Political Tsunami: An End to Hegemony in Zimbabwe

Clever Chirume, Elizabeth Ruth Teer Tomaselli, Reason Masengu, Eliard Mambambo


ON the 16th of November 2017, Zimbabwe woke up to a story which signalled an end to the leadership of long-time president Robert Gabriel Mugabe. Mugabe had been in power since 1980 when Zimbabwe attained independence. Viewed as enigmatic, Mugabe’s political career is characterised by scheming, duplicity and worse he is considered a sheriff in a club of dictators [1]. In other circles, he is viewed as an icon and perhaps, one of Africa’s best nationalists. By squaring up to the might of the United Kingdom (UK) and United States of America (USA) over the land issue, Mugabe is viewed as courageous. It is the issue of land that saw the landless majority of black Zimbabweans waging war against British settlers. Before land reform, most of the prime land in Zimbabwe had been in the hands of a minority 400 white farmers of European decent. Notably, Mugabe alongside the late Joshua Nkomo among others led the struggle against colonialism. In some quarters, Mugabe’s leadership can be understood better through a Machiavellian lens. Although there are some positives associated with Machiavellianism, in simple terms particularly in the context of this paper, the concept is a byword for “scheming, plotting and debauchery”. Quite notably, Mugabe’s political career is sometimes associated with the shenanigans of Machiavellian politics. The general view is that Mugabe overstayed his welcome in power, having been at the helm of Zimbabwe’s politics for an uninterrupted 37 years. He is one of Africa’s longest serving presidents such as the late Hastings Kamuzu Banda of Malawi. Having been in power for so long, Mugabe must inevitably have trammelled on some people’s toes and hurt the ego of others. From the UK, the Queen came short of withdrawing Mugabe’s knighthood (an honour bestowed by a British king or queen for one’s achievements or service to his country). This paper is a historical choreography of the fall of Mugabe from political power. Undoubtedly in itself a proverbial “political tsunami”, the departure of Mugabe from politics deserves a context, if not a proper one.

A tsunami is a series of tidal or seismic sea waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of water which result in cataclysmic consequences. A recent example is the tsunami that ravaged parts of Asia around 2007. The quest for knowledge about Mugabe’s downfall and the concomitant issues around the event lends traction to the paper. These and other issues are discussed in this paper through the discourse analysis, interviews and informal discussions. Informal discussions can simply be referred to as chats. Notably, chats are a powerful tool for the collection of information despite the clandestine nature through which they operate which appears unethical at face value. The qualitative instruments highlighted above were the analytic tools for the information used to complete this paper.


Mugabe; Tsunami; Zimbabwe; Hegemony.

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