Zimbabwe: mene mene tekel upharsin

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For those who have been following the political metamorphosis in Zimbabwe or reading our articles about that country, no one needed a political soothsayer to predict the military intervention yesterday in Zimbabwe.

The Nebuchadnezzar – like warning had been written boldly and clearly in the palace of President Mugabe, but no one seemed to listen or understand the warning. Those who saw or understood the prophetic warning simply ignored it. Perhaps, they never believe it. They fully believed in the Mugabe’s invincibility.

How can a man who had done so much for a country refuse to listen to the voices of the wisdom or leave the political theatre when the ovation was high? Must one become so power – drunk that they preferred to dance to the deceitful tunes of hypocrites and sycophants and turn the country and law into their personal family law and property?  How can a country, so blessed with economic prosperity go down the abysmal pit of poverty and disgrace? Can anyone kindly explain why leaders of Zimbabwe, the once the agricultural heartbeat of Africa have reduced the loving and peaceful citizens to the level of economic desperation and hopelessness?  Above all, who dare explain to the rest of the world how highly intelligent Zimbabweans could accept and endure the political, economic and social hemorrhage in Zimbabwe all these years without visible opposition and resistance?

Does the present reality in Zimbabwe bear any resemblance to the biblical Babylon story? Your guess is as good as mine.  Once upon a time, there was a powerful king of Babylon called Nebuchadnezzar, who was so powerful that his words were a law and whoever questioned his authority had broken the sacred law of Babylon. In the midst of confidence,  perceived invincibility, merriments, and happiness, came the prophetic warning:

Mene mene tekel upharsin!!

Get the translation right: Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. Peres (singular form of upharsin): Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

Entered the Zimbabwean Military! Is this Babylonian historic scene repeating itself in Zimbabwe? President Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years. Yes, he did a lot for his country, but at 93 years of age, one would have expected him to have retired and been resting peacefully, admiring his political achievements in the country. No, Mugabe is a true African leader. He had tasted the naked excessive power of the African leaders and he did not want to relinquish that power – even when the country was burning and the citizens suffering terribly. Hunger and poverty are everywhere. Hard working workers were not paid their salaries. There was no food to eat. No money in the bank. The inflation was climbing high astronomically. Yet Mugabe did not listen to the cries of the poor nor the wise voices of wisdom. Rather, his children were on the news every weekend for partying with exclusive and expensive champagne in South Africa. No, Robert Mugabe refused to hand over power to young leaders who could turn the dicey situation of Zimbabwe around. Any opposition or alternative views had become an anathema and personal; the opposition must be fiercely resisted and annihilated by all means. The ruling ZANU-PF party and indeed, the country had become a personal property and the family business of Mugabe. In the face of crushing economic reality in the country, President Mugabe and the family were globe throttling from one country to another. The First Children were partying lavishly in South Africa. Extravagant shopping had become the trademark of the First Lady, Grace Mugabe. Family friends and cronies were fastidiously feeding and milking from the hard sweat of the hardworking poor Zimbabweans. But that did not satisfy the insatiable greed, desire, and ambitions of the Mugabes.

Then came another ambition. The political ambition of the First Lady. Why wouldn’t the Mugabe dynasty continue its political power and relevance? Why wouldn’t Grace Mugabe continue from where her husband stopped. Did he want to stop? Hum! Sometimes our naked ambition can block our sense and sensibilities. Some have argued that given the unexpected chance, raise, privileges, money and of course power Grace, once a common typist in the office of the President, had, they would have rather thanked God for the rare and great opportunity and retired gracefully. But Grace and graceful are two different things. Power can be intoxicating – if one is weak. Yes, those who want to hold on to power forever or those who are afraid to relinquish power are not powerful; they are rather weak. They are easily controlled by the naked urge of power and they simply cannot say no to that urge. It is addictive. You have to have a strong mind to resist that urge and temptations. Of course, the personal interests and wealth of the Mugabes must be protected at all cost. Interestingly, President Mugabe had a good relationship with the military lords who would have protected his family’s interest if he had stepped aside. But he was not ready for that. The seat of the President was his birthright – at least, he must have thought so. And the age of Mugabe? 93 years old? No, don’t worry; the legacy must continue. Grace Mugabe could continue where the President stopped. That would mean uprooting all others senior party members in front of the political queue. That must be done at all cost. Yes, at all cost – irrespective of the level of loyalty and support the President had enjoyed from the victims.

Uprooted was Mujuru. Then came the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa obstacle. To the ambitious Grace Mugabe, Mr. Mnangagwa, the ex-Vice – President and former spy-Chief was a snake, which must be hit on the head. Yes, with the exist of Joice Mujuru, Emmerson Mnangagwa was the only visible stumbling block towards achieving Grace’s naked ambition. Truly, President Mugabe was used to using loyalists and dumping them for his selfish aggrandisement. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa would not be an exception, he thought, at least. Hit him on the head!

Mene mene tekel upharsin!!

Neglect that warning! That advice! You have been doing so in the past. President Mugabe woke up and sacked Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, who had been so loyal to him for more than 40 years. Mnangagwa was accused of having a presidential ambition. Presidential? Don’t go there! That office is seemingly solely reserved for the Mugabes. The president refused to reason wisely and reasonably.

Now that Mnangagwa was hit on the head to satisfy the Mugabes’ ambitions and selfishness, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, the shrewd ex-spy boss who has a very good relationship with the military brass has shown indeed why he is called the “crocodile.” Welcome the military.

Is this the end of the Mugabes political journey, which started 37 years ago? Can you still read the warning once more?

Mene mene tekel upharsin!!