Books Non-Fiction Personalities Reviews

No grace: the shameful exit of Robert Mugabe

TITLE: The Graceless Fall of Robert Mugabe

AUTHOR: Geoffrey Nyarota


REVIEWER: Scholastica Moraa

Like most people, I have always wondered what happened to Zimbabwe.  What led to one man holding on to power for so long? I have always wondered if there wasn’t a better person to lead Zimbabwe.  Through Geoffrey Nyarota’s book many of these questions are answered and so much more is revealed.

Non-fictional books tend to be boring but not this one. Nyarota’s flawless style of writing makes sure of that. Books that cover political situations tend to be skewed towards one side but Nyarota goes through this narration objectively with his ideas supported with facts and on occasions where he is not sure, or does not have hard evidence, he lets the reader know that.

‘The Graceless Fall of Mugabe’ follows the journey of one man; Robert Mugabe and how he led to the fall of a once prosperous nation, Africa’s Jewel, as described by the late Julius Nyerere.  Robert Mugabe inherited a really healthy economy, compared to what Tanzania and other countries, like Mozambique, got. He however, diverted funds, meant for development, to personal use.

Mugabe, according the book, used violence to stay in power, as evidenced by the assassinations of his opponents. Joshua Nkomo, Edgar Tekere, Morgan Tsvangirai are just a few of the people he successfully subdued for having divergent opinions. In the Gakuruhundi massacres, thousands of Ndebele civilians, who didn’t support him, died forcing Joshua Nkomo to sign an agreement with Mugabe, to stop the killings.

In operation Murambatsvina, thousands of urban families that didn’t support him were displaced in a bid to weaken Morgan Tsvangirai, leading to mass unemployment. A miscalculated land program to kick out the whites, left huge tracts of land in the hands of corrupt politicians and unskilled farmers, who didn’t have the technological know-how nor the financial means to run the farms, thus leading to a hungry nation depending on UN handouts.

Drastic steps taken by the military under the leadership of General Chiwenga was the reason Zimbabwe was able to wrestle power back from the Mugabes. The jubilation in Zimbabwe was clear evidence of how tired the citizens were and the relief they experienced after Mugabe’s exit. However, the question of whether the new leadership will do better still stands to be answered.

This book captures the situation in many African countries, where presidents and other leaders misuse funds meant for the welfare of their people, advocate for policies that lead to the oppression of their people and generally lead to destitution of African countries.

The land invasions in Zimbabwe brought about painful sanctions, that paralysed the country’s economy and rendered the Zim Dollar useless, to date. Recently, Kenya witnessed something close to what happened in Zim, when paid goons invaded the expansive Northlands Farm belonging to the family of retired president Uhuru Kenyatta. It would appear that some lessons are hard to learn.  

Nyarota’s book offers excellent examples for ‘misgovernance’ and comes highly recommended.

Issues Personalities

Is Tony Mochama Taban’s literary son?

Good people,

I came across this email, written by Prof Chris Wanjala, and posted in the Pen Kenya google group, and I thought it was interesting. Though Prof Wanjala shies away from comparing Mochama with Zimbabwe’s Dambudzo Marechera, I would be more incline to compared Mochama, aka Smitta with Dambuzo. Read on…

Dear Juba, Taban may be in Juba and getting entangled in administrative chores.But he left a genre of writing which ver few younger authors are exploiting.I dont like Tony Smitta Mochoma’s guts very much,but I secretly admire the way he enjoys an irreverence and iconoclasm which are decidedly Tabanic. You and I hated Taban because of his tendency to draw attention to himself in Meditations in Limbo and The Last Word. I see this streak in young and naughty Smitta.Taban is also good at dropping names: of politicians,the women he has courted and slept with, the coffee bars and entertainment places he has patronized, and media personalities he admires.I dont want to talk about Dambudzo Marechera at this juncture. Taban engulfs himself in controversies and self-deprecation.So does Smitta Mochama .Is Tony Smitta Mochama Taban’s literary son?