“… Mugabe knew how to capture people’s feelings when talking to them “
By Mandla Tshuma and Senzeni Ncube
Bulawayo residents today expressed different feelings on the passing on of former president Robert Mugabe at the age of 95 at a Singapore hospital.
Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years after independence from Britain in 1980 and was dethroned in a coup in November 2017 and succeeded by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
CITE, took to the streets of the country’s second largest city and spoke to a number of people who expressed their feelings on the senior citizen’s death.
Mbuso Fuzwayo of Ibhetshu Likazulu described the former president as someone who knew how to capture people’s feelings when talking to them.
“He was able to appeal to their (emotions) and was someone who made promises he knew he will fulfil them, he promised to beat Ndebele people and for sure he did kill a number of them,” he said.
“The only positive thing about him was his eloquence otherwise there is no other thing that we can say Mugabe did besides that. It’s sad that he has passed on without facing trial especially on the genocide that he committed with his comrades.”
Fuzwayo said victims and survivors of Gukurahundi expected Mugabe to go and answer certain questions that are still in people’s minds.
‘People expected him to clarify especially why he committed the genocide. What was the intention and did they achieve what they had wanted to achieve? Why were the innocent people from Matabeleland killed? I think his passing on without facing the justice system is very unfortunate. It leaves a lot of unanswered questions, I think the victims who were expecting justice it’s a sad chapter for them.”
Fuzwayo said Mugabe leaves behind a legacy of ethnic division and marginalisation of Matabeleland, the destruction of the once thriving economy and a culture of intolerance.
“Robert Mugabe was our president and our leader but he didn’t do anything for us. Of cause talking about death is never good news but the way Robert Mugabe treated us was not fair,” said Isaac Masina.
“He didn’t do much for me because he left us with so much problems.”
But for other residents, it is a different story altogether.
A resident, who identified himself as Tinashe said despite ruining the economy, the former president played an important role in the liberation of Zimbabwe from colonial rule.
“Robert Mugabe is the first hero who emancipated us from the white colonial rule,” he said.
“We are (however) saddened by the journey he took leading to the event of the economic crisis. Our biggest problem that is affecting us is the economy; we do not have jobs.”
He said owing to Mugabe’s failure to fix the economy, Zimbabweans are today victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
“As a hero he played his own part but as citizens of Zimbabwe it is very hard to see a good side of a person when you have problems. He started as a good leader but where we are now, it’s real sad, our education system; hospitals are all in a dilapidated state,” he said.
An unidentified resident said the economy was much better during Mugabe’s last days than it is today, adding some Zimbabweans miss him for that.
“We miss our president, with his intelligent brains, we feel that the economic situation was better (when he was removed from office),” he said.
“Right now, we are wearing torn trousers because of the current president. We could buy bread at 90 cents during his rule. Although the police were harassing us, Mugabe treated us better.
“People were manipulated to join a coup which forced him to resign, but for some of us his ouster never made us happy. We are now suffering because he is no longer there.”
He said Mugabe used to assure Zimbabweans that the economy would grow better unlike his successor, whom he said has no clue of where Zimbabwe is headed.
“Mugabe was a real hero; he did a lot of good works that we are failing to see as people,” said Thulani Ndlovu, who in his 90s, is Mugabe’s age mate.
“He (Mugabe) built schools and a lot of other works that I do not recall but what I remember the most are schools.”