Zim on standby, waits for Mugabe to go

via Zim on standby, waits for Mugabe to go – New Zimbabwe 24/10/2015

THE broad avenues lined with lilac trees in Harare show no images of 91-year-old President Robert Mugabe, but his presence towers over the country he has ruled for 35 years.

“The whole country is on standby. We are just waiting for him to die,” said Evans, a taxi business owner.

Complaints abound about Mugabe’s authoritarian rule, which is seen as having ravaged what was once one of the region’s most promising economies.

But the president, who participated in the liberation struggle against white minority rule in the 1960s and 70s and seized the land of about 6,000 white farmers to redistribute it to more than 240,000 blacks, also commands respect.

“He has done more to empower black people than any other African leader,” Evans admitted.

The expulsion of experienced white farmers contributed to a decade-long crisis that cut the economy by half and forced Zimbabwe to replace its inflated currency with the US dollar in 2009.

Western sanctions over human rights violations, indigenisation laws requiring that 51% of major companies must be owned by locals, and massive corruption have scared investors away.

Less than 700,000 people are officially employed, said Gideon Shoko, deputy secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

That leaves about 80% of the workforce struggling to make a living in the informal sector, far above the official unemployment rate of 11%.

Children reduced to beggars

A plunge in maize production and the high prices of food imported from South Africa have aggravated the situation of many families, which may skip meals and not have money to send their children to school, according to locals in Harare and Victoria Falls.

Children beg under Harare’s traffic lights. Some women are resorting to prostitution, while poorly paid police officers erect road blocks to extract bribes from motorists, residents said.

Health centres treat poor people in exchange for their relatives cleaning wards.

“A few of my relatives died because of lack of money for treatment,” businessman Norest Marara said.

Power cuts paralyse an industrial sector running at less than 40% of its capacity, according to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.

Some Harare neighbourhoods only have electricity between 10pm and 6am, with women cooking on fires in yards where people chat in the dark.

“Mugabe may not last much longer,” a Western diplomat said about the veteran leader who falls asleep at public functions, read the same speech twice, and reportedly keeps travelling to Asia for medical treatment.

“Everything here revolves around one man. And when he goes, a volcano will erupt,” said Obert Gutu, spokesman for the main opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

In its decades in power, Mugabe’s Zanu PF has taken the country firmly in its grip, ranging from state-owned companies to local chiefs and farmers who say they vote for the ruling party for fear of losing their land that officially belongs to the state.

Demonstrations are repressed with a heavy hand.

At least three government critics have disappeared and more than 100 people have been charged with insulting the president over the past five years, while journalists keep getting arrested, said Kumbirai Mafunda from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Power struggles

Mugabe has refused to name a successor, allegedly to give his family time to secure its wealth.

“He is a Machiavellian strategist who pits Zanu PF factions against each other,” said political analyst Eldred Masunungure from the University of Zimbabwe.

A power struggle is reportedly raging between Mugabe’s deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa and a group of ambitious politicians, including Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo and former minister Saviour Kasukuwere.

The group is pretending to campaign for the presidency of first lady Grace Mugabe in an attempt to sideline Mnangagwa, according to analysts.

After Mugabe dies or retires, “we may see violence” between Zanu PF factions, Gutu said.

Analysts say the party may win the 2018 elections with rigging and intimidation – but it also enjoys real support.

“When Mugabe dies, many people will shed genuine tears,” Masunungure said, adding that the much-criticized president will also leave a positive legacy.

He is seen as having improved education and health care in the country with a literacy rate of 90% – high for Africa.

The land redistribution – despite its chaotic and sometimes violent nature and favouritism to Mugabe’s cronies – is widely seen as an act of social justice.

“There is a consensus that it had to be done,” Gutu said.

Mnangagwa – a former intelligence chief associated with violent crackdowns on the opposition – is likely to succeed Mugabe with the support of the army, Masunungure said.

He will not improve Zimbabwe’s human rights record, but may soften indigenisation laws to attract foreign investment, the analyst added.

If such changes took place in the country with a qualified workforce and rich mineral resources, “the economy could rebound spectacularly,” the Western diplomat said.


  • comment-avatar
    Doris 9 years ago

    Ok…..so he has done more to empower black Zimbabweans than any other African leader. So, tell me…..what have those black Zimbabweans done with their so-called empowerment? Where is the progress? Where is the success? Are taxes being paid on these so-called advancements?

  • comment-avatar
    MikeH 9 years ago

    “he has done more to empower black Zimbabweans” …. YES, HIS FEW BLACK CRONIES, THE MINORTY. The majority have nothing to show for his 35 years of self indulgence.

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    I will “empower” you into poverty! That is the truth of the matter. Black Zimbos have never been so disempowered or poor in history.

    What a load of nonsense.

  • comment-avatar
    Ngoto Zimbwa 9 years ago

    Nothing new from so called New Zimbabwe here, bunch of wankers!!
    The saddest accolade has to go to the Zimbo, who has managed to let ZANU ride rough-shod over him for nigh on half a century!

  • comment-avatar
    Chiremba Honestly 9 years ago

    Its the lucky ones who have been empowered with social networking.majority we are in the doldrums of poverty.

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    Zambuko 9 years ago

    The stupendous achievements of HERGM and the political party he leads means that in the unlikely event of an earlier than expected death his legacy will tower over that of other African Leaders, nay over any world leader, past or present. The political landscape in African will be darker for that event. A world wide public holiday will be a suitable memorial. Perhaps the UN will declare a Robert Mugabe Day on the 25th December. I think a fundraiser dinner dance should kick this off. This will be a small token of our unalloyed appreciation of this man’s achievement. It diminishes from the man to call him an African Leader. He is better called a Leader of Humankind!

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    Zambuko, are you growing mbanje on your state-owned farm?

    • comment-avatar
      Zambuko 9 years ago

      And beans. You want?

      • comment-avatar
        Nyamhute Zuwarabuda 9 years ago

        So, its beans, heh, Zambuko? That’s why you are farting off so loudly – through your mouth.

        • comment-avatar
          Zambuko 9 years ago

          Eructation is not the same as flatulence, but thanks for raising the level of the debate. I was attempting irony. Mea culpa if I failed.

    • comment-avatar
      Gengena Mbizi 9 years ago

      Well said Zambuko! We will also have coins with the HERGM face on them in memory hehehehe!

  • comment-avatar
    zimbabwean 9 years ago

    the so much talked about president has done less if any achievements than to let the countries economy go into a mess.we cant have so much of our peace because the poverty stricken zimbos shouting , venting in the streets daily.akomana this has gone to far, something must be done

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    hosiah 9 years ago

    mugabe is a jesuit yu have to understand their oath and business b4 yu go anywhere visit.www amazing discoveries.org. everything is about new world order its from the devil himself

  • comment-avatar
    aarom mutonga 9 years ago

    Mugabe is very stupid he can’t say blacklist empower Dr companies

  • comment-avatar
    JRR56 9 years ago

    Some will cry tears when Mugabe dies. Yes those that know their protection is now gone they will be next in line. Run for the hills!!!!!!!!!

  • comment-avatar

    Zambuko run for the Presidancy. Free mbanje for us,free beans for our children and everybody is happy. You have my vote and bob marleys spiritual support. Amen.

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    Ngoto Zimbwa 9 years ago

    “….The stupendous achievements of HERGM and the political party he leads means that in the unlikely event of an earlier than expected death his legacy will tower over that of other African Leaders,….”

    Man, you must have your tongue firmly in the other cheek.

    -No own currency..
    -Zero economic growth with close on 90% unemployment.
    -Crumbling hospitals
    -Crumbling roads with potholes galore
    -Non existant water and power supply
    -More educated Zimbos outside than in the country
    -Corruption ……..etc etc.

    Either that or or your head is firmly stuck up some part of Bob’s anatomy.

    • comment-avatar
      Zambuko 9 years ago

      Given the size of my head, I have to put my massive brain somewhere, the second option is a biological impossibility…or is it? One must keep an open mind on these things. This scatological diversion must, however, be resisted as we are commenting on important matters none more so than respecting the dignity of HERGM and his achievements (some of which you list, erroneously in my view) Furthermore, I absolutely deny that I have ever been near the relevant anatomical feature alluded to in the second option…not that I recall any rate.

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    If i was the President, i would arrest Zambuko and you would proberbly never hear from him again.I am not that stupid.

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    The Mind Boggles 9 years ago

    I don’t for one minute believe this Zambuko to be real, I think he’s winding everybody up there is a certain humour in his comments. My bet is he or she thinks like the rest of us and is just bored creating a debate on here and having a good chuckle at the same time.
    It’s probably Trevor Noah !!!
    Since when could a true Zaniod come up with a phrase like “scatological diversion” seriously???

  • comment-avatar
    Forward 8 years ago

    Nobody sees Mugabe as a hero except those who benefited from his terrorism at the expense of innocent people. Mugabe is no different from the likes of …… wait, …no not Hitler, I think Masendeke and Chidumo are the best match for this old devil. No normal Ndebele person will see a hero in that breed of a serpent who doesn’t see any Ndebele, Xhosa or Zulu speaking person as a human being but shona. Little does he and his allies know that our God will intervene at the right time. To be frank, I think above 98% of the population in that country will rejoice and celebrate on his death, whereas the 2% will feel cold and uncovered, these are the ones he prospered for his party’s sake and who were enjoying other people’s suffering. NOTHING IS PERMANENT, BRACE YOURSELVES FOR A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT!