Retired Brigadier General Ambrose Mutinhiri

By Tafara Shumba

 Whenever a leopard wants to eat its own kid, it first accuses it of smelling like a goat.  Former Minister of State for Mashonaland East Provincial affairs, Retired Brigadier General, Ambrose Mutinhiri has lived up to this adage.

Mutinhiri resigned from both Zanu PF and the National Assembly where he was Marondera East legislator on a Zanu PF ticket. He cited the way that former President Robert Mugabe and the G40 cabal were ousted from power in November last year. According to Mutinhiri, Cde Mugabe was dethroned through a coup d’état. Thus, in other words, his resignation was in solidarity with Cde Mugabe to whom he is eternally grateful for fishing him out of the political doldrums. Mutinhiri plunged into the political quagmire following a severing of relations with his erstwhile party, Zapu.

During the accreditation process for Zanu PF Extra-Ordinary Congress in December last year, yours truly met Mutinhiri at the party’s headquarters in a jovial mood. A conversation with him showed that he was more than happy that Cde Mugabe had finally exited the State House. His glimmering face could betray his approval of what he is now calling ‘coup.’ Such two-facedness is not an attribute for presidential hopefuls.  It’s unfortunate that Mutinhiri was probably in Marondera on the historic 18 November 2017 when Zimbabweans unanimously made a clear statement that it was time for Cde Mugabe to step down.

SADC, AU and other international bodies endorsed the new administration. Even the country’s former nemeses have expressed interest to re-engage Zimbabwe in its bid for economic regeneration. Who is Mutinhiri then to denounce what everybody else endorsed? He has, all of a sudden, started to see an underhand in the ascendance of President Emmerson Mnangagwa to power.

Without taking away his immense contributions during the liberation struggle for Zimbabwe and those that he made in the early post-independence era, Cde Mugabe had overstayed in power. His stay was no longer adding any value to this country. The economy was deteriorating by every passing day and the captive leader was fast destroying the revolutionary party. The G40 cabal which was fronted by his wife, Grace Mugabe, stole the man’s legacy. Even those who pretended to love him, secretly wished he could step down for the amelioration of people’s lives. Mutinhiri should have watched Dr Sydney Sekeramayi getting down in jubilation upon news that Cde Mugabe had finally resigned.

Mutinhiri should have read the political temperature before accepting that punch bag-role. It shocks everybody that there are still some people dreaming of Cde Mugabe’s second coming. Only criminals, who have been taking advantage of the former leader’s senility to commit crimes with impunity, can be nostalgic of the former First Family. Mutinhiri believes, wrongly so, that Cde Mugabe is still as popular as he used to be. He, therefore, feels greatly honoured to hobnob with him. Mutinhiri must yield the ghost he has for Cde Mugabe.

Reality must cross Mutinhiri’s mind that Cde Mugabe is no longer the head of state and will never be one again. He is now a former, a position that he will hold till his death. If Cde Mugabe was wise enough, he would thrive to preserve the remnant legacy that the new administration is trying hard to maintain. He is one of the luckiest former heads of state in the world, considering the way his captive administration messed up the country and persecuted innocent cadres. He must enjoy his pension in his twilight years. Probably history would judge him fairly one day. He fought a good fight but eventually allowed his legacy to be soiled by carpetbaggers. He must leave politics, lest he gets a treatment befitting an opposition politician bent on spoiling the Zanu PF vote.

As for the poor Mutinhiri, it appears the spirit of selling-out runs in the Mutinhiri family. His estranged wife, Tracy Mutinhiri is one of the first Zanu PF members to cross the floor to the MDC-T. She finally defected after years of clandestinely working at cross purpose with Zanu PF legislators in Parliament. At one time, she frustrated Zanu PF’s numerical advantage in Parliament by voting alongside the opposition for the election of former Speaker, Lovemore Moyo. That’s the Mutinhiris for you. Ambrose will not surprise anyone.

What, however, surprises is his paucity for political judgement. The former soldier allowed himself to be used as a political pawn in advancing the interests of certain political has-beens. He should be schooled on what it means to be an interim leader. Those who are driving the project have already made it clear to him that he is just holding forte for them. With the level of his political immaturity, Mutinhiri is likely to be nowhere near the corridors of power in that party. It was not worth it for Mutinhiri to give up his Marondera East seat for some spurious position in the so-called New Patriotic Front.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.