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Tears for Chatunga and Robert Jnr

Troublesome boys ... Robert Jr and Chatunga Mugabe

07/08/2017 00:00:00
by David Mutori
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CHATUNGA and Robert Jr Mugabe seem to have lost their way. They seem unsure about their future, about Zimbabwe and their role in it. There seems to be something dysfunctional in their lives. It is tempting to take the view that the boys are getting what they deserve but, fellow Zimbabweans, have any of you reflected and realised that we may have a lot in common with Chatunga and Robert Jnr? They are Zimbabwean, and just like all Zimbabweans, are embarrassed and uncomfortable with their parents’ behaviour and the general state of affairs in their homeland.

“They are victims too,” a friend of mine lamented recently referring to President Mugabe’s two seemingly ‘wayward’ sons’ recent woes. My initial response was to accuse my friend of a severe case of the Stockholm syndrome. However, my curiosity got me thinking and I reflected on my friend’s reasoning with a view to understanding why they had reached such conclusions in respect of the President’s favoured sons.

Readers may remember a few incidents in recent years where the president’s sons have been reported to be on the wrong side of the law. And, again, a few years ago, the president himself told the world that Robert had been expelled from school for gross indiscipline. And in another incident, the president was reported to have abandoned an important SADC meeting in Swaziland to rush to the Middle East where it is alleged one of his sons was involved in drug related difficulties with authorities.

And again, it has been alleged that the president’s children had been expelled from the mansion in the Middle East where they had been living a life of debauchery. Chatunga and Robert Jnr were then again recently reported as being kicked out of their luxury accommodation in South Africa for ‘drug related’ nuisances. Footage has also been circulating on social media of the pair trashing cars. If all these incidences are true, one cannot deny that the president’s kids are indeed troubled.

One may wonder why the first family seems to be content with their two boys living an existence where they appear to drift with no identifiable vocation or purpose rather. In the UK, the term NEETs (Not in Education Employment or Training) is used to refer to such. Are there any reports of any attempts by the First Couple to get their sons into education, employment or training? Why does the president and his wife not consider that perhaps priority should be nurturing and being a hands-on parent to the boys?  But perhaps their love for political power is so great that the seemingly neglected emotional needs of their children are secondary?


Would it not make more sense to keep the boys close and perhaps groom them and to teach the boys politics, run Gushungo Dairy and the Mazowe based projects? But I am probably missing the point, for President Mugabe’s record does not reflect someone with a selfless mind-set and his wife seems to be no different. Sadly, there is a serious lack of emotional intelligence and a human being is equated to collateral. If our president and his wife are capable of being oblivious to the masses dying of curable diseases and order the massacre of thousands of civilians (the so-called moment of madness), would they be capable of being sensitive to the emotional needs of their own children?

It is probably unrealistic to expect Mr President to have the emotional intelligence to realise the importance of nurturing his offspring, given that he is capable (at the age of 93) of convincing himself that he is the only person capable to run Zimbabwe, a country which is in dire need of young relevant minds.

Readers must remember that Chatunga and Robert are on social media and they know what the world really think, feel and say about their parents. The boys also fully understand the terrible of atrocities that are being committed in the name of their father. The boys are also watching as their mother humiliates herself in front of the whole country. In families were the dynamics are healthy and functioning normally, the boys would have been able to tell their parents kuti zvakwana, sokwanele (enough now) but President Mugabe is an extra ordinary individual. He has a nasty record of destroying anyone who suggests that he should rest.

In recent years the President seems to spend more and more of his time outside Zimbabwe occasionally visiting the country. If he is capable of abandoning his country at its hour of need, what stops him from showing his own kids no affection?

Which brings me to the poignant question; if you were children to parents who have become the laughing stock of the whole world, parents who do not listen to you or anyone’s advice, parents who see your emotional wellbeing as a weakness, and who are happy to throw money at you hoping that all your problems will disappear, what would you do?

Psychologists will tell you that human beings respond and react differently to adverse circumstances.  Human beings are known to adopt some of the following behaviours as coping mechanisms to adversity: cry, laugh, self-harm, binge eat, resort to crime, drugs, the list is endless.

What if these boys are finding themselves in no man’s land; that very cold place where one gets caught up between powerful parents devoid of emotions and a wider world that is rejecting you because of your parents’ crimes?

Could it be that the boys are finding themselves between a rock and a hard place; that place where they feel rejected either way? Are Chatunga and Robert Jr victims just like all of us? Are the alleged misdemeanours being driven by the need to numb the emotional pain of watching their parents become sad caricatures of modern day politics?

I certainly wouldn’t want to be in the boys’ shoes; you only need to imagine your parents being what Amai and the President have become to give you a perception of the embarrassment the boys go through daily.

If Grace Mugabe tells off her sons the same way she publicly tells off grown up men like Charamba, Mujuru, Mnangagwa etc, one can imagine the impact on the boys’ mental health.

Davis Mutori is an economist and a concerned citizen. He writes in his own private capacity. He can be contacted on mutorid@gmail.com

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