Mugabe’s delusions of grandeur shattered by a stubborn economy and brutal succession war

By Retired Brigadier\r\nMugabe is a man who has always credited himself with winning many ‘victories’ in his very long political life. In political circles, he is a brutal fox with a penchant zeal to achieve whatever he wants by hook or crook. There is no doubt that his praise singers have invented ‘political battles’ and ‘political wars’ for him and have gone on to win them for him. Some of the political battles are real while most of them are a mere invention by praise worshippers. When he came to power as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, he completed his hegemonic grip on power by dismantling PF Zapu with Hitler- like cruelty and military efficiency. It took the sacrifice of Joshua Nkomo to end the war and Canaan Banana had to abandon his ceremonial Presidency and the associated luxuries to give power to Mugabe. The effects are still felt hitherto. In the 1990s he withered the dual storm of a moribund economy under ESAP and Tekere’s ZUM challenge on his power. Fast forward to the 2000s decade. Mugabe has successfully withered a determined MDC opposition to his power by hook and crook, the disgruntled ex- fighters were paid off handsomely with money and land, bringing to an end an internal threat to his grip on power which could have been exploited by internal foes.\r\n\r\nBut just when it counts, Mugabe collapses. At a time when attention should have focused on the economy, Mugabe has revealed his character shortcomings. He is basically clueless as to how to address the myriad of economic challenges bedevilling the country. Now that he is in the twilight of his political life, his legacy is bound to be tattered by the stubborn economy. All his ‘victories’ against imperialism and other imaginary foes now do count for nothing as the economy unravels. Mugabe has abandoned the economic battlefield leaving Chinamasa to fight it out. He has tried all tricks in the book. Now he has roped in the Chinese and Russians. But this seems too little too late. The economy is in need of a huge injection of cash and investments. As it stands now, there is need for radical measures and the most important being Mugabe’s departure. To be honest, this economy will not revive with Mugabe on the saddle. Zanu PF knows this and their sticking with Mugabe is not borne out of rationality than desperation- they have no other choice. It is cold and dark there without the man they all grovel to call father, Jesus, Saviour, God and many more other praise names.\r\n\r\nThe signs were there for all to see. After his disputed 2013 victory, Mugabe picked up a bloated cabinet team of tired and tested thieves, conjuring up fresh images of chaos. Zimbabweans were not surprised. Does Mugabe have an alternative strategy rather than throwing the same solutions at time-served problems? From his inner cabal of loyalists, Mugabe has no cabinet material. So his option was simple- just go with a selection ill suited to the assignment. Such behaviour from a President in his last term is arrogant and smacks of ignorance or a bit of both. Yet the dye was cast for him from the day he ‘won’ in 2013. He had to balance the various factions tearing his party and claiming a stack on the trough. This means accommodating both proven failures and deadwood. It also meant the President, in a bid to accommodate the factions, had to do some foolish things like appointing a Minister in charge of Psychomotor Skills and picking people like Muchinguri and July Moyo into cabinet. Some of the men and women in cabinet would under normal circumstances, not even fit for a group of advisors to a local chief or Headman. But it has to be understood, the times are not normal. Mugabe’s personnel make it impossible to find the required formula, but that in itself is damning when you look at the number of years these people have failed the government under Mugabe’s watch. He should have known better by now. Most of the people in Zanu PF are impostors at the elite level of government and administration.\r\n\r\nThe unravelling economy has shown Zimbabweans that Zanu PF is not suited for governance though it is suited for power. The two are different. Power can be won and kept by sheer brutality, and Zanu PF is master at that. But governance, particularly good governance requires the subtle and finer points of committed individuals and a President dedicated to serving the people. President Mugabe and his cabinet do not look like they are suited for the latter. The problem lies within the whole Zanu PF party. If you want to pick out shortcomings it is hardly difficult to find a starting point. Mugabe himself provides a clearer picture of this starting point. He is certainly a failure but still hangs on, so does everybody around him. Everybody around points at him- if he is still around despite the economic rubbles surrounding him, who are we to go, and where do we go anyway?\r\n\r\nMugabe is limited and unreliable especially under severe duress like the one the economy is putting him under. The problems are further compounded by his advancing age and his unstable party. He has failed to give the nation the direction it desperately requires. President Mugabe is evidently tired and clueless. His deputies Mnangagwa and Mphoko do not look better either. That the two are still in power is one of the mysteries of history of course because it cannot be explained by democratic- rational choice theories. In 2000, Mugabe tried to find the chemistry required to make Zimbabwe successful by appointing a cabinet of experts. But he failed in the execution and the project fell away. It was failed as usual, by an unwilling and arrogant President, who owes his position to none other than himself. He has failed on the economy more than he has failed anywhere else. He is destined to continue sinking Zimbabwe into the abyss unless there is a radical overhaul of Mugabe’s thought processes. Current evidence suggests none of this overhaul!\r\n\r\nThe 2008 defeat disembowelled Mugabe. Now he believes he is propped by fate of nature than by popularity. Life seems to visibly drain from Mugabe’s face on the mere mention of the word ‘economy’, a sort of helplessness and confused expression that has become familiar since the land invasions. Insanity is keeping doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different outcome. Zimbabweans know the script by now. We will have more talk, more nonsense about indigenisation, the Chinese, Russians, sanctions and all that. But the worrying thing is the President seems powerless to arrest the slide.\r\n\r\nA lumberjack has seen less deadwood than Mugabe in his cabinet.