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The Trial of Robert Mugabe - A novel by Chielo Zona Eze
Kenneth Kudakwashe Nyoka
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 end.

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 fell into.

A gripping tale of how power can dehumanise and cause people to commit unspeakable acts of cruelty against others.

Published by 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 at

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