A highlight from Robert Mugabe Part 4: A Game of Thrones
It's November 7th, 2017. A little after midnight. We're on the border of Zimbabwe and Mozambique. A desolate scrubby wasteland, littered with landmines. A 73 year old man is about to attempt an illegal crossing. If he fails, it will almost certainly cost him his life. In one hand he clutches a Louis Vuitton briefcase. It's critical that the content of the bag make it over the border with him. His two grown-up sons are with him, and also a guide. Indispensable given the minefields all around. They follow a narrow dirt path into the bush. Scrambling on his belly to avoid the glare of police searchlights. The man is living up to his old wartime nickname. The crocodile. He can scarcely believe it's come to this, after decades at the heart of government. 48 hours ago, Emerson and Gaga was the vice president of Zimbabwe. Now he's fleeing for his life. But he has a plan. Once the crocodile and his sons make it to safety, a letter will be released. Officially it's addressed to president Mugabe. But the message is clearly intended for the Zimbabwean people. Let us bury our differences and rebuild a new and prosperous Zimbabwe. We'll tell them. A country that is tolerant to divergent views, a country that respects opinions of others. A country that does not isolate itself from the rest of the world because of one stubborn individual who believes he is entitled to rule this country until death. He signs off, I will be communicating with you soon. And shall return to Zimbabwe to lead you. It's a bold claim. Wildly optimistic. But, as it turns out, accurate. Within a few weeks, menen Gaga will be back in Zimbabwe to take up the mantle of president. After almost four decades, Robert Mugabe's reign of terror will finally come to an end. From noise, this is the final part of the Mugabe story. And this is real dictators. Let's rewind three years to December 2014. In Zimbabwe, the crocodile has just been appointed Robert Mugabe's number two. But the circumstances surrounding his promotion would give anyone pause. The last vice president, a popular war veteran called Joyce Maduro, a scene her political career collapsed around her. The architect of her downfall has been none other than the First Lady of Zimbabwe. Grace Mugabe. Ironically the same grace Mugabe helped get Maduro appointed in the first place. Doctor chipot endere. So graceful is very influential in getting the first female vice president. They bring in grace Mugabe to campaign for the team. They groom her and at some point placing their base probably thinking, well, if you're grooming me to work for you, I could be grooming me to it for me. If she can do it, so I could do it myself. Over the past two decades, grace has been known primarily as a profligate consumer. Her legendary shopping sprees, an obsession with luxury brands have earned her the nicknames, the first shopper and Gucci grace. But until now, there was no sign she had political ambitions of her own. I like to think of it as the transition from Gucci grace to comrade grace. This one speech which she says, people say that I'm greedy and I want to be president. But why can't I be? You know, I'm a citizen too. And it's like, oh no, grace. Citizen, but you don't have any liberation credentials. In this people are not going to let you do that. For almost 40 years, Zimbabwe's ruling party, ZANU-PF, has drawn its legitimacy from the liberation war. We kicked out the colonialists, therefore we are the fathers of the nation, so the thinking is gone. But grace has allowed herself with a group of more youthful politicians within the party. An association known as G 40, because they were too young to participate in the struggle. Dr. Seuss onslaught generation 40, this was a particular cohort of younger politicians with their own economic and political vested interests. So she fitted within the rivalries and factions and ongoing struggles within the political wing of ZANU-PF as a movement. A shameless narcissist grace's competitiveness with Joyce Maduro reaches new heights when her rival completes a PhD. Fortunately being a dictator's wife carries certain privileges. Professor Stephen chern who enjoys Majuro became doctor Maduro. Grace instantly had to become doctor Mugabe and the university was basically bludgeoned into insisting that this was a real PhD. I read it. And I recognized immediately which academic and high clearly this is not her work, but she was so consumed by jealousy that her rival was now entitled to be called doctor. It just gave you a sense of what kind of president she would have made. They glorious about even more said that her husband. Douglas Rogers has closely examined Mugabe's final days in power. He is the author of two weeks in November. The astonishing untold story of the operation, the toppled Mugabe. Rogers traces the dictator's ultimate downfall back to his wife's political meddling three years earlier. It was a sort of curtain raise that to what would happen in 2017 because grace Mugabe had this no holds barred attack on Joyce Maduro and basically destroyed her through media through propaganda campaign, through threats, and it was horrifying to people like Mnangagwa or the war veterans because Joyce madhuri herself was a war veteran. Her claim to fame as a guerrilla fighter was that she had shot down a Rhodesian helicopter. Later on, that was called into question by allies of grace Mugabe. Former allies and comrades were now turning on each other and denouncing their own service and the liberation war and saying, oh, no, that person made that up, and that's not true. And it was brutal and very Shakespearean in that these were friends turning on each other for things they had done 40 years earlier. So now you've got chasing jewelry she gets ousted, I think she wasn't well liked within the design of PF male power dominance. Her husband is killed in a very painful death in a fire. He had been a top amateur, but also his wife was ambitious. So he gets eliminated. I think they are just a number of these eliminations, a number of top party people being kicked out. Then grace and Gabe is rising.