Mugabe refusing to accept reality

Politicians, like schizophrenics, usually don't notice – or deny it if they do – when they lose touch with reality.

They continue in a delusional and paranoid mode, assuming they are still fully in charge of their situation, until their bizarre postures and purposeless agitation betrays them.

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Without a doubt President Robert Mugabe – despite his advanced age and health problems – is still firmly in charge of his faculties and situation, just by merely looking at him and listening to him talk.

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He is still sharp and coherent and his thought process very sound, although he is obviously slowing down with age – which is probably why last week he referred to President Jacob Zuma as “Mandela”.

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Although Mugabe delivers long-winded and boring addresses, he doesn’t have disorganised thinking and speech. It would be malicious to claim that Mugabe talks gibberish in the technical sense of the word. He hasn’t descended to the level of the word salad.

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However, events which took place during the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg last weekend have shown that Mugabe has lost touch with political reality and is in denial.

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In Freudian psychoanalysis being in denial is a defence mechanism by a person or people faced with an unpleasant situation too uncomfortable to accept or too ghastly to contemplate. The person therefore rejects reality and insists it is not true, despite overwhelming evidence.

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The Sandton summit proved this in many ways. Mugabe attended the summit mainly with one objective: to revise or reverse the damning SADC resolutions contained in the Livingstone communiqué of March 31.

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The communiqué was issued after a critical meeting between the SADC chairman, Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, and members of the SADC troika of the organ of politics, defence and security in Livingstone, Zambia.

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Apart from Pohamba, other SADC leaders who attended the meeting to discuss the political and security situation in Zimbabwe and Madagascar, were troika chairman, Zambian President Rupiah Banda, Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and Zuma, the SADC facilitator on Zimbabwe.

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The summit – whose outcome has angered Mugabe up to this day – “noted with grave concern the polarisation of the political environment as characterised by, inter alia, resurgence of violence, arrests and intimidation in Zimbabwe”.

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In view of the above, the summit resolved that:

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  • There must be an immediate end of violence, intimidation, hate speech, harassment, and any other form of action that contradicts the letter and spirit of (Global Political Agreement) GPA;
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  • All stakeholders to the GPA should create a conducive environment for peace, security and free political activity;
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  • The Inclusive Government in Zimbabwe should complete all the steps necessary for the holding of the election, including the finalisation of the constitutional amendment and the referendum;
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  • SADC should assist Zimbabwe to formulate guidelines that will assist in holding an election that will be peaceful, free and fair; and
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  • The troika of the organ shall appoint a team of officials to join the facilitation team and work with the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee.
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After that Mugabe lambasted Zuma and other SADC leaders, although he later sent envoys all over the region to fight the Livingstone communiqué ahead of the recent Windhoek meeting. He could not believe he was in deep trouble with the SADC.

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So for Mugabe the Sandton summit last week was a do or die situation. The Livingstone resolutions had to be reversed at all costs. Mugabe thus fought tooth and nail at the summit but Zuma and his colleagues refused to budge.

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As SADC leaders usually do, they issued a communiqué after the Sandton summit saying they had “noted the decisions of the SADC troika summit held in Livingstone, Zambia, in March 2011”.

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Subsequent to that Mugabe and his Zanu-PF supporters rushed to the media, claiming the Sandton summit had “rejected” the Livingstone decisions. A fierce propaganda war thus broke out in the media debating the semantic meaning of “noted” and “rejected”.

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Although it is obvious “noted” does not mean “rejected”, Mugabe and his incompetent spin doctors tried hard to tell a big lie about the outcome of the Sandton summit.

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However, their punch line was a disaster. I mean how do you argue that “noted” means “rejected”, even if you are desperate to win hearts and minds?

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It soon became clear that Mugabe is refusing to accept reality. To protect himself from this unpleasant situation, he withdrew into a laager of denial but unfortunately he still doesn’t seem to realise his time is up.

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Mugabe is behaving like an ostrich which buries its head deep in the sand in the midst of a gathering sandstorm. – TimesLive