PRESIDENT Mugabe is back from South Africa where he dazzled and mesmerised during a joint Press conference with his opposite number, Cde Jacob Zuma.
And, boy, didn’t that give us, friend and foe, some talking point!
But that is only a trite point to make.
In fact, it is rather surprising that it took the South African media behemoth to admit to the charm of President Mugabe.
But you have to admit that because of the grief that has visited the regime change camp at home, the regime change proponents and exponents have had to make uneasy, involuntary shifts of attitude.
The way the Europeans have done.
The way Americans would have wanted but are too proud and rather too preoccupied with bigger troubles they have created elsewhere around the world.
The beauty about it all is that Zimbabwe has remained true to principle and the morality of its cause even when everyone else seemed not to believe in her.
Robert Mugabe has his head high.
Its difficult to put him down.
President Mugabe is at the moment Africa’s top diplomat, being the chair at both the African Union and Sadc and he is busy at work in those roles.
That is why he has hardly sat down as he traverses the continent far and wide.
There is business to be made, deals to be cut, negotiations to be flogged.
So much so for those that thought this was a ceremonial role!
The Mugabe Idea
We have lavished reportage on the statesman role of the President.
We are also closely following the economic narrative he is pursuing, namely the idea of indigenisation and beneficiation/value addition as much on the continent as at home.
President Mugabe is selling the big idea now.
No one has been talking about this before and you get the feeling that as one of the last revolutionary kings of Africa, if this idea gets traction we will see another 1960s coming back.
A wave of revolution.
A wave of economic emancipation of Africa.
Which in fact must happen – pray it does on this continent that is so endowed with natural resources but is so poor.
It is so poor because the same resources have been plundered by foreign enslavers and colonialists who looted unknown quantities of natural and human resources.
They left systems that would allow the continuation of the plunder through the export of raw materials.
It is called neo-colonialism – the new colonialism.
You have your flags, they control the economy.
They may even continue to tax you and demand that you report to them on your interests – which are not their interests and so they duly reject any aberration.
That is what France does in Francophone Africa.
That is why they deposed Laurent Gbagbo when he started to open his eyes and became too clever for France’s liking as he began looking East.
That is why a Mugabe chairmanship at AU or the chairmanship of its secretariat by a Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma were not very palatable to France and its ilk in the West.
Mugabe has dangerous ideas.
He has implemented land reform and indigenisation in his backyard.
Such are ideas should not be allowed among Africans.
The economic story
To all intents and purposes, the economic story that is centred on indigenisation first and value addition and beneficiation should take root at home.
Amid concern, some of it rather alarmist, around the economy, efforts must now be taken to ensure that the vision outlined in Zim-Asset materialises.
It’s not going to be a one-off event where somehow something called Zim-Asset falls down from heaven and people marvel at it.
Already there are key infrastructural developments in the areas of transport and energy that are afoot.
However, structures for beneficiation and value addition, which come with lots of jobs are not quite visible.
People would want to see massive plants for the beneficiation of agricultural products from tobacco to tomatoes (and farmers from Domboshava to Mutoko are crying over the low prices of their produce, often having to dump the whole lot at markets. Go to Mbare Musika now and you will see the festering, crying mounds of tomatoes and leafy vegetables).
They want to see massive plants for the beneficiation of diamonds – plants that are cognate with the size of our potential as the alleged largest repository of rough diamonds.
And a platinum refinery, too.
And Ziscosteel and its downstream industries, too.
The resurrection of the industries so they get the life of yore.
So go the economic questions that need to be answered.
Mega deals that have been signed in the last couple of months provide hope and their operationalisation and hopefully the massive injection of money into the economy, need to be operationalised like yesterday.
Do we not hear uneasy questions about what they have amounted to?
It means that something has to be done, and done fast.
Happily, South Africa, the partners in the latest deals, is just next door.
It should not take us long to realise the fruits of our deals with them, our neighbours and closest friends.
Mugabe the Captain
Let’s go back to see Mugabe in South Africa again.
There could be an angle that may have been unheralded.
It is the fact that the visit and the relations between the persons of Presidents Mugabe and Zuma is a confirmation of the legitimacy of the former as the leader of Zimbabwe.
He has not been shaken, indeed have not had legitimacy shorn from him, by the attempted putsch in his party or by the moribund opposition.
Remember President Zuma has received a couple of letters from Didymus Mutasa of the putschist cabal as well as Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition MDC, all to challenge President Mugabe’s legitimacy, even after his crushing win in July 2013 elections?
The fact that President Mugabe has dealt with the opposition and putschists in his party means that he can now steer the economic ship without distraction.
He is the captain and he is the only centre of power at both party and national levels (remember the inclusive Government?).
This follows that Zimbabwe should not have nightmares implementing deals and programmes.
There is a centre – a centre that is holding.
Africa’s big idea should take root and inspire the continent.