Mugabe’s soft landing, exit strategy

via Mugabe’s soft landing, exit strategy | The Zimbabwe Independent Editor’s Memo with Dumisani Muleya

IF one had to land in Zimbabwe these days from outer space, particularly before President Robert Mugabe’s rather uninspiring inauguration yesterday, they would be thunderstruck by the hype — mostly in the state media — about the re-election of the country’s frail, nearly 90-year-old leader.

The real surprise would not necessarily be about Mugabe’s re-election at 89, a potential entry in the Guinness World (Book of) Records, which on its own is absurd, but the hysteria among his fanatics which might suggest to a stranger that he had been elected to such high office for the first time.

So the question to those who know Mugabe has previously won elections many times before, albeit controversially so since 2000, and led Zimbabwe for 33 years while he started yet another five-year term yesterday which will possibly extend his rule to 38 years in office at 94 without a break is: what’s the fuss all about?

Although it might appear like much ado about nothing to some, there seems to be a method in the madness.

There is a lot about this victory beyond defeating former premier Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party, and by extension their Western allies and, if you stretch it using Zanu PF’s warped Cold War logic, neo-colonialism and imperialist forces behind them.

The real issue appears to be about Mugabe’s grand exit. It looks like there is a script behind all this. In fact, the whole chain of events, starting well before elections, seems to be choreographed to give Mugabe, after years of failure, sustained scathing criticism at home and abroad, and humiliation, a great send-off.

Of course, Mugabe still has five years to serve ahead and he claimed before the polls he will see them through, but the grand exit script looks written all over this.

While he might have wanted his last inauguration yesterday to be a grand historic occasion, it turned out to be a lacklustre affair.

However, the script remains intact. Its thrust appears to be winning the elections first — which Mugabe and his cronies never doubted and even said so in public, begging the question: why? — and then co-opt Tsvangirai and others, including perhaps Welshman Ncube, and run a new government based on elite cohesion.

There was a hint at that towards the tail-end of Mugabe’s speech yesterday.

That way Mugabe gets legitimacy, which he badly needs, and an opportunity to ensure political and economic stability and recovery. This will enable him to have a grand exit from politics, whenever he will go whether before or at the end of his new term, leaving behind a stable Zimbabwe while rescuing whatever remains of his tattered legacy.

After his controversial rule characterised by political repression, human rights abuses, including killings, and economic ruin, as well as isolation, such an end to his reign would be a major turnaround.

Besides, it also gives him an opportunity to resolve his party’s protracted succession issue to save Zanu PF from possible disintegration after his departure.

Obviously state media journalists, vociferously singing praises for Mugabe, are largely happy simply because his win helps them retain their jobs, not because of any serious ideological convictions or political imperatives beyond keeping their snouts in the feeding trough.

So their celebrations and hagiographical eulogies, quite apart from crude ethical and professional aberrations, are understandable.

But the bigger picture is Mugabe’s grand exit. Evidently there are so many hurdles ahead, but if he pulls it off, such a plan would at least close some parts of the horror-ridden chapters of his disastrous authoritarian rule in Zimbabwe.


  • comment-avatar
    Guvnor 9 years ago

    If one considers the zanu muppets rise to power golden, the initial performance at independance silvery, his delivery thereafter can only be measured as leaden. There is indeed more to leadership than cowing the citizens and riding roughshod over the rights and freedoms given in the constitution. There is more to running a state and an economy which should have had an GDP of about 50 billion after 3 decades and is currently wallowing as 6 billion. There is more to leadership than destroying the hopes and dreams of Zimbabweans whilst not having a coherent credible policy to take the nation forward.

  • comment-avatar
    Rock stone 9 years ago

    Zimbabweans it is high time now. ,not to allow our lives to be hold at ransom

  • comment-avatar
    King Tangwena 9 years ago

    Always politics are very dangerous,what about if tsvangson was won with his party MDC-T it was not a fraud ?? Im not a Zimbabwen and l dont support anyone.VOCES VAI VENDER ZIMBABWE PARA OS AMERICANO,

  • comment-avatar
    Naison Nyereyegona 9 years ago

    Dumisani Muleya, President Mugabe has the mandate of the people and therefore all the legitimacy he ever needs and more – the support of the whole of SADC, Africa, Asia, South America and all the well-meaning world. President Mugabe does not need the inclusion of the western puppets and sell outs- the MDC to legitimise his rule. Muleya seems to suggest that President Mugabe should include these sell outs so as to be legitimate-what wishful thinking. No amount of scorn will dumpen our overwhelming diplomatic and political achievement- the endorsement by the whole of Africa, SADC and then being elected by SADC to be its next year’s leader. What an achievement. No leader in the world has ever achieved this. Zimbabwe is over the moon and no amount of scorn will dumpen our joy. Tsvangirai and his cabal of sell outs can go and be in Obama or Cameroon’s cabinets. Let us see if the imperialsts are willing to eat the vomit of the Zimbabwean people by embracing their erstwhile puppets. The west and Muleya are angry that MDC has lost the capacity to hold Zimbabwe to ransom again. Why should we include them in our cabinet to allow imperialists prying eyes and ears in our cabinet? MDC is finished. They are like the west’s used condom and certainly we will not have them.

    • comment-avatar
      Stewart 9 years ago

      What a lovely turn of phrase. It demonstrates your level of intelligence. maturity and insight perfectly

  • comment-avatar
    Hango Yapalala 9 years ago


  • comment-avatar

    You’re sounding as paranoid as Mugabe. You invest so much effort in demonizing the West, but unfortunately Mugabe and his thieves are barely known in the West. He’s just a mosquito that’s occasionally annoying, but mostly ignored. You make it seem like the MDC was some grand scheme by the West to unseat Mugabe, when in fact they really don’t care who runs Zimbabwe, so long as that person is elected freely and fairly by the people of Zimbabwe.

  • comment-avatar
    Murairwa 9 years ago

    Dumisani, you are entitled to your own opinions. Firstly as a free Zimbabwean and secondly, as one in the MDC stable. Hazvitishamisi Thats how you earn a living, thriving on poor uninformed Zimbabweans. Good thing is even R. G. Mugabe himself, he said it openly, that he hears your opposition voices, well calling. And that they were not any different from those of your British masters. Muchanzwa mondo nekuda kutonga isu tichinzwa nekutonga.

  • comment-avatar
    Mazivivi 9 years ago

    If that’s the deal let’s facilitate it fast And efficiantly, this time is a complicated -higher level political chase game.

  • comment-avatar
    Chivula Mapoti 9 years ago

    After the wonderful Nikuv Victory, Robber, Dis-grace,Sarah and John all agrred that a vacation was overdue.
    Where to go they asked, well Dis-grace, Sarah and John opted for the Bahamas, while Robber wanted a visit to Dubai.

    Well, they said, let’s put it to a ‘Democratic Vote’!


    Bahamas – 3
    Dubai – 68

  • comment-avatar
    Lobengula 9 years ago

    Eish Zimbabweans first it was Ndebele vs Shona ,Black vs White , Mdc vs Zanu pf. Is there a time where u will fail to find things that divide you. In SA u forget that Mandela is Xosa or Zuma is Zulu or what ever tribe. In Zimbabwe even the national soccer team is selected or supported on tribal lines. U can boost that you are Zanu pf or Mdc but u drive on the same pot holed roads not water for all or electricity for everyone.
    I appeal to you to agree to disagree and stop this winner take it all mentality. The Asians and the West do business together to be honest. Let the Mdc bring their western friends and Zanu their Asians friends and they meet in Zimbabwe and make the country prosper. The more the better. Bantu benkosi, in 2013 u can still talk of imperialism and want anyone to take u seriously,really.
    I have nothing against Mugabe but I hope this time he shows maturity that comes with old age and goes out of his way to unite the people ,tribal ,political and social – Mandela did it and I am sure RG can did it too( joking) can do it too! Umoya phansi help the old man gain back the respect he once commanded