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Tshinga Dube tells Mugabe to 'zip it'

Former Cabinet minister Tshinga Dube has told deposed former president Robert Mugabe to just zip it as Zimbabweans have moved on since his inglorious fall from power last year.

Mugabe, now 94, resigned from office on November 21 moments before a parliamentary impeachment process.

This happened after he had refused to leave office during eight tense days that began with the military intervening in the governance of the country.

Dube - who  lost his job together with three other ministers in October last year when Mugabe demoted and fired those he perceived to be then vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa's allies - told Southern News this week that the 94-year-old's surprise re-emergence in politics is a waste of time.

"You know, once you have tested power, as George Bernard Shaw says, power intoxicates, absolute power intoxicates absolutely! So Mugabe is really intoxicated, absolutely intoxicated by the power that he had.

"He is trying to find relevance which he has lost completely. He does not accept that it's over and gone.

"We are moving forward as you can see we are moving into a new era. We have been stagnant for more than 30 years. We want to build the country and you can see things are beginning to move. So, what he is saying we don't worry about," Dube told the Southern News.

The amiable former freedom fighter, who is regarded by many people as one of the few decent local politicians, spoke in the wake of Mugabe's recent political activities which have drawn sharp criticism from both Zanu-PF and ordinary citizens.

Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist during his uninterrupted 37-year tenure, has stunned both the authorities and ordinary Zimbabweans alike in recent weeks by re-entering the political arena and holding several meetings with opposition leaders and some former Zanu-PF bigwigs — including openly lending his support to the newly-formed National Patriotic Front (NPF) that is led by Rtd Brigadier General Ambrose Mutinhiri, who quit the ruling party recently.

The NPF has since revealed that Mugabe had endorsed the party after he met Mutinhiri at his "Blue Roof" mansion in Harare.

Apart from hosting former Cabinet ministers, Mugabe has also held meetings with former vice president Joice Mujuru, whom he sacked in 2014 over untested allegations that she and a host of other senior Zanu-PF figures wanted to topple him from power.

Last week, he held a press conference in which he questioned President Emmerson Mnangagwa's legitimacy.

While most senior Zanu-PF officials, including war veterans and the youths, have had no kind words for the former president, Dube says Mugabe was too old that no one should worry about him.

"We don't want to waste time on him. When a very old man talks we don't worry, you forgive him that's why we say an old man has a right to say anything and we just say this is an elderly person. We don't even have to answer. We don't take him seriously," Dube said sarcastically.

Turning to Mugabe's claims last week that Zapu and Zipra were also to blame for the Gukurahundi atrocities where an estimated 20 000 innocent civilians died at the hands of the North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade, Dube appeared to suggest the 94-year-old was at times not in full control of his faculties.

"I don't think Mugabe is correct. Zapu and Zipra couldn't have been part of killing its own people, innocent people for that matter. So, Mugabe is just too old that he just says some of those things. A reasonable person wouldn't say that," Dube said.

Dube, a liberation war icon who fought on the Zapu side during the struggle for Zimbabwe's independence, set the cat among the pigeons in June last year when he publicly backed calls for Mugabe to name a successor.

Dube was subsequently forced to convene a hastily-arranged news conference where he told journalists that Mugabe had "schooled" him on the process of choosing his successor.

"He came to me after Cabinet. His Excellency talked to me. He just reminded me that, look, I am only mandated by the Constitution to choose my deputies.

"He said the issue of choosing a successor lies with the congress. He has given me the directive and, as my commander-in-chief, I listened. He came in a fatherly manner, as a leader and as a teacher," said then Dube in his damage-control exercise.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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