Former President Robert Mugabe has castigated his predecessor Emerson Mnangagwa for sending soldiers to brutalise protesting civilians.
Mugabe was speaking at his Blue Roof mansion in Borrowdale where hundreds of invited guests were celebrating his 95th birthday. He said,
“Vamwe vanofunga hukuru hunoreva kuponda vanhu, handizvo!” (Some believe being a leader entails murdering people, that’s not it.)
“Vana vaNkomo, vaMuzenda, nevanwe vakaenda handizvo zvatakasikira masoja. Masoja haatungamirire politics.” (Mr Nkomo, Mr Muzenda and I did not create the army to kill people. The army does not lead politics)
“Ko zvino tinonzwa kunemakuva nemakuva evanhu akafa vachiurawa nemasoja, vachafushunhurwa nani?” (Now we hear there are countless graves of people killed by the army, who is going to unearth or exhume those bodies?)
“Zvamurikuita [zvekuuraya vanhu] izvi zvichakudzokerai, mangwana, mangwana, chaiwo”. (What you are doing [killing people] is going to catch up with you very very soon. Just tommorrow, it would have caught up with you)
“Anoda kuona mutumbi wevanhu every day, achazoona kuti vanhu vachazoda kuona mutumbi wake iye.Ndinoti kumasoja stop killing people! “(He who is obsessed with seeing corpses every day will soon realize that people would clamour to see his corpse one day. I say to soldiers stop killing people!)
“I say to soldiers be followers of the people u want to lead, you are not even qualified to lead them. Take your places in recognition that you are not trained to lead but to follow the people, to protect them”
“Iwe uri pamusoro uri kuda kuzvirumbidza? (you who is on top, you brag?) You are not God ED (Mnangagwa). Today you are at the top, tomorrow u will be at the bottom. Zvizive izvozvo (know that). God has his own way of punishing rogues and cruel people.”
“You can’t do without seeing dead bodies? Uri munhu akaita sei anopona nendufu?” (What kind of a person are you? You feed on death? )
“No! no! no! to soldiers being leaders of the people? Get the soldiers to their rightful place.”
“Hatimbotaura zvekunyara, zvekutya kwete.(We will not shy away or be afraid to talk, no!) Let’s be frank with each other.”
“Hatingati vanhu varambe vachingorohwa musoro. (We can’t continue with people being bashed on the head.) So I say to you, get your lessons correct. Let’s create an environ where our people are happy, not what’s happening now.”
“Vanhu ngavade masoja, not vamatye” (People shld love their army, they shld not fear the army.)
“This is not the environment we wanted to create navaMsika nanavaNkomo.Tinoda kuti vanhu vafare.” (This is not the environ we wanted to create with Mr Msika and Mr Nkomo [late VPs], we wanted people to be happy “.
“Tinoda kuti vanhu vaone nyika senyika yavakarwira kwete yakarwirwa nevamwe vasiri ivo. Kwete yakarwirwa nemasoja chete.” We want people to see the country as the one they fought for, not one that was fought for by soldiers alone)
“Ndiri kukuudzai (I am telling you) straight forward. I don’t care what will happen to me”
“Ndoda kutenda kunyange vandirikutuka ivava, tinovatenda nokuuya kuzoterera” (I want to thank even those I am chiding, we thank them for coming to listen).
“We are one pple in Zimbabwe. Tinosungirwa kubatwa nevatungamiri sevanhu vaMwari kwete sezvikara zvemusango. (Leaders are bound to treat us like God’s pple, not beasts of the forest)
“When we started our struggle we had principles and those principles have been abandoned.”
There seems to be no love lost between the two former comrades although it is ironic that Mugabe is now preaching against the use of violence.
During his 37 years in power, particularly during the last 17 years, Mugabe was accused of using state security agents to unleash violence against opposition politicians and supporters, particularly during elections.
Mugabe even pulled the country out of the Commonwealth of Nations after Zimbabwe was censured for violence and human rights abuses which took place after Zimbabweans rejected the Constitutional referendum of 2000.