Father Fidelis Mukonori speaks on former President Mugabe’s life one year after leaving office


LAST November was possibly the busiest and most breathtaking moment for Father Fidelis Mukonori, a Roman Catholic cleric whose ties with former President Robert Mugabe are well documented.

To see the man he had been close to all his life cornered and being made to negotiate a power transition that elbowed his long-time ally could have been one of the most daunting tasks for the man of the cloth.

Former President Mugabe with Father Mukonori

His love for Mugabe was not a secret and so is his love for peace, and Mukonori was surely between a rock and a hard place.

Supporting Mugabe was imperative, but the former leader was cornered and there was need to balance his love for him and the love for a peaceful Zimbabwe.

But a year after the coup that toppled Mugabe, Mukonori said the former President is fine and moving on with his life.

A year on, Mugabe seems to have accepted his fate and things seem to have changed from the time he addressed a Press conference supporting opposing leader Nelson Chamisa, but softened up after the government went all out of the way to assist him and his wife at the funeral of his mother-in-law in September.

He has slowly accepted the new dispensation after he had constantly attacked his predecessor President Emmerson Mnangagwa over the manner in which he got into power.

And Mukonori said he has no regrets over his role and wishes Zimbabwe to move forward.

“I did what I had to do and let Zimbabwe move forward,” Mukonori said in an interview.

“I am sure things will be okay in future.”

On Mugabe he said it’s been a while since he met him, but they always talk over the phone and he sounds okay.

“I am sure he is at home.

“I haven’t met him for some time, but I have been in touch with him by phone and I talked to him a few weeks ago after the death of his mother-in-law and he sounded fine.

“Thereafter I think he travelled so I haven’t been in touch with him since then.”

Mukonori said he was not sure if Mugabe still misses power, the high life where he was always at the centre of discussions both locally and internationally.

Since his removal from power last year, many people have said there is nothing really tangible that the new administration has achieved in terms of making life easier for the majority.

Mugabe, now nearing 95 years couldn’t imagine life away from power. During his days as a feared leader, Mugabe created a strong system that pounced on anyone who dared challenge his continued grip to power, particularly within the ruling Zanu PF.

Mugabe has been full of surprises.

Almost a year ago, as the former strong man’s rule fell like a deck on the cards, millions of Zimbabweans and many others across the world waited for his anticipated resignation but alas, he delivered a speech which he coined by the Swahili saying “Asante Sana” where he stubbornly tried to paint a picture that he was firmly in charge.

However, as fate has it, Mugabe’s rule finally came to an end and one year later, his negotiator thinks he is just doing fine.

— NewsDay

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