The Grassy Knoll and other stories

18 08 2011

Zimbabwe is fertile ground for conspiracy theorists.

Earlier this week Solomon Majuru, a former commander of the Zimbabwe Army and Robert Mugabe’s commander-in-chief from the war years died in unusual circumstances. He was apparently burnt to death in a house fire at his farm near Beatrice south of Harare. Not unusual you might say. However, his wife is one of the vice-presidents (there are two, just to be sure) and he didn’t have much of a security detail and those who were with him at the time only noticed too late and couldn’t get near the fire because it was so hot. His body was burned “beyond recognition”. It was also common knowledge that he was not in good health. So, where was his nurse?  Why was the security detail, such as it was, not close by? Those on the street wonder if he was even alive when the fire started.

Some years ago, when I had a TV, I was watching the list of heroes scrolling down the screen on Heroes’ Day. This is a public holiday to honour those who fell in the war for independence against the Rhodesian forces. It is not a bad thing to be a National Hero – for your family that is. There are substantial financial benefits to be had in the form of juicy pensions. That aside, it was striking how many heroes had died in car accidents (in those days they listed the causes). It is well known of course just how bad Zimbabwe drivers are – one only has to venture onto the local roads to find that out. Indeed, Morgan Tsvangirai, our Prime Minister in the bizarrely acronymed GNU (Government of National Unity) found out to his cost just how bad the truck drivers can be. In a convoy of several vehicles one managed to hit his car (not the first in the convoy) while travelling in the opposite direction. His wife died in the accident. At the time it was widely believed that it was not an accident but it was never proven thus.

Then some years ago, Moven Mahachi, the then Minister of Defence was killed in a vehicle accident near Nyanga village. Now I saw the result of this accident some 30 minutes after it happened (I had no idea whose vehicle it was and it was a Landrover Discovery not a Range Rover as in Wikipedia) and I don’t think it could have been anything else. But, he died and the other 5 occupants walked away. And  he’d been critical of Those On High in a country not known for tolerating criticism. A one Border Gezi also died in a car accident shortly prior to this incident. A Party significant, he had a back tyre blow out and I know from experience how dangerous that is. I just slowed carefully down but Border Gezi was known for driving fast.

Our president, the Honorable Comrade Robert Mugabe, is old. In the press he is said to be 87 at least, though there are those who claim he is much younger and his advanced age is fudged a little to garner a bit of respect. Not surprisingly there is a power struggle in the ruling ZANU-PF party to find a successor to Robert. One of them was Solomon Mujuru, the other, Emmerson Mnangagwa – another Party heavyweight. In fact I’ve heard it said that NO-ONE got anything done at a high level without Mujuru’s approval – he was that powerful. Maybe a bit too powerful. He’d also been critical of the Highest – not wise in a country intolerant of criticism.

What IS clear is that the political landscape has suddenly changed – radically. Who will step up to fill the vacuum? Meanwhile flags are at half-mast as is befitting a true National Hero of the Liberation War (or second chimurenga as it is known locally). No doubt tears will be shed, both crocodillian and genuine and the guessing game will continue, because if there really were other shots fired from the Grassy Knoll at JFK then just about anything is possible. Isn’t it?



4 responses

18 08 2011
Big Blister

We on the outside are also interested in the situation

19 08 2011

Oui, c’est extraordinaire. On dit que la recherche continue. On se demande s’ils publieront une histoire differente après la recherche.

19 08 2011

L’hiérarchie reconnaît une erreur? Non, je ne pense pas.

19 08 2011

For The Economist take on Mujuru’s death see

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