Thousands of Zimbabweans filled the streets of Harare to push former president Robert Mugabe out of power when the military launched what it dubbed “Operation Restore Legacy” in November last year
Excited Zimbabweans celebrated Mugabe’s eventual exit expectant of miraculous economic revival after enduring debilitating cash and goods shortages and joblessness among countless other economic and political maladies.
But now, a few weeks after the end of Operation Restore Legacy, it has become clear who the major beneficiaries of Mugabe’s fall are.
Former commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Retired General Constantino Chiwenga who led the operation is now Vice-President.
“Gen Chiwenga, you are our liberator,” screamed one of the many posters pampering the general who had taken the bull by its horns, holding Mugabe hostage and pushing him to resign, a thing that had been beyond everyone’s imagination — not only in Zimbabwe, but world over.
Mugabe indeed had come to appear an immortal human who according to his wife, former first lady Grace would continue to rule the country even from the grave.
The demise of the strongman’s stretching political life was met with wild euphoria, and the joy could be understood, for people who had for decades been in political and economic prison.
So, off goes Mugabe and in comes Mnangagwa, the Crocodile, carrying on his shoulders the massive burden of fulfilling the wide expectations of the masses.
Then Major General Sibusiso Moyo, who announced Operation Restore Legacy, clearly spelling out the mission of the military — to restore the Zanu PF legacy. He is now a cabinet minister, in charge of the all-important Foreign Affairs.
Upon Mugabe’s departure, people had high hopes for a transitional arrangement that would fix the country’s economy and the people’s first frustration was heralded by the introduction of Mnangagwa’s new cabinet that was dominated by Mugabe’s former ministers, a few technocracies and the military.
“President Mnangagwa’s Cabinet is very disappointing. Largely the same people that caused this crisis have been recycled. The honey moon comes to an end and reality dawns. His concern seems to be rewarding those who brought him to power and Zanu PF unity,” Chamisa tweeted at the time.
In his Cabinet, he appointed General Moyo as the new Foreign Affairs minister, Air Marshal Perrance Shiri as Agriculture minister before eventually appointing Chiwenga as Vice-President. He also rewarded war veterans who played a key role by defying Mugabe and standing resolutely in his support.
Political analyst Alexander Rusero said from a strategic studies point of view, success or failure of military operations would be credited to the master architects as well as implementers of the plan and not necessarily anyone outside it.
– The Standard