However, the decision has been described by political analysts as an attempt by the ruling party to pacify the vanquished Zanu-PF G40 ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The chief secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda announced the decision Sunday, saying the awards would be given to people who deserved this “special recognition”.
“Government intends to award deserving Zimbabwean citizens with the Robert Gabriel Mugabe Commendation Award for Service in Human Capital Development,” he said in a statement.
“The individuals should be luminaries who have distinguished themselves through outstanding transformative services in human capital development that have opened up and achieved growth in new economic sectors while ensuring inclusivity.”
“Note that each nomination should be accompanied by a justification in the form of a brief detailed profile on the achievements for which the individual is deemed deserving for this special recognition and honour.
“You may represent your nomination in the form of a citation which will be used when the individual is awarded the special honour, or in the form of a relevant document which celebrates and immortalises the achievement for posterity.”
Mugabe was removed Zimbabwe’s president in November 2017 in a military coup before he was replaced by his vice president, Mnangagwa.
The coup plotters said Mugabe was now surrounded by thieves.
However, died a very bitter man in September 2019 at the age of 95 in Singapore, where he was receiving treatment.
He was buried at his rural home in Zvimba after his family declined a government offer to have him interred at the National Heroes Acre in Harare. Hundreds of nationalists are buried at the national shrine.
However, the government has resorted to traditional leaders and the courts to arm-twist the Mugabe family to have the late’s remains be reburied at the national shrine and the matter remains before the courts.
Former Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi, who was part of the G40 faction said of the award: “It’s an appropriate honour as Mugabe is credited with many things and the government has done things right but erred on others. He was not an angel. Mavekuita pachikuru.”
However, political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya told the media the awards were meant to pacify Mugabe loyalists and the G40 cabal ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“That’s oxymoronic; those are contradictions that expose the insincerity of the government. That award simply exposes the policy bankruptcy of the system. Surely, a man who was removed through a military, in the opinion of the coup plotters, means that he was no longer fit for their purpose and was a national security threat,” he said.
“Given that thinking and framing of Mugabe and the reasons advanced by the coup plotters, how do they reconcile that with an award? I think this is mere electioneering to appease Mugabe’s social base ahead of the 2023 elections.”
Political analyst Rashweat Mukundu said: “It’s hypocrisy on the part of the Mnangagwa government to seek to give awards in the name of Mugabe, whom in 2017 they kicked out alleging that he was incompetent. It is an attempt to hoodwink the disgruntled Mugabe family and supporters who are angry and still see the coup against Mugabe as illegal and an unconstitutional move against an elected head of State.”
Political scientist Eldred Masunungure added: “The controversy surrounding the exit of Mugabe involves regret on the part of those who engineered the coup, and that is why it took time for him (Mugabe) to step down. They did not condemn his entirety, but they condemned the then First Lady (Grace Mugabe) as his successor.”