Now Daily Analysis
It is a sad day indeed when citizens like the missing political activist and journalist Itai Dzamara have to write letters to the president to remind him of his duties. In a normal, constitutional democracy – which Zimbabwe is aspiring to be – it should be the daily routine of the president to study the constitution and implement it. Unfortunately, president Robert Mugabe seems more determined to undermine the constitution than to respect, uphold and enforce it.
If our parliament was truly representative and focussed, Mugabe would have been impeached by now. Unfortunately, the MPs who are not Mugabe’s bogeymen are lily-livered, stupid or too ignorant to approach the issue. It is now up to the people of Zimbabwe, especially the young, oppressed generation to demand accountability from this dictator. It is the right of citizens to petition parliament to raise an impeachment motion against the dictator.
The constitution of Zimbabwe is clear about the duties of the president, how he ought to exercise power and perform his functions.
The most compelling grounds for impeaching Mugabe are his “inability to perform the functions of the office because of physical or mental incapacity”. It is an open secret that at nearly 92 years of age, Mugabe is no longer fit to perform the functions of a president. His recent public performance in India, where he lost his balance, his continuous falling asleep during important meetings or turning up late, his failure to read official speeches and rumbling incoherently are all signs of an unfit president, who would fail a fitness test conducted by any reputable doctor.
His wife Grace Mugabe, aides and relatives have been working overtime to cover up his senility, including the fact that he sometimes poops in his pants. It is a serious indictment on Zimbabweans, especially the MPs that we are paying millions of dollars annually to represent us, that an old man who is nearly blind and on the edge of normality can be allowed to continue holding the reins of state when everything around him is collapsing because of his failure to lead due to age. It is clear that those around him, like ‘first’ vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mugabe’s closest advisers Grace Mugabe and George Charamba, are taking advantage of the ageing despot to push their own terrible agendas and loot the state treasury. They like to keep dragging him out onto the podium, on occasion, to give the impression that he is still in control when he evidently has no clue about how the country is being run, or – being on autopilot – how the country is running itself, ready to plunge into the sea.
There is nowhere in the constitution where it says the president can allow someone else to govern on his behalf. He has to do it himself or leave office if he fails.
Mugabe must be subjected to a routine medical check which, we are sure, will confirm that he is not fit to perform the rigorous tasks assigned to him, including regular, exhausting long-distance air travel, marathon meetings and reading reports. Mugabe is not superhuman, as he and his inner circle want to pretend to the world. He has now become more famous for sleeping during meetings, only to wake up and rant about British imperialism.
The fact that the ailing despot could read the ‘wrong’ speech in parliament is a serious indictment, not only of the dictator himself, but also our MPs, whose calibre leaves a lot to be desired. This president, in particular, only addresses parliament once a year. That must mean each address is important. It would be something over which he would take particular interest, including rehearsing reading the speech before it goes to parliament. It is a speech that he would have gone over many times with his top aides, changing things and analysing the possible impact and implications.
But Mugabe doesn’t care. To him, it was just another speech, before bringing out the champagne glasses and juicy steaks for another state dinner in ‘celebration’ of yet another occasion to hoodwink the people. Mugabe is used to taking Zimbabweans for granted and Zimbabweans seem all too ready to be taken advantage of. He has bribed or cowed the MPs, who are supposed to be our gatekeepers. Our defective constitution states that the dictator can only be removed by impeachment, which requires half the MPs to uphold such a motion. Looking at the current parliament of ignoramus plucked from the streets, it is clear that such a motion will never be raised or sustained.
Mugabe is also in serious violation of the constitution on many other points. He is guilty of serious misconduct. He is corrupt and presides over one of the most corrupt systems in the world. He mismanages the economy for the benefit of his equally corrupt wife and friends. Instead of promoting unity and peace in the nation, he promotes division and violent conflict, often boasting of his “degrees in violence”. Instead of using state resources to protect the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the people and to uphold the rule of law, Mugabe is at the forefront of abusing state materials to kill and maim Zimbabweans, deny them their rights and force them into exile.
There is no media freedom in the country. Only Mugabe’s praise-singers are allowed to broadcast. The only people allowed to own property are his wife, relatives and cronies. There is no freedom of association. The only political organizations allowed to operate are those, like cassanova Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T, that allow him to stay in power ad infinitum, while putting on a pretence of opposition to the dictator’s unbridled misrule.
Mugabe is also guilty of the punishable offences of “failure to obey, uphold or defend this constitution” and “wilful violation of this constitution”. One of the more serious grounds upon which Mugabe has failed to uphold the constitution is his failure to “recognize and respect the ideals and values of the liberation struggle”. These war-time ideals may not be canonized in one place, but they are well-known. They include the right of every Zimbabwean above the age of 18 to vote, otherwise known as ‘one man one vote’ during the war. Mugabe has done everything to disenfranchise everyone. Voter registration and management is chaotic, to the point of being deliberately unfriendly to the people. More than five million resident Zimbabweans who are eligible to vote are prevented from doing so at every election. Another two to three million who have fled the despot’s unbridled misrule to live in other countries are not considered at all. Of the three million that were on the voter register in 2013, only half that number voted, with numerous impediments, including death threats and programmed official bungling being put in their way.
Black empowerment was a key objective of the war. In plain terms, this meant transfer of crucial resources such as land from the racist whites who grabbed them by force to the rightful original owners robbed by the colonialists. Mugabe merely maintained the status quo. When the povo began clamouring for land in 1999, Mugabe assisted them to chase out the white farmers but took all the good land for himself, his wife, relatives and cronies.
In fact, Mugabe has reversed the small gains in education, health and social services the people had negotiated for themselves before his violent gang came onto the scene. Standards have plummeted across the board, to the extent that most black Zimbabweans are worse off today than they were in the 1970s, by any measure. Mugabe was bribed by the British and American multinationals in 1980, allowing them to continue looting the country’s resources while blacks languished in poverty. After the West abandoned him – instead of giving the wealth to blacks as promised – Mugabe is now busy dishing out the family jewels to the Chinese and Russians, the new fronts for Western imperialism.
Human dignity was a major objective of the liberation struggle. There are many black kids who went to war and died because they did not want to be called ‘kaffirs’ (the Zimbabwean equivalent of ‘niggers’). Today, racism has been replaced by a violent class system where only those connected to the dictatorship are allowed a modicum of respect. The rest of the people are humiliated daily by having no food on their tables, no basic utilities, no hope and –worse – no one to fight for their rights.
© Now Media 2015. All Rights Reserved.