OPERATION Restore Legacy was never about former president Robert Mugabe, a senior government official has said.
George Charamba, the permanent secretary’ in the ministry’ of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services told the Daily News recently that the military operation was actually meant to salvage Mugabe’s legacy.
“One misconception that must not be there is a failure to interpret the full import of Operation Restore Legacy. Now, people think that the revolving politics post-Mugabe amount to a repudiation of Mugabe the man, the leader, the veteran, the symbol. Handiko kwatiri kuenda (we are not going that way),” he said.
“The operation was meant to extricate that symbolism in order to restore it so that it could shine large and bright as a beacon for the future. I don’t find anything in-between – the notion of an RG University and the evolving politics post-Mugabe,” added Charamba, who also doubles as President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson.
When the military took-over government on November 14, retired Major General Sibusiso Mayo who had assumed the role of army spokesperson at the time, said they were only targeting “criminals” around Mugabe. So far several allies of Mugabe, including former Finance minister Ignatius Chombo and former Zanu PF youth league chairperson, Kudzanai Chipanga, have been arrested on an on an array of charges.
Several others have skipped the country’s borders into self-imposed exile, among them former Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo and ex-Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist for 37 years, resigned on November 21, hours after Parliament launched proceedings to impeach him. He had refused to leave office during eight days of uncertainty that began with the military intervention.
Mugabe reportedly got a $10 million exit package and guarantees for his immunity in exchange for his resignation. He is still staying in his Borrowdale mansion, popularly known as the Blue Roof – along with his family.
Since Mugabe’s inglorious fall, uncertainty trails his family’s fortunes. For example, there has been little progress on a number of projects that were at varying levels of implementation.
Questions have particularly been raised regarding the construction of a legacy university being built in Mugabe’s honour, amid speculation that the massive project to cost $1 billion was not on the priority list of the new administration.
While Charamba declined to delve into the deal surrounding Mugabe’s retirement, it does appear that notwithstanding his excesses, there is unlikely to be any retribution against him. Mnangagwa will be hard-pressed to complete the legacy university project that he, according to Charamba, conceived long before it was allegedly hijacked by the Generation 40 (G40) faction.
Dropping hints into the last days of Mugabe, Charamba revealed recently that his former boss had become a captive of the G40 faction, now scattered across the world following the military intervention.
“We were no longer talking about a life lived, we were, in fact, talking about how that life was being misappropriated for a future political project, changing from retrospective, to being prospective. I am straightening the record. Cabinet adopted it thereby making it a government project,” said Charamba about the university project.
Moyo wrote on Twitter recently that the project did not originate from Mnangagwa.
“The claim that the RGM University is a Mnangagwa idea is boot-licking idiocy. It was first initiated by the Mugabe family itself led by Amai and assisted by Chombo. First designs were done by Albert Mugabe,” said Moyo.
Moyo is now in self-imposed exile along with other G40 kingpins.