Zimbabweans must start considering a post-President Robert Mugabe era as the only ruler they have known since independence is on his way out, former Zanu PF politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa has said.
Dabengwa, who is now the leader of the revived Zapu, made the remarks during a lecture at Sapes Trust titled “The national question, how far towards its resolution?” on Thursday evening in Harare.
He said President Mugabe only managed to extend his political career beyond 2008 because of the magnanimity of his opponents after “losing the elections”.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai garnered more votes than President Mugabe in the first round of the election, but not enough votes to claim the Presidency.
The MDC-T leader was forced to drop out of the June 27 presidential run-off poll because of violence against his supporters blamed mainly on security forces.
The 87-year-old leader went on to win
the polls unchallenged but after his victory was rejected by the international community, President Mugabe was forced into a unity government the following year.
“Theoretically, Zimbabwe is on the brink of resolving the national question,” Dabengwa said.
“Mugabe is on his way out, through electoral defeat or natural causes, whichever comes first.
“Also, the country is working on the drafting of a new constitution, both of which should give us yet another chance to restart our life as a nation.
“The dawn of a post Mugabe era and a new constitution surely are two very important political developments that we must fully utilise to resolve the national question.”
He said it was safe to leave President Mugabe “to God who created all of us and to voters.”
“He is as good as gone as far as I can see, unless of course if we the winners of the next election decide to be magnanimous and accommodate him whichever way we deem necessary,” Dabengwa said.
The former Zipra intellegince supremo dumped President Mugabe in the run up to the 2008 polls and backed former Finance Minister Simba Makoni who came third in the presidential race.
At that time Dabengwa claimed that he together with a number of Zanu PF politburo members had unsuccessfully tried to persuade President Mugabe to make way for young blood.
“The national question that has bothered each one of us is how do we transform Zimbabwe from pseudo democracy to a real democratic nation state,” he said on Thursday.
“We achieved independence in 1980 and have held elections whenever they were due since then, though in recent times our elections have dismally failed to satisfy the most generous definition of a free and fair election.”
He said some Zimbabweans naively believed that replacing that replacing President Mugabe with a younger leader will solve the country’s problems.
“I beg to differ,” Dabengwa said.
“This reminds me of the illusions we had during the war that the moment we overpowered Ian Smith’s regime and put in power a black majority government, our problems would be over.”
He said as history had proven, Zimbabwe’s problems became worse with the dawn of independence.
“It is unbelievable that a good 20 000 people were killed for holding different opinions from those in power,” Dabengwa said.
“Others found themselves running out of the country to be refugees once more, this time running away from a government they risked their lives to put in power.”
Dabengwa was jailed soon after independence accused of treason and remained incarcerated after the courts ruled that his detention was illegal.
That was during the time government deployed the 5th Brigade, which is accused of massacres of civilians in the Midlands and Matabeleland.