By Nkosana Dlamini
The year 2021 opened with the shock death of Retired Army Major General Sibusiso Moyo, once celebrated for announcing the 2017 ‘firing’ of Robert Mugabe as President, and almost ended with the death of Simon Khaya, another prominent Moyo, also famed for announcing the firing of Emmerson Mnangagwa as VP, coincidentally in 2017.
But put that aside for now.
VP Mohadi’s shock sex romps in a government office, by far, made the biggest political story in 2021.
The scandal, outed by a local news website, led to the resignation of the then State VP with his job portfolio shrinking to just a Zanu PF VP. I will not burden the reader with details of a matter that is of public record.
Still on VPs and the bedroom, Constantino Chiwenga’s messy fall-out with now estranged wife Marry, the latter’s ensuing court troubles and her chronic ailment playing out in front of the public, is another story that captivated the reading audience this year.
Elsewhere, Hakainde Hichilema’s emphatic poll victory as Zambian president August, would, on an ordinary day, pass as just another story about events north of the Zambezi, but alas, it turned out to be a new turf for Zimbabwe’s perennial belligerents to throw brickbats at one another.
The event galvanised MDC Alliance’s resolve to perform a similar feat at home in 2023 while Zanu PF apologists found everything about it delusional.
Covid-19, also, was as big a health story as it was a political one.
Apart from restricting political activity in the country again this year, the pandemic would be remembered for its ‘carnage’ on Zimbabwe’s once feared generals.
Sibusiso Moyo, who was now Foreign Affairs Minister; Lieutenant General (Retired) Douglas Nyikayaramba, who was the country’s ambassador to Mozambique; Retired Major-General Paradzai Zimondi (former prisons boss), all succumbed to the dreaded pandemic in 2021, while then army commander Lieutenant General Edzayi Chimonyo, another high-profile death statistic, died from cancer.
SK Moyo died 14 November this year, coincidentally the fourth anniversary of the day military tankers rolled into central Harare in what later turned out to be the famous coup against Mugabe.
Zanu infighting moved to new episodes as a perennial soap opera with a party loyalist challenging Mnangagwa’s controversial ascendance to power in the courts.
MDC parliamentary and council recalls that have inadvertently opened the political arena into a mini general election with by-elections set for March next year are some of the news stories that dominated headlines in 2021.
That was not all about parliament as laws such as the Patriotism Bill and lately, the PVO Amendment Bill have steered political fires. Normal sitting in parliament was also disturbed by a recurrent Covid-19 wave.
Also making big news was Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s May retirement debacle which spilled into the courts with the top jurist suffering embarrassment after the High Court found Mnangagwa’s extension of his tenure by another five years as a violation of the Constitution.
Malaba remains at the helm of the country’s bench, thanks to the courts that later ruled in his favour.
The year would also be remembered for MDC defections with some once top party officials such as former legislators Obert Gutu, Blessing Chebundo and Lilian Timveos leading the list of opposition loyalists who breached the great divide to join bitter enemy, Zanu PF.
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s assassination attempt claims in Manicaland October, former Health Minister Obadiah Moyo’s surprise acquittal on corruption charges, the visit by UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Alena Douhan and lately, firebrand former war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda’s return to active politics all form the catalogue of political stories that dominated 2021.
The death this month of fierce rights campaigner Dewa Mavhinga was also a sad occurrence in 2021. Zanu PF accuses its critic of inviting western imposed sanctions on the country.
Nkosana Dlamini is the founder and editor of Zimstar News website. Twitter handles: @nkosanad809 @zimbabwe_star, Facebook: Zimbabwe star