Mugabe back from holiday so soon? Eddie Cross

via Mugabe back from holiday so soon? | The Zimbabwean 15.01.14 by Eddie Cross

The fundamental truth is that time is running out for Mugabe and he would be foolish to ignore this reality, writes EDDIE CROSS.

Last week I was in the Karoi District to help the local structures of the MDC organise for a bi-election in two weeks’ time. On the way back to Harare a huge storm built up over the top end of Mashonaland West – it was a massive front. Black clouds towered up to 20,000 feet or more and at the front of the storm was a band of high winds and some most peculiar lower clouds that were white. Across the open veld of the area and up to the Great Dyke this presented a spectacular example of a tropical storm.

At our meeting the weather was calm, almost no wind, the sun shone and we met under some trees in an abandoned building site. For three hours we discussed the way forward and how to handle the bi-election. Then the first wind came up and in half an hour the area was caught up in high winds, breaking trees and flattening crops and lifting roofs. Then came the rain – we could not see 10 metres ahead of us, the road was awash with running water, soon the rivers would be in flood.

In Zimbabwe it feels a bit like that, the sun is shining, there is a gentle breeze blowing – a perfect day, but we can sense and even see the storm clouds gathering in the distant hills. What surprised us that afternoon was how fast it came and caught us on the road. These things can come fast and we need to be ready for them.

President Robert Mugabe stayed in the country right up to Christmas but then took his usual annual holiday of one month in the Far East. He does this every year and the people who saw him at the Unity Day events in Bulawayo on December 23 all remarked how frail and tired he looked.

Then, just after Christmas the Harare rumour mill began to churn – the President has collapsed in Singapore, then “the President is dead”. Even Baba Jukwa – normally an informed commentator on all such things – stated that all was not well and that the President may well have died. In our culture it’s wrong to discuss the death of someone who is still alive and the whole thing was played down by the state media and spokespersons.

But then the state media said the President had been advised to come home early. Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai called on him to return to the country to deal with the economic and political crisis that grips the country. Then came a small announcement that Mugabe was on his way home and would arrive on January 11. There was no explanation of the three week cut-back in his normal break and when he arrived at 07.00 am, there was none of the normal fanfare – lines of officials and Ministers to meet him and pictures of a rejuvenated and relaxed President running down the stairs of the plane.

Since he arrived we have seen nothing of him except for some unusual movement around State House in Harare. The health of the President (now 90 years old) is something that has been of concern for a long time – at least the past decade. However he has always defied the odds and seems to have an uncanny capacity to come back and seem almost rejuvenated from his periodic long flights to the Far East for medical treatment.

But he is 90 and that is a challenge for any person, and he is still Executive President of the country. He has a serious crisis in his own party and is in charge of an economy that is showing all the symptoms of severe stress. Storm clouds are building up on the horizon and we have all got to keep an eye on the storm and watch how it develops. The fundamental truth is that time is running out for Mugabe and he would be foolish to ignore this reality.

The storm clouds building up over Zimbabwe are made up of a number of different elements. First was the failure to renew the leadership of the new Zanu (PF) government. It is the same old team of tired men and women that have been in power for the past 34 years. Why he thought that this team would do any better than they had done in the previous decades, is a mystery. They have been in power for give months and so far not a single new idea has emerged, corruption remains endemic and there are several signs that certain Ministers and senior figures are still demanding payments for decisions and privileges.

Secondly, despite the overdue acknowledgement that all is not kosher at Marange diamond fields, despite the failure to extract any sort of contribution to the Exchequer from the massive flow of resources emanating from the fields, there has been no movement at all in any direction. Even the national budget announced by the Minister of Finance in December, shows no contribution from the fields. Zimbabwe is on a par with Botswana today in the production and sale of raw diamonds. In Botswana where the operation is conducted in a sound, well managed way, sales of diamonds amount to nearly $4 billion a year and some $2,8 to $3.0 billion finds its way to the Ministry of Finance.

In Zimbabwe where we have to live within our means in fiscal terms, where we cannot borrow or print money, we are struggling with a budget that has not grown in the past 15 months and shows no signs of growth in 2014. Against this background the demands of the Civil Service and the armed forces for a liveable wage is simply impossible to assuage. The only way to significantly increase state revenues and therefore expenditure is to harness the Marange diamonds. If we did so on the same basis as in Botswana, I have no doubt that we could increase revenues to the state by 50 per cent or more. Then there is the crisis in the wider economy – GDP is not growing; companies in all sectors are closing their doors in the face of harsh operating and financial conditions.

Two Banks have closed their doors with the total loss of both their equity and depositors funds, three others are teetering on the edge and should be closed as they are no longer redeemable. That is a quarter of the total number of banks in the country and 10 per cent of the total banking industry.

Capital flight is endemic and runs to billions of dollars since the start of 2013. Inflows are declining and are already at very low levels – someone told me $40 million for the whole of 2013. Liquidity is non-existent and local firms are unable to borrow to fund their operations. We still lose hundreds of jobs every month. The mining industry is stagnant, the agricultural industry, even with decent rains, is going to contract again and other sectors all show signs of strain. Taken together the outlook is for little or no growth and perhaps some contraction in the economy.

If the succession in Zanu (PF) is not clearly established before the inevitable happens, many envisage chaos. Certainly the different factions inside the party will battle for the succession themselves and the military might also be a problem – especially if civilian authority is compromised in any way. I thought vice President Joice Mujuru spoke brilliantly at the recent funeral of another “National Hero” that has bitten the dust.

She clearly controls a majority in the party, but she knows full well that she will be challenged if the baton does not change hands soon.


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26 comments on “Mugabe back from holiday so soon? Eddie Cross
  1. Charlie Cochrane says:

    It may not be in your culture but it is in mine to say ‘Go to hell Robert Gabriel Mugabe!’ Murderer, Torturer, Thief and Destroyer………………….the sooner the better!

    • bam bam says:

      well said charlie ..wouldnt it be great if karma had smacked rgm into the next world already.what a new years present!

  2. LUCY says:

    ‘Two Banks have closed their doors with the total loss of both their equity and depositors funds, three others are teetering on the edge and should be closed as they are no longer redeemable. That is a quarter of the total number of banks in the country and 10 per cent of the total banking industry’



  3. John Thomas says:

    You’ve set the stage Eddie. Problem is many of the likely outcomes look even worse than what we’ve got.

  4. RR says:

    Go back to sleep Eddie. Zimbabwe needs new strong leadership, strong economic and social revival policies and above all, positive action to implement them. Not this continual paper assessment of the Zimbabwe situation that you keep wingeing about. The MDC had their chance, blew it as they were effectively castrated by ZPF at the last election.

  5. TOURIST says:

    Murimi and co please give your zanupf slant on this. Lies , western sanctions , Ian Smith ,Maggie Thatcher , white farmers,etc etc . Pick one and explain this disaster away to zanupf supporters.

  6. Nathaniel Manheru says:

    Stop searching for new leaders, simply visit www,, we are VERY close!!!

  7. NBS says:

    Eddie says Mugabe came back at 7am and Charamba in the dailynews today says he came back at around 6.30pm. No wonder Zimbabweans smell a rat. We are never just told the plain truth. Nothing is normal somehow?? The bottom line here is that Zimbabwe is now being run on a lie. And I believe God will push ZPF and the nation into a corner because there comes a time when our sins must be judged. ZPF are claiming a mandate to rule when they do not have one. God knows that even if many try to turn a blind eye. The decent thing would be for Mugabe to retire and for Mujuru to form a government of national unity until true free and fair elections can be arranged and until we begin to tell the truth we are going to dig our pit deeper and deeper. As a Christian nation we clearly do not know the word of God because if we did we would understand why all this is happening to us. It is called judgment! No repentance! No restoration!

  8. chasura says:

    Biggest problem is that there is a culture that was developed by Bob and Zanu that rewards people not on what they can do but on how much they can shout political rhetoric. The culture that defiles our thinking is too much politics (talking and power struggles) rather than delivery of results. Muchechetere is a very good case study, and it is believed he wasnt (still is) the highest paid non performer in our midst. Rumour has it that some are paid a lot more yet their organisations are milking millions from the economy through losses. Sanctions or not a loss maker is a loss maker, just as much as the whole country as an entity is loss making (more imports than exports with no balance of payment support). Sanctions or not the country is loss making and the buck stops with uncle Bob as the CEO. No matter sanctions are illegal or not the country is its way to being bankrupt. The biggest question is how come? The answer is very simple. Those of us who have the most money (remember in any country up to 20% of the population owns 80% of the capital, in our case they are connected to Zanu) do not bank their money in our local banks. The money is being banked in offshore accounts helping the Europeans mend their bleeding economies. The biggest puppets are those who bank their money outside the country as they contribute to rebuilding the western countries they vilify so much instead of their own. If that money was to be banked locally it would have done a great deal to finance manufacturing and agriculture.

  9. max says:

    Some Zimbabweans behave funny why do you write such things about your leaders.As a father managing just 6 children can be a problem how about 14million people munhu akaoma vakomana. Look at our history our leaders did a lot of good things to us educating us, building schools, hospitals,bridges,new surburbs those are positives but nobody looks at that.Yes I agree there may be problems here and there but lets have respect pse.iam not into politics but just an ordinary Zimbabwean

    • Kevin Watson says:

      And not a particularly well educated or well read Zimbabwean.

    • Manuchi says:

      How can you respect someone who fells the trees that provide the fruit , and now you are all hungry and you say “respect?”. I suggest more nqondo and less mtondo .

  10. chasura says:

    @Max. Politics affect our daily lives whether ordinary or extra-ordinary. Everyone is a politician whether actively participating or not including yourself.

  11. Phibion says:

    The country is in a constitutional crisis. We have only one acting president, what if she dies today from some car accident, who will be in charge? There is no acting vice president. Lets be serious guys we are in a crisis

    • Bhora says:

      There is no constitutional crisis here. If something were to happen to Joyce, the Chief Justice or the speaker of the house or someone like that would take office according to our constitution.

  12. Who says we want muroyi mujuru or zanupf when the master criminal terrorists snuffed it hopefully already. We can only rebuild from the ashes of zpf. Read your political history gullible. You blew it in 2008. Don’t blow it again in 2014. You naives still want nikuv 2018 erections? Crass

  13. Mixed Race says:

    @max,the leaders did not build schools and other things you talk about its you and me who did it through our sweats.This is the problem we face in this country,you give credit where it does not belong due to your partisanship governed by total ignorance.They have looted vital funds which could have given us qualitative services not falling institutions.The western countries are not stupid they know what they are doing-just wait and see what the economy will do to people like Murimi Wanhsi.Friends will turn against friends when things start biting.@NBS-this country is supposed to be Christian country but it is NOT because if it is there would be no such looting and corruption among us.Its a country full of pretenders and fake Christians who deserve punishment from GOD.

  14. GWETA GURU says:

    Mugabe is stupid…finish and claaaaaah. No-one lives forever. He should be praying for God to forgive him. Even iwe Max wacho neZPF yako nguva insvika chete. The old crop will soon disappear and the new will take over. Zimudhara renyu kunge richamera muvhu….hahahaha. God is awesome, he is an equalizer.
    Iwe Max turn to God nguva ichipo…upinde denga.

  15. makandinzwa nani says:

    leave President Mugabe alone and stick to your business…do not try to brainwash us…..we will remain vigilant isu vana vevhu…we have the economy in our hands…and we will drive it where we feel like….you have no say white man in black man’s bizness….go to America and shout all u.want

    • Manuchi says:

      You have no economy and what you call economy is skeletal . Not even any dry skin for you to chew on . Your money went to hell thanks to you and yours truly. Your soil is just about finished when it comes to fertility but your breeding is high while your future is zero and malnutrition is high , so keep smoking your ntsango and maybe you will see less of whats happening and feel good with nothing. Valekile wena !

  16. Wezhira Wezhara says:

    Mr Cross has a terrible disease of always making a bad situation sound 10000 times worse than it is. Mugabe has always gone on holiday in December and recently he has always gone to the far east. In some years he returns early(not because the ‘country/economy’ is on fire) but to spend a part of his vacation in Zim. This has happened even when Msika was alive pakaita Msika Acting Pres in 2006 Jan as a concrete example. It shows that people like Cross thrive on trying to get RGM’s attention. As soon as he is away from the public eye for more than a week their imagination goes into overdrive and they come up with unproven allegations to try to push Mugabe into reacting by for example interrupting his vacation to refute his death/illness. Don’t worry Eddie Bob will be back chiding you and your fellow former landownder kinsmen for willing him dead soon. And yes Mugabe will die one day but guess what Mr Eddie Cross? So will you and I.

    • Manuchi says:

      When a country or living standard is sick and you are born into it , you have the tendency to call it “normal”. But when you go to South Africa , or speak to your elders you will find out what prosperity was and what you missed out on .

  17. max says:

    Regai kutukana asi onesanai mune zvakanaka.Those who pretend to preach democracy are usually the worst dictators even in their private homes.Stop pretending to the world

  18. Johann says:

    The person to blame for this crisis would be Thabo Mbeki of the ANC who suppressed and continues to suppress democracy by withholding the election results of 2001 and by his continual support of an Illegal regime. Take for example this racist statement of Cambridge University educated Thabo “African solution for African problem” This suggests that Africans have to be black and are somehow different/superior to other humans.

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