By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
22 January 2014
President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday revealed some home truths, including how his father caused him pain by abandoning his family, leaving him to take charge of the Mugabes at a tender age.
Speaking at the burial of his sister Bridget who died at the weekend Mugabe said when his father left he was naturally forced to take charge of the family because his elder brothers, Michael and Raphael, had died.
According to a Wednesday NewsDay report, Mugabe said his father abandoned the family following the death of Michael, who died of food poisoning. Mugabe said his father was not happy with his son’s death and suspected that there was ‘something wrong’ at their home and left for Bulawayo in 1934.
Mugabe told mourners that following his father’s departure he wrote a letter to him to express his displeasure. Following his father’s failure to return home Mugabe then decided to trace him to Makokoba in Bulawayo in 1943. Mugabe was to discover that his father had settled in Nyamandlovu as a carpenter and married an Ndebele woman who had borne him two more sons, David and Albert. Mugabe’s father was to die a few years later, after his return to Zvimba with his sons, leaving Mugabe in charge of the entire extended family at the age of 21.
According to the reports Mugabe further revealed the difference between Bridget and the other departed sister Sabina, whom he described as ‘academic’ and ‘practical’ respectively. Mugabe described how self-reliant Sabina was, while Bridget was dependent on her brother as she stayed with him at State House. Mugabe further revealed that Bridget’s situation made him introduce the ministry on psychomotor activities which is led by Josaya Hungwe.
When the portfolio was announced in September last year most people expressed ignorance about the functions of such a ministry. Hungwe was to later explain that his duty would be integrate primary and vocational training so that Zimbabwe produces educated and productive personnel.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition programmes manager, Nixon Nyikadzino, said Mugabe was feeling ‘isolated’ because most of his liberation war friends and family members are dead, hence his public revelations on family life.
Dumisani Muleya, an editor at the Zimbabwe Independent, agreed with Nyikadzino adding that Mugabe was feeling lonely at both family and political level, forcing him to share his home truths including family secrets with the broader public.
Muleya further warned that Mugabe could be feeling ‘vulnerable and insecure’ as well and there was a danger that ‘that vulnerability could manifest itself by way of digging in.’He said: ‘He might be feeling that he is better off just hanging in there until the end; he could be feeling that there is nothing out there for him.’
Both Muleya and Nyikadzino were speaking on SW Radio Africa’s Cutting Edge programme.