Has the economy proved Mugabe’s illegitimacy?

via ZimbabweSituation Facebook November 6, 2013 By Dr Clifford Chitupa Mashiri

Contrary to assertions by Zanu-PF propagandists, Zimbabwe’s economy seems to have proved Robert Mugabe’s illegitimacy as President following the disputed polls on 31 July 2013.

If you missed, the state-owned and fiercely partisan Herald newspaper website on 5 November won the trophy for waxing lyrical about Robert Mugabe’s ‘presidency’ as the economy grinds to a halt as street vending becomes the industry of choice in Zimbabwe’s high and low density areas.

Totally oblivious of the steep economic decline in the country since Mugabe’s landslide made in Israel, as typified by reports of Zimbabwe’s university graduates surviving on vending, The Herald’s top news headlines outsprinted the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC’s) ‘Top Stories’. There was nothing uplifting in the state media’s news reports; let alone demand for leadership and accountability by the Zanu-PF regime.

Despite reports by the independent press of ‘Manufacturing sector in crisis’, ‘Zimbabwe tumbles on World Bank rankings’, ‘NRZ seeks permission to lay-off thousands’,  ‘Zanu-PF at war with itself’ and ‘Poor policies affect Zim’, The Herald raved about: ‘President Mugabe returns’, ‘Cash for raided forex holders’,‘3500 robbed in city taxi kidnappings’, ‘President in SA for joint conference’, ‘President Mugabe arrives in SA’, ‘Zim military on alert against Renamo’, and ‘2014 National Budget presentation to be delayed’.

Following closely behind fellow comrades was the state broadcaster, ZBC with: “Zim’s shared history with Cuba’, ‘Intelligence gurus should defeat terrorism’, ‘President Mugabe back from SADC, Great Lakes summit’, ‘Zambian envoy meets Prof Moyo’, ‘Provincial polls credible: Zanu-PF’. With such Soviet-era news reporting, no wonder why Zimbabwe remains backward.

On the other hand, the independent Daily News (5 November 2013) noted that Zimbabwe’s unemployment levels are “escalating at astronomical rates despite promises from the Zanu-PF led government that at least 2.2 million jobs would be created.”

However, it is the paper’s revelation that at least 30,000 graduates churned out from universities and tertiary colleges every year are resorting to desperate measures, with some forced into menial jobs including vending, which is really heart rending. As the late Prof Masipula Sithole once observed, by expanding education, Mugabe could be digging his own grave.

The sad news does not come as a surprise to those who have been following closely events in the former British colony of Southern Rhodesia. For example, in an unpublished opinion paper that I wrote on 3 August 2013 entitled: ‘Why a victory for Robert Mugabe is bad for Zimbabwe’, I contradicted Roy Agyemang’s article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper entitled: ‘Why a victory for Robert Mugabe would be good for Zimbabwe’ published on 02 August 2013.

Despite sending my 5-paper paper to The Guardian on 3 August, it has still not been published. Agyemang claimed Mugabe had proved critics “at home and abroad wrong with a brand of political independence now yielding economic freedom.” It was that sweeping statement that inspired my response.

After reading Mr Agyemang’s article, he forgot to provide evidence of the economic freedom that he said was being yielded by Mugabe’s brand of political independence. Instead, prominent Zimbabwe economist Eric Bloch also foresaw the present-day poor performance of the economy in his article, ‘Elections accelerating economic decline’, The Zimbabwe Independent, 19 July 2013.

Bloch asserted that the economy having intensively declined [under the stewardship of Robert Mugabe] from 1997 to 2008, “it was good that there was some economic upturn from 2009 (once the so-called Government of National Unity came into being) notwithstanding that the extent of the recovery fell-short of what was needed.”

The Bulawayo-based economist perceptively pointed out that the change in the formerly moderate anticipations had, within weeks, radically changed. Some analysts argued that Mugabe has reached his sell–by date as a champion for economic growth and development.

Others saw a gloomy outlook for the economy in the event of Mugabe winning the presidential poll that took place on July 3. For instance, see Chris Muronzi’s, ‘Death knell for economy if Mugabe wins’, Zimbabwe Independent, 26 July 2013). Mugabe is seen as bereft of new ideas to stimulate growth of the economy.

It is true as asserted by Mr Agyemang that Robert Mugabe belongs to a dying breed of politicians on the African continent. There is no doubt that he was moulded in the politics of African nationalism which was radicalised through armed resistance to settler colonialism.

But, Mugabe transformed himself from the liberation war hero to an aged tyrant, surpassing the one depicted in The Treatise of the Government of Florence by Girolamo Savanarola in the introduction to Nicollo Machievelli’s The Prince.

Most significantly, the man who crafted Mugabe’s executive presidency law, learned lawyer and academic the late Dr Eddison Zvobgo expressed concern that Mugabe had failed to pass on the baton by overstaying in power.

Notwithstanding, the MDC’s complacency, Mr Agyemang confidently claimed that ‘more dramatically, the MDC, Mugabe’s supposed bête noire, is on course to a crushing defeat in the latest election.’

But Mr Agyemang seemed unaware of the expose by The Daily Mail on Sunday (“Proof Mugabe buys elections”, 20/07/13), that top secret documents shown to the paper indicated there was a multi-million dollar strategy allegedly led by security forces in alliance with the Chinese Communist Party and Nikuv (an Israeli firm) to allegedly ‘neutralise hostile votes’ in urban areas where MDC support is highest.

Furthermore, an analysis of the June 2013 voters roll found significant anomalies including that 2 million young voters mainly in urban areas (mainly MDC strongholds) were unregistered as voters. Similarly, 3 million exiled Zimbabwean exiles (mostly opposition supporters) were disenfranchised by the regime. If there is nothing dubious about Zimbabwe’s electronic voters roll, why are the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Registrar General withholding it despite court petitions?

The question now is ‘Has the economy proved Mugabe’s illegitimacy?’ Indications are that to real investors, Mugabe’s regime remains illegitimate due to the disputed election. The dictator’s claim of election ‘victory’ is further eroded by reports that Zanu-pf allegedly rigged its own provincial elections. As a result, the country is facing famine and grinding poverty as Mugabe dithers on tackling choking corruption that is bleeding Chiadzwa diamonds despite posturing about Masimirembwa’s alleged role in the US$6 million Diamond Gate scandal.

Admittedly, some reports claim a bumper tobacco harvest by a select few who benefited from Zanu-PF’s violent land grab albeit after 18 white farmers were killed and 620 000 farm workers lost their jobs and homes as well as citizenship for some.

In light of the return by finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, empty-handed from meetings with IMF officials amid calls on the Zanu-pf regime to ask for debt forgiveness, there is vindication for those of us who argued that Mugabe can rig polls but not the economy.

About the author:

A holder of a PhD in International Relations (COU) obtained through rigorous study via distance learning, Clifford Chitupa Mashiri is a fulltime PhD (Social Sciences) candidate at the London South Bank University and is the author of Robert Mugabe: A Tyrant’s Quest for Legitimacy. Zimanalysis2009@gmail.com


  • comment-avatar
    Pastor 9 years ago

    We will not be swayed by the attempts of Mugabe and his party to blame Zimbabwe’s economic misfortunes and disastrous economic mismanagement – on others that maintain targeted sanctions on a select group of individuals and entities.Those who benefit most from the status quo – influential officials within the Zimbabwean government and the defense and security sectors – will no doubt remain the most vocal critics and they will continue to rely on state domination of the media to perpetuate misperceptions about this policy.

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    farai 9 years ago

    Seeing you are still learning it’s safe to assume you are a beneficiary of the same educational policies you now criticize. You should consider that odd. A PHD holder on one hand and a PHD student on the other. How many PHD’s are you pursuing and for what purpose?

    I have tried to identify your one big idea in you article, unsuccessfully so. All you have done is review literature from others and that’s hardly inspired academic stuff. Which economy has ever been turned around in 74 days? Are you aware the incoming government is in consultation with all major stakeholders as they prepare to draw up their first budget and implement their party manifesto. It’s not copy and paste politics or donor driven beganomics, neither is it theoretic academic stuff it’s cutting edge economics. How to reverse economic decline under sanctions using local resources and ingenuity. You can’t imagine it because it was not in your study guides or recommended reading material. You can’t see it because you are visually challenged. Watch and learn! Maybe you can base your 3rd PHD on this stuff!

    Can you prove that 3 million Zimbabwean over 18 are in the diaspora? What is your source? The 2 million youths you claim to have been denied a vote had 5 years to register unless they all turned 18 years old in July 2013. In any case, can you prove this 2 million figure and it’s political allegiance, again what’s your source?

    The shock of MDC-T’s defeat is gradually settling in. The MDC-T now accepts their campaign was severely
    handicapped and the calibre of their candidates very challenged. They also acknowledge that there are certain things they did that they shouldn’t have done. The bold and daring ones are pointing at the rot in the head. They are even talking of going BACK to the drawing board. To redesign what? An acceptance of defeat by another name? How else do you expect them to accept that they were defeated fair and square? Soon Economics and Politics will amicably separate as they reach a realization that their interests are not always the same and sometimes are irreconcilable. I predict in 12 months, the west will back full force in the Zimbabwean economy. MDC is COSTING them big time OPPORTUNITIES.

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      Pastor 9 years ago

      Common sense is not so common.The human brain is a complex organ with the wonderful power of enabling man to find reasons for continuing to believe whatever it is that he wants to believe.It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.God bless you my child.See you in another 33 years…………

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      Tiger Shona 9 years ago

      “I predict in 12 months, the west will back full force in the Zimbabwean economy.”

      Talk is cheap, and that is wishful thinking.

      The economy is in this state because of mismanagement and corruption.
      Why would the West pour resources into a bottomless pit??

      Farai, go and hand back what you have stolen. That would be a positive start.

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      Rudadiso 9 years ago

      Farai, why does a man who have been in charge of a country for as long as Mugabe has been seek to turn it around 33 years later? What did he do to ruin it in the first place and how will he know how to fix it if he was not aware his policies were ruing it in the first place?

      In case you are not aware of it Farai, Presidents in other countries are accountable for how their countries turn out. By 1997, while our soldiers were dying in the jungles of the Congo and we were spending in excess of US$1 million dollars a day, we had stopped paying our debts to the IMF and World Bank.

      So please, Mugabe has not had just 74 days to turn around the economy; he had more than 3 decades. Otherwise, what would be the point of calling him the head of state and government and commander in chief of the Zimbabwe defence forces? Power without accountability?

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      Genzo 9 years ago

      Well said here,this PHD man we tired of his trash.

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    Farai,if you are not educated don’t discourage others.Uducation is needed especially PHDs.For your own information, one needs to do recognisable research , world acclaimed, to be awarded a Doctorate.Proff Chris Banaard, the pioneer of heart surgery, did his research on heart conditions.Through his research, people all over the world can have heart transplants and it has saved millions.So please don’t show your utter ignorance by discouraging education

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    Fallenz 9 years ago

    Oh yes, it is costing the West major opportunities… major opportunities to pour more money down the bottomless pits of ZANUPF bank accounts.

    Show me the money…! Where did the money go…??? How did all the bigwigs become so wealthy…??? It was stolen, and they want more… period… the end.

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    kenneth R nedziwe 9 years ago

    Farai mugabe and zanupfu have been in power since April 18 1980. Where are you coming from ?

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    Peter tosh 9 years ago

    Farai u are not sane.

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    farai 9 years ago

    Tino, have you heard of Vivien Thomas? Do some research child! I have scant regard for copy and paste theorists of the mold of Clifford. What is his big idea? That an economic miracle should have been achieves in 75 days?

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      Pastor 9 years ago

      To each his sufferings: all are men,Condemned alike to groan;
      The tender for another’s pain,The unfeeling for his own.
      Yet ah! why should they know their fate?Since sorrow never comes too late,And happiness too swiftly flies.Thought would destroy their paradise.No more; where ignorance is bliss,’Tis folly to be wise.Blessed are the poor in spirit.Ignorance is bliss.

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      Farai you are an idiot. Only idiots support Mugabe. Your long comments has nothing in them.

      Empty vessels make the most noise. Idiot Farai you are one of them.

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    Charles Chamunorwa 9 years ago

    This election was rigged fulltime. God intervene for our future

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    Shebah 9 years ago

    Mashiri this is all literature review taken from a selected anti Zimbabwe authors. You talk of neutralising the urban voter what number and were they refused to register. So you believe the urban voter can out number the rural voter. Please use your Phd to research on the numbers. You also talk of disenfranchised DISPORA voter. What does the law say Mr Phd – every Zimbabwean can vote provided he/she is registered and he /she brings him /herself to the ballot box. Why didnt they come to vote. You wanted ZPF to sponsor their flight. We sponsored our members why didnt MDCT sponsor their members. You talk of 2 million young urban voters being deregistered – where is the proof. Why are they not complaining – is was good justification to go to ConCourt and show that one had been deregistered, good proof for complain.
    Now about ellegitimacy and the economy – how do they mix. Europe suffered a heavy economic slow down the past 5 years, was they ellegitimacy. Failing to get funding from IMF is that a result of elligitimacy. If the majority say we want Mugabe and the IMF say we will not fund you until you remove Mugabe is that illegitimacy. My learned doctor come and do a research in Zimbabwe and find out why exactly the rural population voted for Mugabe and then report to the world.

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    Rudadiso 9 years ago

    Shebah, Zimbabwe stopped debt repayment to the IMF and the World Bank in 1997. That is why we cannot get new loans.

    Besides, we have a look East policy don’t we? Why then has it not been possible to borrow from our friend from the east? Could it be due to the fact that the Chinese, who by the way have provided loans to numerous countries and continue to do so are aware that we have a badly run economy?

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    munzwa 9 years ago

    Farai, investors have a number of (African ) countries to choose to invest in, Zim appears to be in no more than a holding pattern while new investment is gravitating to these other countries.Ask yourself why?

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    farai 9 years ago

    Peter Tosh. Is that tosh the most you could master. It must be painful to be so challanged and so disadvantaged.

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    Bhola 9 years ago

    Mr (not Dr) Mashiri… Clearly they have been handing out doctorates for mahala on whatever internet college you attended. How can the economy give a president illegitemacy? Or legitimacy for that matter? So if the economy was firing on all cylinders, but there was massive rigging, would that mean that the president would be legitimate? If Moregirls Tsvangirayi had won the election, but failed to turn the economy around in 74 days, would that make him an ilegitimate President? I think you should ask for your tution back.


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    Shebah 9 years ago

    Rudadiso I know that but I refer to the reporter who say illegitimacy has caused the economy not to respond to Mugabe’s appointment. Is illegitimacy the cause of poor economic performance

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    shallow minded and ignorant. 75days? where were you the past 33years? Mars????

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    Angel 9 years ago

    While the President, Robert Mugabe, cradles his well-fed belly, he offers little comfort to the nation, reminding us in speeches and interviews that like most of the problems faced by Zimbabwe; hunger is a result of actions sanctioned by others. Mugabe has crippled Zimbabwe, reducing most of its people to beggars or barterers and black marketers. The ultimate irony is that, whether by accident or design, it has taken 28 years for them to prove the racist detractors correct when they prophesied that the incoming Zanu-PF government would be incapable of governing the country. “It makes absolute nonsense… that most of our arable land is still in the hands of our erstwhile colonisers,” he declares. Harvests plummet and Zimbabwe has to rely on food imports and aid supplies. Seven million people are at risk of starvation.