Gerontocracy Ruins Mugabe Legacy

via allAfrica.com: Zimbabwe: Gerontocracy Ruins Mugabe Legacy 18 January 2015

A gerontocracy can be described as a societal system of rule where leadership is reserved for elders — usually only those over 60 years of age who are meant to rule until they die.

Belief in such an idea was most common and famous in the ancient world where political power accumulated with age.

This is the leadership style that President Robert Mugabe (pictured right) and Zanu PF have pursued — a concept that has led to Zimbabwe wearing the same socks for a whole 35 years!

Curiously though, you will find youthful leaders such as Saviour Kasukuwere defending this moribund system of rule with their lives. Of course, the result of this senselessness is the inevitable destruction of otherwise good and well-earned legacies.

Since he came into power in 1980, Mugabe has recycled himself and a cabal of bootlickers in the closed corridors of power. That is why names like Emmerson Mnangagwa, Joice Mujuru and Didymus Mutasa (until recently), Sydney Sekeramayi, Ignatius Chombo etc. have become synonymous with the Mugabe government.

There would have been many more, had it not been for merciful death!

Mugabe turns 91 next month and, even though he claims fitness of a fiddle, his last public appearance at his party congress in December confirmed that he is after all, a mortal being who, like the rest of us, is vulnerable to old age.

Whoever is lying to him that at his age, he is still fit to captain a rundown country like Zimbabwe, on the strength of accumulated wisdom, puts him in real danger of throwing away a good legacy.

Kasukuwere said last week: “The question you want to ask is, why are young people not doing anything to challenge President Mugabe, who is 90? … He is an outstanding father for our nationalism and we support his position because it will lead to a better life for our people.”

“… It’s not about the age,” he added. “What if you are young and just a drunkard as well as corrupt or young and irresponsible, should we entrust you with the leadership of the country just because you are young? We look at the fine qualities, irrespective of what people are saying.”

The fact of life however is that it does not matter how fit a 91-year-old person may possibly be, actively running a country in an economic cesspit such as Zimbabwe is squatting cannot be an easy task.

Mugabe’s needless grip on power, in the hopeless effort to save Zanu PF from splitting, has resulted in the demise of the country’s economy while, ironically encouraging and in fact speeding up the demise of the party.

Because he wants to die in office, Mugabe found himself surrounding himself with ancient colleagues in both party and government — so as not to appear conspicuously too old. Despite endless outcries over this recycling of dead wood, Mugabe has remained stuck with this gerontocratic mentality.

He therefore has himself to blame for this danger on his legacy. The lame excuse that he is in office because he has been voted for should be dismissed with contempt. Nobody is ever forced to contest an election — or to cheat in the face of defeat.

There is empirical evidence the world over that those who overstay their welcome will of necessity put their host in a state of perpetual discomfort. The name Robert Mugabe was revered like no other in the history of this country in the period leading to and soon after independence.

But that same name now evokes anger among poverty-ravaged Zimbabweans and currently, even among his own revolutionary comrades.

Mugabe’s name features strongly among prominent men in history, Napoleon Bonaparte, Tshaka Zulu, Benito Mussolini, Nelson Mandela, Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Kwame Nkrumah, George Washington, Mao Tse Tung, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, Samora Machel, Kamuzu Banda — men whose fortunes blossomed, but had doors of those fortunes necessarily closed when time came.

Some, like the legendary Mandela, left the arena even when millions all over the world wanted them to stay. Others, like Adolf Hitler, took their lives because they feared they would be killed by their own people. Others too, like Banda, old tearful Kaunda of Zambia and more recently Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Libya’s Muammah Gadhafi, had their political careers, even life, obliterated by winds of democratic change.

President Mugabe appears stuck in the league of a tiny minority of leaders who fail to acknowledge the principle of political diseconomies of scale.

There is no doubt at all that President Mugabe has individually contributed invaluably towards the independence and well-being of Zimbabwe. But it remains a fact too, that his contribution towards the collective pain and suffering of the people of this country during his reign, now outweighs his achievements.

While there is a strong case for the President’s retirement, there is even a stronger case for his departure. The laws of this country, and indeed the world over, do not permit civil or public servants to be employed beyond the age of 65.

This universally-acceptable position is justified by both intellectual and biological reason that all human beings — even those that claim to be in their positions on an election ticket — are subject to deteriorating mental and physical capacity with age.

It is very difficult to convince anyone, Your Excellency, that at such an advanced age, your capacity for good judgment can still satisfy the demands of millions of young Zimbabweans.

Zimbabweans are not ancient Greeks who were comfortable to be led by centurions. They are eager to see the back of the 35-year-old government that has taxed its subjects to their knees, wrecked the economy and driven hundreds of thousands into unemployment misery.

Feedback:tchipangura@standard.co.zw. WhatsApp: 0773 047 914

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 8
  • comment-avatar
    The Mind Boggles 6 years ago

    I’m relatively young I’m white and I once met Mr Mugabe in the early 1980’s as a child , for many years it was something I would boast about “I had met and shaken hands with the great man” today if I met him in the street I would bow my head in shame!!!

    • comment-avatar
      Ndonga 6 years ago

      What…talk of Mugabe’s legacy?…here is a little bit of history…
      In 1976 I was a young man starting my work life as a teacher in Amaveni Township in Kwekwe. I boarded there with a relative who worked in the jail in the town. Our ZANU PF leaders were at that time detained there. Many a story I heard from my relative about these ten men in the special section of the jail where they were detained. Even down to the books that they were reading and what food they were eating and what visitors that they had.
      My questions were endless. However, my relative began to paint a picture of Mugabe as an scheming, power hungry, unhappy, unfriendly and friendless man who was constantly in conflict with people…even with, no especially with, his fellow prisoners. His only friend appeared to be an American nun who used to come often from the University in Harare to tutor him on his studies. (He passed on this tutoring skill on to his dear wife Grace, to allow her to get her PhD in weeks rather than years).
      I even got first hand news when Mark Chona from Zambia and Brand Fourie from South Africa came to the jail to persuade these ZANU PF leaders to support the then détente exercise that was being proposed by South Africa and the Front Line States. Those were exciting times. But then I heard that Mugabe had organised the sacking of Ndabaningi Sithole as ZANU PF’s leader, only to replace with himself. This was right in the middle of the détente negotiations and it threatened to scupper them. The argument of the Front Line Leaders was that Ndabaningi Sithole, as a recognised leader known internationally, could sell any ceasefire agreement to the World. Whereas Mugabe, on the other hand, as an unknown person would not be able to do the same. Eventually Mr Chona and Mr Fourie forced Mugabe to return the leadership of ZANU PF to Ndabaningi Sithole.
      Later these leaders all left the jail and were taken to the Kwekwe airstrip where they joined Joshua Nkomo and the ZAPU leadership which had just flown there in a Dakota aeroplane from their detention at Gonakudzingwa. Later after much singing and rejoicing at the airstrip they all left for Harare in the same Dakota. And Mugabe’s scheming to win the ZANU PF leadership back again is now history…a sad history.
      Little did I know is those far off days that this very same dour and friendless Mugabe would drive me into exile far from my home and drive our newly born Zimbabwe into poverty, despair and ruin.
      So to talk of Mugabe’s legacy makes no sense to me. A legacy is a gift, or something good, that a person leaves behind when he dies. Mugabe will leave us no gift, and certainly nothing good…all that was good he has destroyed. All he will leave us is failure and a wicked wife with a crazy desire for power…even stronger than that of himself.
      All that can now give us hope for our Zimbabwe’s future is Trevor Huddleston’s Prayer for Africa:
      God Bless Africa,
      Guard her children,
      Guide her leaders,
      And give her peace, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

      ***

  • comment-avatar
    Swagman 6 years ago

    They talk about a legacy – this idiot
    has NO legacy.
    The only claim to fame he has, was being
    a co-ordinator in the liberation struggle.
    He never saw front line, active duty, he
    was, as he is today, a coward!
    The first 15 month months might have bought
    him a legacy, had he not slaughtered 20,000
    Ndebele.
    The next 15 years might have solidified that
    legacy, had he not murdered, driven off and
    ruined Zimbabwe’s white farmers.
    He might have had a legacy, had he gone about
    his ‘Africa for (black) Africans’,like a statesman.
    No, he has NO legacy, all he has is SHAME!

  • comment-avatar
    Parangeta 6 years ago

    They talk about a legacy – this idiot
    has NO legacy.
    The only claim to fame he has, was being
    a co-ordinator in the liberation struggle.
    He never saw front line, active duty, he
    was, as he is today, a coward!
    The first 15 month months might have bought
    him a legacy, had he not slaughtered 20,000
    Ndebele.
    The next 15 years might have solidified that
    legacy, had he not murdered, driven off and
    ruined Zimbabwe’s white farmers.
    He might have had a legacy, had he gone about
    his ‘Africa for (black) Africans’,like a statesman.
    No, he has NO legacy, all he has is SHAME!

  • comment-avatar
    PissedOff 6 years ago

    They talk about a legacy – this idiot
    has NO legacy.
    The only claim to fame he has, was being
    a co-ordinator in the liberation struggle.
    He never saw front line, active duty, he
    was, as he is today, a coward!
    The first 15 month months might have bought
    him a legacy, had he not slaughtered 20,000
    Ndebele.
    The next 15 years might have solidified that
    legacy, had he not murdered, driven off and
    ruined Zimbabwe’s white farmers.
    He might have had a legacy, had he gone about
    his ‘Africa for (black) Africans’,like a statesman.
    No, he has NO legacy, all he has is SHAME!

  • comment-avatar
    dusty 6 years ago

    I must ask the question? Is Mugabe a king? Or is he a president? Are we a Kingdom of old, or are we a democracy (supposedly). Why have the papers started referring to us as his subjects? We are citizens of Zimbabwe and more importantly citizens of the world. I have a brain and I think for myself. I will never do what I don’t feel is right and I would never do anything that cabal of idiots of have stolen the last elections want me to do.

    I did not vote for them. And vote I did, as I am a citizen not a subject. it is demeaning to label us that. STOP IT!

  • comment-avatar
    Nyoni 6 years ago

    To true Dusty. We are not subjects. No wonder they take advantage of us. The clowns from a circus.

  • comment-avatar
    Johnno 6 years ago

    What really boggles my mind is “Does Robert Mugabe honestly believe that in this 21st century the idea of life presidency is is a tenable idea”?