#mugabe should retire

via President Mugabe should retire  Nehanda Radio Jun 02, 2014 by Wezhira Marihwepi

Zimbabwe is at crossroads. The country’s population is facing a myriad of problems ranging from economic to social and political. The challenges facing the nation require a young, energetic and able leader who has both time and ability to concentrate on what needs to be done.

President Mugabe who is the country’s leader turned 90 in February. He is a man of advanced age suffering from poor health and the constrictions of old age. Expecting Mugabe to take charge of the pressing needs of the nation in between his eye cataract treatment and rumoured cancer therapy is expecting too much from the old man. At 90, President Mugabe can no longer cope with the demands of a nation in turmoil.

Although he was re-elected last year for the umpteenth time, his election victory was greeted with wonder, scepticism and justified worry about the future of the country. His uncanny ability to survive one election after the other has come to characterise his presidency, however coming with direct costs to both the country and future generations.

A man overly reliant on both his trusted liberation comrades and a partisan security force to extend his grip on power, Mugabe’s final years in office are proving to be both challenging and a great disappointment to the nation. You name the category of leadership and the results pretty much range from disappointment to disaster.

Some may blame this analysis for typecasting Mugabe as ineffective but facts on the ground bear witness to that assertion. Looking at all economic and social data, the scientific fact which emerges is that his ZANU PF government is edging the country towards total ruin and destruction.

Mugabe can no longer cope with the pace of educated but corrupt and greedy crooks who are presiding over many of the country’s institutions both in the public and private sectors. There is abundant and shocking moral derelict going unpunished. The situation is worsened by the country’s corrupt police force and an incompetent Prosecutor General who has thus far failed to successfully prosecute any high profile corruption case.

For years Mugabe has been packaged, commoditised and sold to the public as the country’s political messiah. The truth is that Mugabe is no longer anything close to the able leader that his most avid promoters insist he is. His supporters appear to be living in factually different alternate universes.

Only last year, Mugabe was reported to be enjoying a public restoration. Mugabe’s critics will be forgiven for arguing that last year’s voting pattern is testament to how quickly we forget the past. On the policy front, his government appears clueless. His cabinet ministers are mere spectators to the unfolding drama of economic decline.

Since Mugabe’s re-election, the situation on the ground has worsened. Instead of creating more than two million jobs as promised during the election campaign, the country’s industries are continuing to shed more jobs with thousands having lost their jobs in the last 10 months alone. Hordes of unemployed youth roam the streets aimlessly every day. Those who are fortunate enough to have jobs in the civil service are not sure of their next pay day. Treasury is struggling with the wage bill every month.

Majority of people are now informal traders selling wares at every street corner. The country’s iconic First Street which used to be synonymous with the nation’s financial district has been turned into a tomato and vendors’ market.

The country’s infrastructure is in a state of neglect. Potholes are everywhere. Urban councils are failing to provide the necessary services. The economy in general and the finance industry in particular is facing a debilitating liquidity crisis.

The agriculture sector is not spared either. State institutions such as the GMB and Cottco which are responsible for buying crops and cotton from farmers are almost broke, further worsening the plight of rural peasant farmers. The government is even failing to compensate victims of Tokwe Mukorsi, a disaster created by the government’s poor planning. All these are signs of a country in serious trouble.

His government’s about-turn on the controversial indigenisation policy is indicative of the desperate situation his team is facing. His ‘look east’ policy has failed to attract the much needed foreign direct investment. Instead, his looking east has rewarded him with a sore and problematic eye. As expected, his government is beginning to look west particularly Europe, a block he has repeatedly mocked and chastised for its imperialist tendencies.

However, the departure of Mugabe must not be entirely without notice and due credit. As one of the beneficiaries of Mugabe’s benevolent educational policy in the early 80s, it takes an immense amount of courage and intellectual honesty to deal with the facts. His government has provided free education to millions of poor Zimbabweans immediately after the country’s independence.

Although criticised as a political gimmick characterised by partisan politics and nepotism, his government also distributed land to millions of landless blacks whose livelihoods depend solely on farming. There is abundant evidence to suggest that Zimbabwe’s intellectual scholarship is divided over the land issue.

But why does Mugabe want to die in office? Some argue that his contemptuous attitude towards retirement is influenced by his past. During his formative political career years, he spent more than a decade in detention reportedly for political activism. In the early 80s, he presided over a government fighting a civil war under which atrocious crimes were allegedly committed by his military. These experiences and commissions could have influenced his desire to die in office both due to a sense of eternal entitlement and fear of reprisals should he retire.

On the other hand however, Mugabe’s continued stay in power is partly due to the quality of opposition within our body politic. None of the current players is remotely qualified to lead a nation so bedevilled with problems. Our political theatre lacks a charismatic leader who is transformational, an organic thinker and astute strategist.

Of the current players, Ncube is a selfish individual who keeps personal vendettas and has no qualities to lead a nation. Makoni is an overrated fellow who jumps from one political friendship to the next with no clear vision. Tsvangirai is politically blind and has failed to utilise his popularity to propel himself to the presidency.

Biti, the new rebel kid on the block is proving to be a political novice and amateur with nothing to offer except his ‘Tsvangirai must go’ mantra. Mutambara did well to keep quiet after realising his student activism was different from national politics. Dabengwa should simply retire from active politics for he is clueless about what needs to be done.

Within ZANU PF itself, the situation is no better. Those who are rumoured to be vying for Mugabe’s post are equally inept. His immediate junior vice President Mujuru has time and again provided worrying glimpses of her leadership qualities. She was recently filmed condoning corruption, a shocking portrait of leadership deficiencies.

Her long-time nemesis Mnangagwa is no different. Besides thinking that his friendship with the military top brass is a ticket to the presidency, he has done nothing to suggest that he is a capable leader. ZANU PF appears to have no immediate and credible alternative choice to stand as successor.

After 34 years in power, time has told a tale of friendships and perennial foes within ZANU PF. In his grand scheme of continuous survival, President Mugabe has surreptitiously promoted or at the very least turned a blind eye to factionalism within his party while openly ridiculing those with ambition to take over from him.  That has been his hallmark stratagem for dying in office. For more than three decades, Mugabe has kept both his party and the nation guessing about his retirement plans if any.

But who will take over from Mugabe? Judging by the characters and calibre of possible successors both within and outside ZANU PF, the picture which emerges is not impressive. None of them can take Mugabe’s position and steer the country out of problems.

The solution lies in having these top politicians work together under a coalition government. The best way forward will be to form a government where Joyce Mujuru becomes the country’s President deputised by Morgan Tsvangirai. The arrangement that was obtaining during the GNU era where the country had a Prime Minister should be re-introduced. Simba Makoni becomes Prime Minister deputised by Simon Khaya Moyo.

If however the country wants to maintain the traditional setup of two vice Presidents, then Mujuru should become President deputised by Tsvangirai as first vice President while Simon Khaya Moyo becomes second vice President.  Simba Makoni remains Prime Minister deputised by Mnangagwa.

Painful to fathom as it may appear, ‘never’ is not a word to be used in the game of politics. The suggested arrangement is the only viable option that will provide the much needed political balance as all major political players will be included. The country needs true leaders who are ready and willing to compromise. The situation calls for genuine and concerted diplomatic activity towards the proposed end.

Mugabe has done his part. It is highly irresponsible for Zimbabweans in general and ZANU PF in particular to keep flogging and pushing Mugabe to continue with the race yet signs appear to show a limping man who is in no shape to keep going. The country needs to take steps to prepare for his inevitable departure and protect its future. The impending December party congress may be the convenient platform to use as an opportunity for achieving an outcome that benefits both the nation and his party.

Our fears and compulsions are accounting for the economic mess we are in as a country. Whatever the case, the nation and in particular ZANU PF should put on the gauntlet and bite the bullet. That dreaded time for retiring Mugabe is now for the sake of the nation. In part, the legitimacy of his presidency must be derived from his ability to effectively carry out his executive duties, a role he is no longer able to play.

When change finally comes and people begin to compare, Mugabe’s final years in office will emerge as the most catastrophic ever. His legacy will be more disastrous for his party ZANU PF which will struggle to shack off the negative image created by his presidency.

Wezhira Marihwepi is a Zimbabwean writer. He can be contacted at wmarihwepi@gmail.com



  • comment-avatar
    Zvomukonde 8 years ago

    When Tsvangirayi was head of governemt even with the little power he had ,He brought stability to the country and a stop to the inflation. Results on the ground show he is an able leader. Mutambara is a foolish man.

  • comment-avatar
    suziq 8 years ago


  • comment-avatar
    matombo chiremba 8 years ago

    For what good reason should joyce Mujuru lead the nation ahead of Morgan Tsvangirai? Tsvangirai does not have to be doing the thinking, he has to mobilize the masses while his appointed government does the work. In fact all we need is to halt corruption, recover some of the stolen money (by ZPF functionaries) and open the country to investment and tourists, get farmers to start farming again and miners mining without the indigenization albatross and the economy of this country will start ticking again. Tsvangirai is the man for this job if we have free and fair elections one day!!!

  • comment-avatar
    Roving Eagle 8 years ago

    Who is going to waste time prosecuting an ailing 90-year old. Staying in power because of fear of prosecution is very exaggerated.

    • comment-avatar
      JOHNSON 8 years ago

      There is no Hague anywhere. Who said that…….No one is going to The Hague. That’s scapegoating and exaggerating!! We are talking freedom, economy and sanity here! The country is in tatters. Hey, how we need economkic sensibility and political freedom…..eish!!

  • comment-avatar
    zanupf fear me 8 years ago

    Just another failed thesis by puffed up pH.d aspirant. Gullible naive armchair academic irrelevancies

  • comment-avatar
    Mlimo 8 years ago

    Mugabe retired 34 years ago judging by the performance of the govt. Now he’s just a carcass waiting to for a space in hell.

  • comment-avatar

    He has been made to believe that everybody loves him and we all want him to stay and are all putting in petitions to Heaven so that he can be allowed to live and rule Zimbabwe forever.When he goes for inaugurations and funerals in other countries and The Herald tells him that he got the loudest cheers he senserily believes he is so loved everybody aches for him to stay…….
    Deluded…he is the epitome of delusion.!!!!

  • comment-avatar
    nyoni 8 years ago

    Whezira what a spot on reflection on our incompetent politicians. The question one beckons to ask are we also incompetent by voting these clowns in? Mmmm!

  • comment-avatar
    Tinomunamataishe 8 years ago

    Another suggestion for a half baked solution. The solution is not to have another coalition government of some sort but I think to have fresh free and fair elections and let the will of the people prevail. Let the elections be conducted by a neutral body like the UN and not the compromised SADC and let everybody Zimbabwean be given the chance to vote.

  • comment-avatar
    sfine 8 years ago

    nzyanyika nobakwesu zilayinda

  • comment-avatar
    blackhammer 8 years ago

    In this coalition of the ‘willing’who answers to the wishes of the masses? Brilliant piece Wezhira but, our problems stem from the fact that we have been appeasing each other throughout our history. Three quarters of your article is about how Zanu has been kissing Mugabe’s back side for generations. Now you are begging the whole nation to join in? We have gone this far and you cannot be serious that we take a few steps back to where we were a decade ago. Some of us were opposed to the GNU because we knew MDC were pulling Zanu from a hole. Zanu are now half way down back in and this is not the time to sound alarm bells. Let them descend a little bit more and Zimbabweans will soon cover the hole unlike yester years. It’s just a matter of time. Man we got a problem!
    Simon M Tozvireva.

  • comment-avatar
    Mlimo 8 years ago

    Giotto keep the pressure on don’t let up till he is gone

  • comment-avatar
    Sangoma veMheni 8 years ago

    Simba Makoni is the most capable of the current group of politicians. Tsvangirai is overrated and he has proved his worth already. (Or should i say worthlessness)

  • comment-avatar
    Rukweza 8 years ago

    Shona tribe made mugabe to be what he is by voting for him thinking having a shona speaker was fixing non shona manje mamama his not going to die till 120years forward with bob

  • comment-avatar
    Maipisi 8 years ago

    This is a plagarised script from the American ‘Operation Shumba’ document. Zimbabweans are aware of the British and Americans plans to install their proxies on the pretext of forming a coalition government. The MDC and others will have to wait until 2018 for a chance to once again attempt to win hearts and minds of Zimbabweans eagerly working hard to improve their livelihoods under debilitating and illegal economic sanctions.