Zimbabwe: Convenient Accident

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While calls for an immediate inquiry into this accident will no doubt be made, the fact is African dictators always have a way of silencing their opponents and with a full knowledge that no amount of investigations would ever yield the truth.

[Global: Africa News]

As a veteran Ugandan-born British journalist, I am wondering whether the untimely death of Susan Tsvangirai, wife of newly appointed Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is not yet another case of déjà vu.

Susan was in the company of her husband on in a Land Cruiser driving on a busy two-lane highway between Tsvangirai's hometown of Buhera and the capital city of Harare, when out of nowhere, a truck, supposedly driven by a dozy driver, clipped their car’s rear and caused it to roll over several times. While Morgan sustained minor injuries, Susan is said to have suffered multiple injuries and died on the spot.

Just like another well-known African dictator who is so quick to attend the burial ceremonies of those that have opposed him bitterly, Robert Mugabe was quick on his tiring 85 year old legs to get into hospital and see whether his nemesis had actually survived the accident.

In my 15 years as a political journalist in East Africa, similar accidents have conveniently removed those that were known to be vocally opposed to the regime of the day. One such person whose memory will never fade away is the former Director of East African Airways, and former commanding officer of the Uganda Air force and indeed, albeit for a very short time, the former Ugandan deputy Head of State, Brigadier Gad Wilson Toko.

Having twisted his way out of whizzing bullets as he successfully fled Uganda when the regime of Gen. Tito Okello Lutwa was overthrown by the rampaging army of the National Resistance Army that swept into power in 1986, Brig. Toko had peacefully settled in London with his young family. But rather than endure the hopelessness of living in London without anyone ever recognizing who you are and succumbing to performing menial jobs to support one’s family, Brig. Toko accepted an invitation to return home and join Yoweri Museveni’s ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM).

Seen by many as a very intelligent officer who could have easily assumed the country’s leadership, Brig. Toko was to lose his life not so long after he had been persuaded by the Ugandan government to return home.

While returning from a soccer match, his car was hit, yes, head on by a truck said to have been driven, yes indeed, by a dozy driver. While the facts surrounding Tsvangirai’s accident are still scant, one wonders why so many leading politicians in Africa have died from car accidents.

While calls for an immediate inquiry into this accident will no doubt be made, the fact is African dictators always have a way of silencing their opponents and with a full knowledge that no amount of investigations would ever yield the truth.

It is therefore imperative that no stone is left undone in the quest to find what exactly happened that led to this accident, which could have also claimed Tsvangirai’s life.

In the meantime, Tsvangirai must be praised and supported for his efforts to achieve a political agreement plucked from the jaws of an unwilling partner.

Mugabe’s time in power is surely diminishing. But before he can call it a day, it should mot surprise anyone that Mugabe will carry to his grave as many people as he possibly can in an attempt to protect his legacy from prying eyes.

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