a military coup in November 2017, President Mugabe was abused, tormented and hounded by some senior ZANU PF officials. Some of those tormentors are people he personally taught, trained and educated. Before he left for Singapore in April 2019, President Mugabe would watch and listen to the news on the state broadcaster ZBC as senior ZANU PF officials, like National Chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, labelled him a sell-out and a traitor.
The attacks on President Mugabe were orchestrated from the Ministry of Defence with Muchinguri-Kashiri and her ministerial deputy, Matemandada, leading the onslaught against President Mugabe. Muchinguri-Kashiri went as far as accusing President Mugabe of having connived to have sanctions placed on Zimbabwe. She totally ignored that President Mugabe and his wife were the only people who remained on European Union sanctions. During those torturous months, President Mugabe became so sad, so very sad that he could hardly eat. The betrayal and torture broke President Mugabe’s heart. He died a heart-broken man. The abuse forced President Mugabe into exile to Singapore.
After moving into exile to Singapore in April 2019, President Mugabe’s health, outlook and appetite improved. Although he catered for his own accommodation in a rented house and used taxis for his trips between his home in exile and the medical centre as an outpatient, he was no longer tormented daily through ZBC, the state broadcaster.
President Mugabe loved Zimbabwe so much that he had previously said, “Zimbabwe is where I was born, Zimbabwe is where I will die and Zimbabwe is where I will be buried”. During the November 2017 coup, some friendly heads of state had offered President Mugabe refuge but he declined those offers saying that he wanted to die in Zimbabwe. Despite all of this, President Mugabe died in exile.
As I said at President Mugabe’s memorial service organised by the EFF in Soweto, President Mugabe’s death in exile as a sad man forces us to address the plight of all Zimbabwean exiles. We must resolve Zimbabwe’s political and economic crises so that Zimbabwe stops producing political or economic refugees.
Asante Sana. Iwe Neni Tine Basa. Umsebenzi lo Umkhulu.