Zimbabwe’s curse of career “chefs”.

by Taona Moto

THIS week Zimbabweans woke up to the news of the death of former Mines minister and suspended ZANU-PF Harare provincial chairman, Amos Midzi.

The body of former Energy minister and Epworth MP lies in his car where he was found at his farm in Beatrice.
The body of former Energy minister and Epworth MP Amos Midzi lies in his car where he was found at his farm in Beatrice.

Officially, the cause of death is suspected suicide, but speculation was rile as Zimbabweans who have grown not to trust their government, were adamant that Midzi’s death was a result of the nasty factional fights that are raging within the ruling ZANU-PF party. Sadly ZANU-PF cannot defend itself against these bloody allegations because it has no credentials to credibly do so given its impressive track record in staged accidents, “assisted suicides” and disappearance of opponents.

One thing Zimbabweans generally agree on is that ZANU-PF has a long memory… it does not forget its friends, it remembers its enemies unkindly, and it never fails to deliver what was due to a friend and to a foe alike. But sadly, the demarcation between the two is dangerously vague… and sometimes shifting.

“I have put a lot of effort into cleansing this party, ZANU (-PF), of its image as a “killer” party. Now it is clear that my efforts were wasted, and it is disgusting that instead of polishing and maintaining our security instruments of State, as guardians of our Statehood and people, there are efforts to use them as killer instruments among the leadership!” This was the late Edgar Tekere addressing Parliament in the mid 1980s, shortly after surviving an assassination attempt (poisoning) by his colleagues who were getting increasingly uncomfortable with the oddball politician’s brutal truths. Then Tekere had been dismissed from government and was increasingly living a carefree life as a semi-detached member of the party.

That Midzi is dead is now a fact, but what will continue to echo for years in the footnotes of history books is how he really departed for his Heavenly reward, that is if he is entitled to any.

There are those that swear that Midzi was liquidated to stop him from exposing those that looted the Chiadzwa (Marange) diamond fields dry during his tenure as minister of Mines and Mining Development, which tenure ended in 2009. Midzi was a known ally of former Vice President Joice Mujuru, and had been dismissed from his position as the ZANU-PF Harare chairman before he was slapped with a 5-year suspension exactly for that reason. The Mujuru family is generally understood to be one of those that benefited most from the looting in Chiadzwa, and what this means is that if Midzi was indeed toying with the dangerous idea of releasing a dossier of the Who’s Who of the looters, then for the dossier to be credible, it would have to have Mujuru—his god-mother—in at least the top three.

Midzi would certainly have been alive to the dangers inherent in such mischief… moreso with the mysterious sudden death of Tinos Rusere, his deputy during his tenure at the Mines ministry, a God-fearing man who had offered to resign in protest when his conscience could not allow him to put up with the wanton looting. Midzi’s predecessor Edward Chindori-Chininga, who had headed a Parliamentary committee that investigated the looting, also perished in a mysterious road traffic accident in 2013.

This then effectively discounts the theory that Midzi was killed so that the truth about Chiadzwa lootings remains unknown. If he as killed at all, he was killed for other reasons.

There is also another school of thought that Midzi killed himself as he was aware that his arrest for crimes related to fleecing home seekers was imminent.

My own theory is that it is very much possible that the man—who was so passionate about his politics, his party and his country—died by his own hand—after realising that all the three things that he lived for had suddenly conspired with the devil to forsake him.

This is the tragedy that Zimbabwe suffers from… a sclerotic breed of “born-leaders”… people who have this bizarre sense of entitlement… people who think it is their natural right to be in leadership positions.

When these men and women say they died for the country and are ready to die for it again, they mean exactly that (both literally and figuratively) because their mindset is irretrievably locked in that position.

The same way whites in Rhodesia were convinced that they are a natural right to lord over blacks… there are people in Zimbabwe who think exactly in the same fashion.

Robert Mugabe does not believe that it is possible to be alive and be something else other than being the President of Zimbabwe. To him this is the natural order of things. Either he is President or he is dead nothing more, nothing short.

Even Joice Mujuru—despite having served in various public offices for the past 34 years, ten of which as Vice President—still thinks she has something to offer. The same is the case with Didymus Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo and all other people who have grown to believe their roles are only to lead, and nothing else.

In 2005, Enos Chikowore was also reported to have committed suicide in anger, shortly after President Mugabe announced a new Cabinet that did not include him. That is in indeed Chikowore committed suicide… you never know!

Morris Nyagumbo also reportedly committed suicide after being sacked from government over his role in the Willowgate scandal and later being humiliated by crowds that he had thought adored him… you also never know, he might have committed “assisted suicide” like many others.

These “born-leaders”—people who in their lives never ever imagine ever being mere nobodies become suicidally miserable if their situation changes suddenly. When he is suddenly “out there” where most of us are so comfortable, to them it is like a fish out of water… everything is new and the painful process of unknowing that life of power and comfort that one is so used to sometimes become so unbearable that they think they have no option but to convince themselves that death is the only escape route.

All of a sudden no one calls you chef any more. If anything, they are hauling insults on you. Your businesses suddenly become difficult to run… no one can extend unsecured loans to you. And those that you did not pay back 20 years ago send you letters of demand. Those that you were forcing to buy things that they do not need or at usurious prices, suddenly refuse to pay you… they suddenly threaten to expose you for the extorter that you are. Almost everyone has something against you. Then you hear that police could be closing in on you…!

Small wonder his own relatives revealed that since the day he was booted out of ZANU-PF, Midzi had heavily depended on drugs for sleep. This is “normal” for normal people whose lives have changed so fast.

It was the feeling of rejection, the feeling of unrequited love, the feeling of being redundant at such a “tender” age of 62, the feeling of being forsaken by the very people that he sincerely believed God sent him to serve, the feeling of hopeless hopelessness that drove Midzi to take his own life.

Wrote Richard Flanagan in his book The Unknown Terrorist:

“Jesus, who wanted love to such an extent, was clearly a madman, and had no choice when confronted with the failure of love but set to seek his own death. In his understanding that love was not enough, in his acceptance of the necessity of the sacrifice of his own life to enable the failure of those around him, Jesus was history’s first, but not last, example of a suicide bomber.” Amos Midzi is certainly not the last to die for the country.

Most of those career chefs who were caught up in the Umfecane that is raging in ZANU-PF are in desperate need of a thorough psychiatric counselling regimen, otherwise more suicides and cases of mental breakdown are coming.