President Robert Mugabe arrived home yesterday from the Far East at the end of a lengthy holiday which has reportedly included medical treatment in Singapore.
Candid Comment with Iden Wetherell
This would not be remarkable were the president a reasonably robust and energetic ruler, but that is manifestly not the case.
At 90, Mugabe is struggling to maintain a level of health which would be a challenge for a younger man let alone one carrying out a busy schedule in his 90s. Next month will see him celebrate his 91st birthday. Is he up to all this with the demands on what would normally be expected of a much younger man?
The problem here is not that Mugabe is ailing, although that is not denied. It is that he continues to dominate the political scene with his foot so thoroughly wedged in the political door that there is no room for other participants.
In addition to a busy political schedule, Mugabe has presided over an impressive dairy farming operation which takes scant notice of Zanu PF’s restrictions on multiple farm ownership.
Put together there is a problem. The country needs firm and enlightened leadership. As it stands, the leadership comprises greedy and unenlightened leaders who squat across the nation on the farms they have taken possession of with damaging consequences for the agricultural economy.
Zimbabwe is today a country mired in poverty and ignorance because leaders make arbitrary decisions that are not of benefit to the country and encourage their followers to be equally delinquent so misgovernance is compounded.
A good example was the recent distribution of luxury vehicles to cabinet ministers, MPs and other luminaries. Conspicuous among the beneficiaries were intelligence officers who cannot be said not to know the extent of the problems the country faces.
A simple comparison with Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique would illustrate the quandary of neighbouring states that are better governed despite less experience and which can attract FDI without too much fuss. Nor are they subordinate to China’s worldwide ambitions.
For many Zimbabweans, the litmus test will probably be the ascent to power of First Lady Grace Mugabe. Brandishing her dubious PhD, her appointment raises questions of power management in a declining economy. If the intention was to enable the president to continue in office for a longer period then it will fail at the popularity hurdle. It is difficult to imagine anything more challenging than Grace’s candidacy for a ministerial post.
But it is the combination of circumstances that will in the end deal a possible knockout blow to the ambitious elite which does not hide its enthusiasm to submit us to its yoke. The record speaks for itself. Zimbabwe is suffering because it is badly governed.
How much longer will we just let it happen?