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The Trial of Robert Mugabe - A novel by Chielo Zona Eze
October 01, 2009
This is a novel based
on the fictional trial of the long reigning Zimbabwean leader in
God-s court for crimes he allegedly committed against his
people. The trial takes place in the afterlife and is presided upon
by various luminaries of our era. The characters are drawn from
the numerous victims of Robert Mugabe-s regime spanning several
decades of his rule/misrule. They comprise victims of his notorious
5th brigade atrocities committed during the infamous Gukurahundi
campaign in Matebeleland in the early 1980s to victims of the more
recent retributive violence against the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change. Although the characters are fictitious they are
based on real people and their accounts are a based on real historical
fact which lends a lot of credibility to character development.
As a result their accounts and testimony in the court become gripping
real life accounts of the tragic events which have become synonymous
with Mugabe-s rule.
As stated above the major
themes that have been well developed by Chielo Zona Eze in this
book are those which have already been catalogued in numerous human
rights reports on post independent Zimbabwe. The massacre of Ndebele
people in the 1980s, the campaign of terror against opposition members
by the war veterans and Zanupf militia more recently, the eviction
of white farmers, the cronyism, corruption and general decadence
associated with neo-colonial regimes in post independent Africa.
These thematic issues are succinctly developed and dealt with in
a satirical and yet touching and gripping manner.
The plot is aptly interwoven
into various subplots which are catalogues of the various episodes
of the transgressions against human rights by the Mugabe regime
against the Zimbabwean populace. The writer employs a subtle literary
technique which mixes satire, caricature, mystery and suspense to
create a gripping tale which keeps the reader engrossed till the
The novel is written
in simple yet very clear language which should make it appealing
to most readers. Though this is a work of fiction it is must always
be emphasised that it is based on real events and evokes very strong
emotions and the setting is so realistic that one can actually visualise
the suffering that took place at places such as Bhalagwe and others.
This story attempts to create a balance by not laying all the blame
on Robert Mugabe for the terrible events which have happened in
Zimbabwe since Independence in 1980. It acknowledges the very crucial
role he played in the liberation of the country and the tragic personal
sacrifices that he made for his people. However it seeks to make
him see exactly where he has gone wrong and gives him another chance
to correct his errors. This novel therefore is a clarion call to
us all Africans to avoid falling into the pitfalls that Robert Mugabe
A gripping tale of how
power can dehumanise and cause people to commit unspeakable acts
of cruelty against others.
Okri Books Inc
* Mr. Nyoka
is a former public prosecutor and magistrate in Zimbabwe, currently
a PhD candidate on Human Rights in Zimbabwe. He can be contacted
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