Friday, October 07, 2005

Change of guard...literally

Zimonline reports that top Mugabe bodyguard Winston Changara is has been removed from his longtime assignment as Mugabe's shadow amidst unconfirmed allegations of sexual advances on the first lady. Read it here.
"The controversy surrounding the demotion of President Robert Mugabe’s top bodyguard, Winston Changara, deepened with fresh revelations on Thursday that he was relieved of his duties after Mugabe’s wife Grace allegedly complained that the security man had indecently assaulted her.

Sources told ZimOnline that Grace told Mugabe about three weeks before she was due to accompany the President on a trip to China last July that she was not going to board the same plane with Changara allegedly because the policeman had made advances on her and had also indecently assaulted her.

It was not possible to get comment on the matter last night from Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba while the teetotaler Changara declined to talk about the issue referring ZimOnline to his superiors in the police."
This is particularly interesting to yours truly for a couple of reasons. The first being that I have some personal connections to the Changara family. No, we're not related. They're at best family friends. I went to the same school with some of the children in that family. So you could say on that level, I'm concerned about what this development does to their family welfare.

But second, and more importantly, this minor episode raises my eyebrows singularly because it confirms the unspoken suspicions that the Great Uncle's hitherto unfettered powers have dwindled considerably, especially at home. The first lady is, apparently, the catalyst behind Changara's sacking. So Robert Mugabe, the incorrigible, subjugated himself to the demands of someone other than himself, a frist in a really long time.

I'm sure his cronies in the party are green with envy because they wish they had as much sway over their leader.

Beyond the State House fences and gates, Mugabe has built a reputation for being unwavering and indomitable. He views the world from his own unique perspective, and does not accept any other way of seeing things. He projects said parochial perceptions on the nation, continent and world at every opportunity he gets. And has taken to ensuring the party is his exclusive domain of late.

For an old man he has seized a lot of power for himself !

But not within those high walls surrounding his mysterious mansion on Chancellor Avenue. By all appearances, the aged leader has lost control of those nearest and dearest to him at home. First there's George Charamba the presidential spokesman who's been on a crusade to single handedly reform ZBH the national broadcaster, Zimpapers publishers of government mouthpiece newspapers, and The Voice, ZANU-PF's official newsletter.

Then you can't ignore the fact that if the first lady's allegations are true, Mr. Changara had become so comfortable he thought he was on par with his own boss in the bedroom! Even if untrue, the allegations are evidence that the guard had gained too much status at State House. Where there's smoke there's a fire.

And then there's the first lady, whose pillow talking persuasions are clearly proving to more substantive than meager pleas for spending money and unwarranted shopping dispatches to Paris. The woman has some power over her man.

If any of this is true, the picture looks very grim for Mugabe. Speculation has it that ZANU-PF's real powerbase is in the hands of retired army general Solomon Mujuru (a very close confidante) and an elite faction.

Mugabe could well find himself isolated and powerless. Even worse, he might just become an effigy of their grandiose whims.

Could the empire's collapse be starting from deep within its most sacred vaults?

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