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New Book on Mugabe’s Legacy Misses the Mark

Development studies professor David Moore’s new book, Mugabe’s Legacy: Coups, Conspiracies and the Conceits of Power in Zimbabwe, attempts to understand the legacy of Robert Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe from 1980 to 2017, when he lost power in a military coup. Moore maintains that Mugabe’s legacy revolves around what he terms “the three Cs”: coups, conspiracies and conceits of political power. He shows that “the three Cs” have their origins in the perilous politics of the independence struggle, in which Mugabe was a key participant. The book consists of a prologue and 10 chapters. The first chapter seeks “to erect a conceptual structure on which the Zimbabwe ‘facts’ will sit”. Chapters two to five set out “the making of Mugabe and his legacy” in the liberation struggle years. Chapters six to nine trace the independence time trajectory of Mugabe’s political career through to the 2017 coup. Chapter ten examines Zimbabwean politics after Mugabe’s fall from power and death in 2019. Moore did not unearth any treasures in his research of Mugabe’s legacy. He has not even drawn a map that might lead us to an enhanced understanding of the making of Mugabe and his legacy, the politics of Zanu-PF, and coups and their corollaries.