SAYING GOODBYE TO GRACE
Today, thousands of Zimbabweans are gathering in Harare. They come from different sections of society – political parties, churches, civil society organisations, youth and women’s organisations, war veterans and many more. Most likely, they have [at least until about a week ago] had different positions on the role and future of President Robert Mugabe. With regard to Grace Mugabe, the wife of the president, I feel confident that there is a much stronger agreement among the diverse participants in the demonstration – they despise her!
Based on this, and based on developments over the past two-three years, it is of course correct to conclude that 52 year old Grace Mugabe – together with her Generation 40 group of younger Zanu-PF ministers and members – has played an important and ultimately fatal role in the last act of the 37-year rule of liberation hero, party leader and president Robert Mugabe. A majority of Zimbabweans would probably accept that the 93 year old man be allowed to retire to his native home in the rural areas, if he promised to stay out of politics. I wonder if this would be allowed for his wife, considering the disrespect she has shown through her extravagant behaviour for the millions of ordinary Zimbabweans trying to make ends meet.
The top Zapiro drawing [from the Daily Maverick in South Africa] is from 10 November, after the sacking of Vice President Mnangagwa. The bottom Zapiro drawing is from 17 November, after the intervention of the military.
We still do not know where it will all end, but as far as we know, all of the key players in the political struggle unfolding are still alive. Hopefully this will also be the case when solutions for the way forward have been found. So when my favorite South African artist Zapiro in recent days has been making some rather crude artistic comments to developments in Zimbabwe with his drawings, he is not literally stating that Mnangagwa has been killed and his head displayed for all people to see; nor is he saying that Grace and Robert Mugabe have been beheaded and displayed in the same way that Mnangagwe had been a week earlier. Nor is he suggesting that this should happen!
But the artist is of course pointing out that politics in Zimbabwe can be a deadly game. The liberation struggle left many people dead, not only on the battlefield, but also in the infighting between the different liberation groups. During the 37 years since independence in 1980, many have sacrificed their lives for the political decisions they have taken. I believe it will be very important for all of those involved in seeking solutions to the present crisis to do it in a peaceful manner.