It was a bumpy ride. Fights galore. Weevils and gamatox. Assassination plots. But 90-year-old Robert Mugabe has survived it all and is riding high again. And it looks he will have the last laugh.
For more than a decade, the Zimbabwean president has survived the Western onslaught that started with the imposition of sanctions on him and his lieutenants by the European Union and then the United States.
The United States went a step further by starting a surrogate radio station, Studio 7, to take over from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
United States ambassador to Zimbabwe at the time, Joseph Sullivan, even wrote to Washington about The Day after Mugabe in which he envisaged US companies like Boeing, Caterpillar and General Electric getting lucrative business deals to supply Air Zimbabwe with planes, revive Hwange Colliery and resuscitate the National Railways of Zimbabwe.
But one by one Mugabe’s enemies fell by the wayside. United States President George Bush, mastermind of the sanctions, came and went, so did Mugabe’s archenemy Tony Blair of Britain and Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
But Mugabe hangs on, not only to the chagrin of his Western enemies, but also that of his lieutenants who are quietly praying that God takes him.
I have watched everything in awe because way back in 2003 as the Movement for Democratic Change was organising its final push, a prophet from the Zion Christian Church, one of the oldest indigenous but unheralded churches in Zimbabwe, told church followers to leave politics alone because Mugabe was going to outlast his enemies.
Party politics was slowly creeping into the local church leadership, especially in Harare, with some supporting ZANU-PF and others the MDC confusing the people they led.
I was baffled when I heard the news because Zimbabweans were suffering. I could not believe that God would allow this suffering to continue.
Though I was a member of the church, I had my doubts about the prophecy but I wrote about it in September 2003, because deep down I also knew that there had never been any false prophecy in the church.
The verse: “God is not a man that he should lie” kept ringing in my mind. What was creating doubt was my journalistic instincts. I needed proof, something to back up the prophecy. I wrote the story because I wanted proof if the prophecy turned out to be true because there were too many false prophets coming onto the scene.
For six years, this knowledge pitted my religious beliefs against my journalistic principles. My biggest nightmare was in March 2008 when news spread that Mugabe had been beaten by Morgan Tsvangirai. But I held on to my belief and watched in awe as the tables slowly turned around.
I finally wrote the first story in January 2009, soon after Bush, the last from the big three, had left.
After that, I never looked back. I was totally convinced that the prophecy would be fulfilled and had no doubts at all that Mugabe would triumph in the 2013 elections.
I even ventured to predict that the outcome would probably resemble the 2005 elections and immediately after the elections I wrote a long-form story available from Amazon as an ebook: God, Mugabe and The West.
It details the prophecy, what transpired, and how Mugabe survived the final push, the 2004 congress, the 2007 extra-ordinary congress, and the 2008 elections after he had been beaten by Tsvangirai.
Though the ebook dwells on Mugabe’s survival, the story is essentially about the Zion Christian Church led by Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi.
*Zimbabweans can buy the book with their mastercards and can read it either on their computers, laptops or smartphones.