People don’t listen to Mugabe anymore

via People don’t listen to Mugabe anymore – The Zimbabwean 3.9.2015

Ahead of President Robert Mugabe’s state of the nation address (SONA), his critics predicted that it would be non-event. When he delivered the address, it was a non-event.

Never mind the isolated and lame pockets of propaganda that tried to sanitise it, the address was nothing but a sorry articulation of the Zimbabwean situation.
One good way to assess a statement by the head of state is to look at the reaction of the stock exchange. When the speech contains positive signals, the stock market jumps upwards. When the opposite happens, stocks shed value. It is rarely any other way, especially in a context where the president has not delivered a SONA in a long time. When a SONA attracts diffidence, something is very wrong. It means no-one is listening. Various inferences can be made from this indifference. The first set of interpretations has to do with the message and the other with the messenger. Mugabe’s SONA was much ado about little, if not nothing. The highlight of the speech in parliament was the 10 point economic “rescue” package.

Nothing new
While the state-controlled media tried to make a lot of noise about it, it was in essence a weary cut and paste job. There is nothing new about cut and pasted stuff, just a change in syntax and position of ideas. The 10-point plan was simply faded repackaging of ZimAsset and convoluted borrowing from past economic blueprints. All the material that stood outside the plan is what we have always known.
Even then, the speech should have attracted some reaction from the bourse, despite its new oldness. We should have seen it at least shrugging its shoulders or shedding a tear or two. But it simply went on with that unmistakable business-as-usual attitude. That means there is something wrong with the messenger, the head of state.
The bourse and the Zimbabwean citizenry have fundamentally lost faith in Mugabe as a bringer of good news. They have  stopped assuming that anything of essence can come of him or his government. For the better part of his 35-year rule, we have heard him make high-sounding promises that initially tended to jolt us with excitement. But the promises have come, gone and died.
For instance, we have had a string of economic models that, when they were crafted and presented to the public, were hailed as the panacea to our socio-economic woes. One by one, those models collapsed, only to be replaced by even more high-sounding blueprints.

In a rut
Chances are, therefore, that even when Mugabe does say something sensible, people will dismiss it as one of those old fables. It would take a lot of positive practical results for us to start paying attention when he talks. When citizens pretend to be listening, it is because they are only interested in hearing how much of the old stuff he will repeat, never with a sense of hope.
To make worse, Mugabe, as the messenger, is stuck in a rut. He lives in the past and has therefore lost touch with modern reality. He is always seeing the shadows of sanctions and regime change agendas. He thinks all value must be defined in the context of the liberation struggle and the war of liberation from colonial rule.
Granted, we must not neglect the past, but we must know where to stop with it in the endeavour to shape the future and understand the present. Maybe it is natural that Mugabe, being a very old man now, would always reminisce about the “glorious” past. The plain truth is that he should be spending his time at the national archives rather than in the office of the president.  He is now outdated and must leave the modern world to be ruled by modern ideas and memories.
While there is a sizeable number of people who clap their hands and ululate loudly whenever Mugabe speaks, it is not because they are paying attention. They do it because they have to be heard and seen to do so, otherwise they will lose all the largesse they have accumulated on the basis of the Old Man’s patronage. – To comment on this article, please contact


  • comment-avatar

    Yes all genuine meaning citizens stopped listening to Mugabe’s nonsensical rhetoric decades. Only his zanu pf lunatics continue to show some semblance of listen to what that frail old man would be says. And 110% of the times he will be saying nothing, excepting ranting & puffing, accompanied with some finger pointing at some imaginary enemies and/or plotters.

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    Pidigori 8 years ago

    Even if he were to give an answer to a 1+1 question, count me out machewe, I won’t be there. It’s amazing how these zpf ministers get to master such a fit, quite out of the ordinary, the sort of allulations to Mugabage’s rants speaks volumes or is gravely sinister. Honestly, it’s ain’t funny ANYMORE….!

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    What is amazing is how Mugabe and his henchmen have always thought that announcing some plan or project was the same actually doing it.

    At last the people seem to be learning that it is just words, words and still more words – without a shred of meaning.

    Can anyone think of anything positive that Mugabe and his hangers-on have actually DONE? I can’t

  • comment-avatar

    YOU don’t listen Cde Mugabe anymore…but the majority of people in Zimbabwe listens Cde Mugabe so much……….

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    Samaita 8 years ago

    I don’t listen to him, that makes it 4 out of 5. Silu and others of your ilk you are definitely in the minority. So the report is factual after all.

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    Batsi NYARUGWE 7 years ago

    WHICH people?