By John Chimunhu|
Now Daily Analysis|
The Zanu PF congress slated for early December in Harare has turned out to be a referendum on president Robert Mugabe’s continued stay in both party and government office.
After a reign of terror lasting nearly 35 years, since independence from Britain in 1980, senior officials in Mugabe’s own Zanu PF party are in revolt. It is not hard to see why the people who have been loyal to this despot and helped him commit the atrocities that have kept him in power for so long have finally turned against him.
Zanu PF’s 10 provinces have gone against Mugabe’s wishes and nominated Joice Mujuru to continue as party vice president. They voted by default to make her his heir-apparent.
This is ample proof that a brainy section of the party has decided to go against the blind masses calling for Mugabe to stay at the helm of party and government until he is 100 years old. This is not practical and even those in Zanu PF realise that the commander-in-chief can no longer carry the mantle of state.
At nearly 91, Mugabe is too old to perform the duties of a head of state effectively. He famously goes to international conferences to sleep in front of television cameras. His speeches are incoherent and he tends to rumble and waffle, with his personal musings often replacing important policy speeches written by his aides, which he can not read because he is nearly blind. He spends valuable time and millions of dollars of taxpayers’ funds visiting foreign doctors, even though Zimbabwe has competent ones, because he is paranoid and fears he might be assassinated. Mugabe has to rely on treacherous aides such as George Charamba, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Ignatius Chombo and his ever more dominant wife, the alleged adulteress Grace. Like the infamous Gagool from “King Solomon’s Mines”, Grace Mugabe has launched a witchhunt, dramatically sniffing out all those ‘opposed’ to the president who, ironically, is in office by armed force after phenomenally rigging several past elections.
This inner cabal is intimately aware of Mugabe’s ailing health and they are ruthlessy manipulating him for their own ends. They are taking his infirmity as the perfect opportunity to advance themselves to higher office without following party procedures, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. In turn, the political wasteland they are leaving behind is being filled by thugs, hooligans and money-mongers with no respect for democracy or the foundation of freedom and justice articulated in 1963 when the party was set up in Gweru.
Mugabe has overstayed in office. Like every dictator, his hallmarks are violence, destruction and corruption.
Mugabe has plunged Zimbabweans into destitution and intractable povery. Millions have fled the country to escape his terror. Those who can not escape the ‘open prison’ which Zimbabwe has become are subjected to horrific abuses daily.
Despite a semblance of normality, put up for the benefit of hapless foreign diplomats, it is fairly obvious that nobody is in control in Zimbabwe. Like a rudderless plane, the country is plunging ahead dangerously, on an evidently disastrous course.
The turmoil in Zanu PF has paralysed government for months. This war of attrition does not serve the people of Zimbabwe. It only helps Zanu PF criminals who thrive on just this sort of chaos.
Policies are ad hoc, adopted on the basis of which friend or relative of the president stands to benefit immediately from them, not because of their veracity or long-term value.
As Zanu PF officials trade insults, it has become apparent that many of those occupying high office got there on the basis of patronage. Close relatives and cronies of the dictator are given preference despite their incompetence and corruption.
Mugabe no longer even talks about concrete plans to end poverty and unemployment engulfing the country. The economy has sunk into recession and genuine investors are leaving or avoiding Zimbabwe. Yet all we hear are obscure rumblings about an incoherent programme called ZimAsset. No-one seems to know what this is or how ordinary people can participate and improve their lives. Zimbabwe has a new constitution. Though it is far from perfect, it has the potential to bring about positive changes. But Mugabe does not want that constitution applied fully. He prefers the present scenario where peoples’ basic rights are not guaranteed by any written code but can only be accessed on the basis of his rare ‘generosity’. This is not sustainable.
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