Former Zambian Police and Prisons Commissioner Mr Richard Shamillimo Chella has said President Mnangagwa should ignore a sideshow by former President Mugabe on Thursday when he described the November transition as a “coup”, saying his sentiments were based on jealous. In a wide ranging interview with The Herald here yesterday, Mr Chella said Mr Mugabe should be grateful that President Mnangagwa was not being retributive and was taking care of his welfare.
Mr Chella is a long time friend of President Mnangagwa and they went to the same school in Mumbwa, which is about 200 kilometres outside Lusaka. He said Zimbabwe had reached a stage where it needed development more than political bickering.
On Thursday, Mr Mugabe addressed a Press conference where he claimed that President Mnangagwa took over power illegally.
Commenting on Mr Mugabe’s remarks, Mr Chella said: “Those sentiments from his predecessor are very unfortunate.
“He (Mr Mugabe) should be very fortunate to have such a leader who is very forgiving. Just imagine if it was not President Mnangagwa who had taken over, what was going to happen to him and looking at his age?
“The best thing is that let all Zimbabweans ignore him. I would rather say some form of jealous has crept into the former President. Definitely at his age he must appreciate that he has done enough. He has played his role. We have worked with him for a very long time.
“In fact, he should emulate our (former) President here Cde (Kenneth) Kaunda. He silently advises our leaders and that is the role Mugabe should take.
“We should be saying we are fortunate that he is still alive, he could be a bank of knowledge. Now at his age to try and destroy Zimbabwe, then what did he fight for?
“It is a very sad situation. I appeal to President Mnangagwa to ignore him.
“But for those who want to mislead Mugabe, he (President Mnangagwa) should hunt them because they are the wrong people for Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe needs to develop now.
“Zimbabwe needs unity now. You may wish to know that here in Zambia Dr Kaunda promoted the spirit of One Zambia One nation and that is what Mugabe should do. You must bear in mind that Zimbabwe is bigger than any individual or any political party.”
Mr Chella hailed Zimbabwe’s peaceful transition, saying Zimbabweans should give President Mnangagwa a chance. “One thing that all African countries should learn from Zimbabwe is the transition period and that is why I said President Mnangagwa is a forgiving person,” he said.
“He never likes revenge. If it were some other African countries, we do not know what could have happened in Zimbabwe.
“I beg Zimbabweans to give President Mnangagwa a chance so that Zimbabwe comes back as breadbasket and I remember that is where most of our food used to come from.”
Under the stewardship of President Mnangagwa, Mr Chella said, Zimbabwe was destined for greater economic rebound. He said even during their school days, President Mnangagwa was a brave and hard-working person. “Remember, at one point he was a member of UNIP here in Zambia,” he said.
“He worked hard for UNIP despite that he was not a Zambian, but his motto was that we should achieve the liberation of our country. He also intimated to us during those days that after school he will go to the bush to liberate his country.
“One other thing that I should mention is that Emmerson was not power hungry and he was always loyal to our leaders.”