Friday, November 17, 2017

Good Riddance

"This is political theatre. Chiwenga and the army want to give Mugabe a soft landing, a dignified exit."
"They are working on the choreography of how this will be done. By calling a full summit (the regional leaders] are showing respect for Mugabe, the last of the liberation war heroes. Mugabe wants the full fanfare as he exits stage left."
"The regional leaders will be showing deference to Mugabe, even though they can't wait to see the back of him."
Piers Pigou, southern Africa expert, International Crisis Group
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, right, arrives at the Zimbabwe Open University in Harare.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, right, arrives at the Zimbabwe Open University in Harare.    CNN

Isn't this typical Africa? That Mugabe transformed Zimbabwe from its colonialist oppressor state as Rhodesia and succeeded in bringing his country to independence was indeed something to celebrate. Initially, the white government in power, acceding to African rule as natural justice would have it, that the original inhabitants of a land and the vast majority of the country needed to shake off the shackles of third-class inhabitants to re-assume their heritage status represented an honourable undertaking and victory.

That the man who won independence for his country, renaming it and declaring that Black Rhodesians as Zimbabweans proud of their ancestry and their rule over their own land could also be generous in victory, slowly became transformed himself by 37 years in power to end up so harming the future prospects and prosperity of his country that he destroyed it, was unforgivable. His tyranny ensured that all the land was returned to black rule, including farms owned and operated by white Zimbabweans for generations, as functional, producing sources of food to feed the nation.

That all fell by the wayside as white farmers were violently thrown off their land, their properties confiscated and handed over to those who could claim they were in the forefront of freeing the country from its white oppressors. Which might have been viewed as just desserts, but which in the end, destroyed the nation's agricultural industry it once exported abroad as well as feeding itself. Now, food and commodities are scarce, unemployment is high, inflation skyrocketed and currency hugely devalued.

Opposed by a political party that is moderate in its outlook and a leader not seeking self-aggrandizement but the opportunity to lead the country back to prosperity and sound management, Morgan Tsvangirai, once dismissed from power sharing as leader of the MDC may be given the opportunity to return to government. Unless, as seems more likely ZANU-PF, Robert Mugabe's ruling party to which the nation's military appears loyal, will re-invest the presidency with the man Mugabe and the party had groomed to be his successor, a man with the same cutthroat instincts as Mugabe, named "the Crocodile", an erstwhile enforcer for Mugabe.

Envoys representing South Africa's Jacob Zuma, himself an embattled president mired in corruption and self-availment, had been tasked with persuading Mugabe that it would be in his best interests and that of the nation to 'resign' his presidency at age 93. While his wife Grace Mugabe has already fled Zimbabwe, knowing that the dismissed vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who along with General Constantine Chiwenga, head of the armed forces would be likely to hold her accountable for Mugabe's latest excesses and insistence that she be his replacement, he had steadfastly refused to 'resign'.

Sanctioned by the United States in 2003 identifying him as one among other officials "who undermine democratic processes and institutions in Zimbabwe", Mnangagwa, widely considered to be as corrupt and abusive as Mugabe, is supported by the military and as such more likely than Tsvangirai, to replace Mugabe. The result of which could be that Zimbabwe's brief celebration at the removal of their dictator will be short-lived, when a replacement dictator steps in.
Robert Mugabe kisses his wife Grace during during the country’s 37th Independence Day celebrations at the capital, Harare, in April, 2017. Her unpopularity may drive voters to opposition camps, a senior member of a rival party says, as she is ‘the most hated woman in Zimbabwe.’

Mugabe's authoritarian rule and mismanagement of the country leading to the steep economic decline of the nation has made him a deeply unpopular figure, although he himself thinks that he is held in deep affection by ordinary Zimbabweans. That his wife Grace Mugabe, continued to spend huge sums of state treasury on designer clothing, jewellery, the building of several mansions, throwing costly parties while ordinary people suffered economic marginalization and scrounged for food, certainly failed to endear her to the population.

The unfortunate thing is that there will be no 'clean sweep' of the stables in this country; one corrupt megalomaniac will simply replace another. And the envoys from the Southern African Development Community which had sent them to appease Mugabe's hurt feelings by assurances given to him that he remains fondly regarded as one of the heroes of African liberation, will return whence they came, satisfied with a job well done.

Mugabe in talks about his future, in this image tweeted by the editor of Zimbabwe's Herald.
Mugabe in talks about his future, in this image tweeted by the editor of Zimbabwe's Herald.

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