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In Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, 21 November 2017, parliament was the scene of unprecedented jubilation as the Speaker of the House read Robert Mugabe’s resignation letter. The House erupted in cheers, singing, dancing, clapping and celebrations – with Members of the Parliament leaping up, jumping on their chairs and tables, flinging their arms high above their heads, shouting with joy and exuberance.
Euphoria Throughout Zimbabwe
The atmosphere was electric throughout the country as people by the hundreds-of-thousands poured into the streets to cheer, shout, dance and sing at the news.
Dancing in the Streets
There were extraordinary scenes of people dancing, car horns blaring and flags waving with jubilation and singing in the streets. Tuesday, 21 November, will be remembered and celebrated for a very long time in Zimbabwe as the day in which Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe, finally gave in to decades of protests and pressure to force him to give up his despotic misrule.
Record Breaking Catastrophe
At 93 years old, Robert Mugabe was the oldest and longest-running dictator still in power in the world. For 37 years, the people of Zimbabwe have been brutalised, terrorised and oppressed by his Marxist ZANU-PF reign of terror.
Insulting the Matabele
Earlier this month at a ZANU-PF party rally in Bulawayo, the capital of Matabeleland, Mugabe aggravated the Matabele people by speaking in Shona. As his wife, Grace Mugabe (often called Gucci Grace because of her exorbitant lavish lifestyle) was heckled with the people chanting at her: “You know nothing!” and singing the Matabele song “Oyenzayo Siyaizonda” which translates to: “We hate what you do!” Grace responded to the crowd: “I don’t care, I am powerful!”; “Even if I become vice president, is there anything wrong with that?” The people continued to sing: “We hate what you do!”
Arrogance and Threats
The visibly incensed Robert Mugabe poured out his wrath on his Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa (nicknamed the crocodile), publically threatening to fire him. “If I made a mistake by appointing Mnangagwa… tell me. I will drop him as early as tomorrow. We are not afraid of anyone. We can decide even here!” Mugabe roared. Mugabe was openly booed by many in the crowd of Matabele in Bulawayo. When Mugabe followed this up by actually sacking his Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, this provoked the Zimbabwe Defence Force (ZDF) to swing into action.
Military Action to Restore the Vice President
On 14 November, armoured personnel carriers rumbled into Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. The president was taken into what the military described as “protective custody”. The ZDF secured the public broadcaster and other strategic points. The commander of the armed forces declared that they were “targeting criminals around Mugabe who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country, in order to bring them to justice.”
It was clear that the crisis was caused by the power struggle over who would succeed the 93-year-old dictator. It marked the end of the political ambitions of Mugabe’s 52-year-old wife, Grace Mugabe. It was the high profile firing of Vice President Mnangagwa and the purging of party loyalists who did not support Grace Mugabe’s aspirations to become the next President that was the final straw.
Assault and Intrigue
Grace Mugabe has been involved in a number of assaults, including in August this year, when she lashed a model with a plug in a hotel in South Africa. The South African ANC government allowed her to claim diplomatic immunity and escape prosecution. She has been behind the dismissal of many party favourites of ZANU-PF, including former Vice President, Joice Mujuru.
A Trail of Treachery
Robert Mugabe will be remembered as the Marxist who was propelled into power by Jimmy Carter’s State Department and the British Foreign Office, in violation of the Lancaster House Agreement of 1979.
Lord Arthur Christopher Soames, a son-in-law of Winston Churchill and the British-appointed Governor of Rhodesia during the transition period, was responsible to ensure free and fair elections in accordance with the Lancaster House Agreement. However, while Soames acknowledged that Mugabe’s ZANU-PF was engaged in widespread, systematic violations and terrorism, intimidating the voters, he refused to dismiss the obviously fraudulent votes in favour of Mugabe. In blatant violation of the Lancaster House Agreement, Soames handed over the government of Rhodesia to Mugabe and his disqualified terrorist movement, with disastrous consequences to all.
Massacres in Matabeleland
Mugabe mobilised his North Korean Fifth Brigade to conduct wholesale massacres in Matabeleland from 1983 to 1984. Termed Gukurahundi (loosely translated from the Shona it refers to “the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains”). Mugabe is from the majority Shona tribe and the Matabele are the minority tribe. The Matabele are descendants of the Zulu. Tens-of-thousands of Matabele civilians were brutally massacred by Mugabe’s ZANU 5th Brigade.
The Long Fields
Disused mineshafts such as Antelope and Attica Mine were used for dumping many of the bodies of murdered Matabele. Researchers such as Dr. Stuart Doran documented that Robert Mugabe ordered the Gukurahundi killings to remove and suppress political opposition within Matabeleland. This was in order to make possible Mugabe’s plans to impose a one-party state in 1985.
The Fifth Brigade Terror
The members for the 5th Brigade were all ZANU-PF party members drawn from 3,500 ZANLA troops at the Tongogara Assembly point, named after Josiah Tongogara, the ZANLA Commander. Under the command of Colonel Perence Shiri, the North Korean trained 5th Brigade were distinguished by their red berets. All young men in Matabeleland were considered potential dissidents and were summarily detained or executed.
Most were shot in front of family and fellow villagers in public executions, after being forced to dig their own graves. Sometimes groups of all ages, including women and children, were shot, such as at Lupane, on the banks of the Cewale River, when 62 were massacred. We know of this massacre because seven victims survived despite severe gunshot wounds.
Targeting the Matabele
On numerous occasions, large numbers of people were herded into huts and burned alive. This was done in Tsholotsho. The 5th Brigade would routinely round up hundreds of civilians, march them to a central place, such as a school, where they would be forced to sing Shona songs praising ZANU, while they were beaten with sticks and whips. These gatherings usually ended up with public executions. This could be the local chief, or anyone chosen at random.
Breaking the Silence
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe produced a document Breaking the Silence with 2,000 names of known Matabele victims of the Gukurahundi. In February 1983, the International Red Cross produced documentation of 1,200 Matabele murdered in just that month alone. In 2005, the International Association of Genocide Scholars estimated the death toll in Matabeleland as at least 20,000.
Moven Mahachi, Defence Minister in 1992, became the first ZANU official who acknowledged the execution and torture of civilians by the 5th Brigade. In 1997, former Defence Minister, Enos Enkala, described his involvement with Gukurahundi as “eternal hell” and blamed president Mugabe for orchestrating it. Even Robert Mugabe speaking at Joshua Nkomo’s Memorial service, 2 July 2000, admitted that thousands had been killed during the Gukurahundi campaign. “Hate evil, love good; establish justice in the gate…” Amos 5:15
Mugabe will most be remembered for having implemented the disastrous Socialist policies and land invasions, as well as Zimbabwe’s military adventurism in the Congo, which led to the worst hyperinflation ever seen in history. A Hundred Trillion Dollar note could not even buy a quarter of a loaf of bread in 2008 and that was after having dropped sixteen zeroes from the currency! It became difficult to measure Zimbabwe hyperinflation because the government of Zimbabwe stopped filing official inflation statistics. However, by November 2008, inflation was estimated at 79.6 billion %! By 2009, Zimbabwe abandoned its own currency and began using the United States Dollar, South African Rand and Botswanan Pula.
Looting the Whole Country
The destruction of savings, earnings and pensions was absolutely catastrophic, destroying lifetimes of savings and earnings. Yet, while it destroyed the livelihood of most Zimbabweans, it made many of the ZANU-PF elite spectacularly wealthy. “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery…” Isaiah 61:8
From Bread Basket to Basket Case
Mugabe also managed to take a country, which had been a breadbasket of Africa to the basket case of Africa. He turned the paradise of Rhodesia into the hell of Zimbabwe. He took a country, which had flourished even under International sanctions and in the midst of a vicious war against Soviet and Red Chinese backed terrorists, into a failed state and that even with massive International Foreign Aid! Under Mugabe, Zimbabwe collapsed into economic chaos with over 85% unemployment. More than half of the total population voted with their feet by fleeing the country.
Obscene Opulence and Extravagant Excesses
Despite Zimbabwe becoming one of the poorest countries in the world, Robert Mugabe became one of the wealthiest people in the world with a personal net worth of well over US $1 Billion. Mugabe owns the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company, which has allowed Red China to strip the country of its natural assets. In 2001, Wikileaks estimated Robert Mugabe’s net worth as US $1.75 Billion invested as far afield as Switzerland, the Channel Islands and the Bahamas to castles in Scotland. At his 90th birthday celebrations, Mugabe boasted of dining on elephant and lion meat! The obscene extravagance of Mugabe, his wives and sons, is in stark contrast with the destitution of most of the people suffering under his maladministration.
Converted to Communism
Mugabe has described his political ideology as Marxist Leninism. He was educated at Kutama College and University of Fort Hare. Then he worked as a schoolteacher in Rhodesia and Ghana. Mugabe testified that it was the scholarship he received in 1949 to study at the University at Fort Hare in South Africa that led to his involvement in politics. He joined the African National Congress and was introduced to Marxist ideas by Jewish South African communists. He described his time at Fort Hare as the “turning point” in his life. Mugabe was convicted of sedition and imprisoned between 1964 and 1974 during which time he studied further. Released in the 1974 Amnesty, he moved to Mozambique to oversee ZANU’s Revolutionary terrorism campaign.
How Liberators Become Oppressors
Elections in Zimbabwe have been dominated by state violence and blatant electoral fraud. Even when defeated, such as in the 2002, 2008 and 2013 presidential elections, Mugabe stayed in power and continued to brutalise and terrorise the population that he claimed to serve. “How long will the land lie parched and the grass in every field be withered? Because those who live in it are wicked, the animals and birds have perished...” Jeremiah 12:4
How to Destroy Any Economy
As Robert Guest, the African Editor of The Economist, observed in his book, The Shackled Continent: “For half a century now, the continent has been deluged with Foreign Aid, but this aid has failed to make Africa any less poor… it has bankrolled tyrants… or idealists with hopeless economic policies… both types of aid have been wasted… doing business in Africa can be tricky. Bad roads, punctured by road blocks, manned by bribe-hungry policemen, make it slow and costly to move goods, even short distances… local firms, meanwhile, have been held back by arbitrary government regulations, dysfunctional legal systems and the difficulty, without political connections, of raising capital… if Africa was better governed it would be richer… Africans are poor, largely because they are not yet free. They live under predatory, incompetent governments which… impoverish them in many ways: through corruption, through bad economic policies and sometimes, as in Zimbabwe, by creating an atmosphere of terror…” “They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity…” 2 Peter 2:19
The Fall of Mugabe is Not Necessarily the End of the Oppression in Zimbabwe
We cannot anticipate too much change in policy as Mnangagwa was a loyal Mugabe henchman until very recently. He has been complicit in all the crimes of the Mugabe ZANU-PF gangsters over the last 37 years. Those that think only Mugabe has been the problem, do not understand the insidious role of communism. After Vladimir Lenin, there was Stalin, then Khrushchev, then Brezhnev and so on. Mugabe is just one of many Marxist mass-murdering thugs available to ZANU-PF. “Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.” Psalm 71:4
Freedom Requires the Eradication of Communism and Corruption
Although the regime governing Zimbabwe will try to make it appear that freedom has come, to entice investment, which they can overtax and later confiscate, things are bound to continue to deteriorate until the people of Zimbabwe rise up to overthrow the whole communist structure and uproot its destructive ideology which has permeated and poisoned the country. “Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets.” Psalm 55:11
Desperate for Hope and Real Change
However, the masses of people who have turned out in the hundreds-of-thousands to celebrate the downfall of Robert Mugabe are desperate for hope and real change. We need to continue to pray and to work for Biblical Reformation and spiritual Revival. “When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” Proverbs 21:15
Serving the Suffering
Frontline Fellowship has been dedicated to missionary work in Zimbabwe since 1982. For over 35 years, we have been distributing Bibles and Bible teaching materials, conducting Leadership Training Seminars, Evangelism Workshops, ministering in schools, prisons, hospitals, in the streets and market places, seeking to lay solid Biblical foundations for long-term Biblical Reformation.
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments, His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear and are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” Deuteronomy 30:15-19
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
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