President Robert Mugabe is highly intelligent, smart, entertaining, funny and revolutionary. I am a massive fan. His speeches are well-articulated, and almost always laden with “real issues”. The man possesses unique qualities that even his own enemies by their own admission admire and respect him for.
By Maynard Manyowa
His policies, though poorly applied, ludicrously self-serving at times and ultimately mere useless tigers made of paper, are essentially very well thought out indices of delectable Pan African tenets.
Mugabe can just about charm anyone anywhere, anytime. He is a super being with a super presence. A lot of people who despise Mugabe in public are embarrassingly private fans of the comrade.
Nelson Chamisa was wooed and charmed in minutes, his once vivacious dislike of Mugabe replaced by an acquiescent chortling demeanour. So too have many journalists and leaders who have stammered and smiled, breath taken by the immense personality of the man.
Mugabe’s leadership is punctuated by his strong personality. Approbation of the nonagenarian is hinged upon, and driven by his unbelievable strength of temperament, charisma and resolve.
While he is perceptibly deserving, it is heartbreakingly sorry that they have taken centre stage. The man is lamentably overshadowing his unimpressive traits in governance.
Charisma is sadly not enough and does not excuse the other mischiefs. Mugabe is a head of State and a key entity in Zimbabwe’s and Africa’s political dynamic. Valuation of the man should include his performance, repertoire and aptitude as a head of State and government.
All the niceties aside, Mugabe, as a leader, is all talk, no walk. He is dismally poor at implementing any of his impressive policies, ideologies and principles. He is what my partner calls a “story teller”. A man whose tête-à-tête is more fantasy than reality, whose utterances are promises, yet conveyances are noughts. Two million jobs of 2013, indigenisation, empowerment, agrarian reform, to mention all but a few, are classic paragons of Mugabe’s artistry. The man is good at drawing tigers on paper.
Someone once said: “It is inconceivable that Robert Mugabe knows the situation on the ground, surely those that update him, are lying to him.”
That could be true, his deputy did question the sanity of a vendor who sells produce on the streets, positing that the man should rather get a job. That is how out of touch with reality he is, plus, what a lame joke right? What job? Where? In Zimbabwe? Hilarious! There are more chances of finding a rabbit and a mouse in bed!
Nonetheless if his informants are spreading falsities and convincing him that all is well in a country literally crumbling to pieces, and he has the audacity to believe them, then Mugabe is dancing on the frills of blind fantasy.
If Mugabe is aware of the dire state of the country, but convinced that the present state of affairs is acceptable and in the long-term beneficial to the general inhabitants, then he is dancing on the frills of tyranny and zero foresight, if he has not traversed them already.
Whether Mugabe is unconcerned, or hopelessly misinformed or both, it is still a damning testament of his headship. You see, governance must have deliverables and measurable outcomes. Yet despite the impressive rhetoric used by Bob, which leaves township youths dancing and village folk expectant, the statistics rudely display that he has overseen Zimbabwe’s slump from a gross domestic product (GDP) the same as Korea’s and near that of China in the late ’80s, early ’90s, to having no GDP to talk of in 2008.
When assessed through the barometer of governance, Mugabe’s repertoire is found strenuously inadequate. Zimbabwe’s economy is on auto-pilot with no currency of its own, unemployment is at a record high and we are pumping forced migrants into other countries like a deranged machine gun on steroids.
He has overseen the demise of almost all of Zimbabwe’s industry. Companies close daily, millions still live in rural reserves and Zimbabwe is now a net food importer.
What a spectacular fall from grace, for a country that was a bread basket. I won’t even touch the sacrosanct — corruption. That minefield needs a part two.
And then the unimpressive “sanctions” trump card, which is continuously employed in defence of “bad governance”. A father who makes excuses is in my book no father at all. Cuba did well under stiffer sanctions, so too has Iran. If one is a leader, they ought to make solutions. I can never negotiate with my two-year-old son to sleep on an empty stomach because of the economy; he will throw a Zulu-style tantrum. Yet we have been hoodwinked into accepting a sub-standard lifestyle by Mugabe and his administration.
Secondly, sanctions had nothing to do with Gukurahundi, or the duo of war veteran payouts and the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which slaughtered the economic stability of Zimbabwe way before sanctions came around. Similarly, Sanctions played no part in the decimation of the agriculture sector by angry war vets and thugs. They play no part in grand corruption in parastatals either.
It is distasteful how the entire world is carried away by Mugabe’s other abilities and omits the significant. I refuse, and I will reiterate, Mugabe is a remarkable man, but his governance of Zimbabwe is just bad. And yes, I said it! An ambiguous indigenisation policy that puts off foreign direct investments is bad governance, so too is persecuting a widow and obsessing with factionalism when millions are hungry.
No need for special diction there, it is just dreadful!