He was so intent on quashing rumours of factionalism within the party that he let slip the admission. â€˜We are hundred percent behind President Mugabe and his entire leadership including the VPs because this is the choice of our leader and we must support him…. G40 (Kasukuwereâ€™s alleged faction) was a creation of Rugare Gumbo and his clique and anyone who regurgitates that is in agreement with him. Where have you seen G40?â€™ he said.
The first lady, Grace Mugabe, has said the same thing: â€˜We went for elections in 2013 and voted for one president. He is the one centre of power that we recognise,â€™ she said in August this year.
I am not a dictator
In the build up to the 2014 Zanu (PF) annual congress, Mugabe amended the party constitution, granting himself powers to pick his own vice presidents, the national chairman and the entire politburo. This means that he can, on a whim, sack the holders of these positions. The one argument used by Zanu (PF) in denying Mugabeâ€™s totalitarian rule is the countryâ€™s supposed electoral process.
But after the Nikuv fiasco and the militaryâ€™s repeated interference in politics, Zimbabweâ€™s past elections should be dismissed as mere window-dressing â€“ an attempt to give Mugabeâ€™s government legitimacy. To begin with, Mugabeâ€™s position in Zanu (PF) is never challenged. Rather than having some sort of internal elections, he is regularly â€˜endorsedâ€™ as party candidate for all presidential elections.
Until his unilateral amendment of the Zanu (PF) constitution, elections were held only for the VP and provincial chairpersons.
Even the VPs have very little power, beyond merely officiating at ceremonies in Mugabeâ€™s absence. Since first lady, Graceâ€™ entrance into politics, the VPs and entire cabinet shower her with praise and play second fiddle to the presidentâ€™s wife at rallies and other public events. Mugabe has denied that he is an autocrat.
â€˜They say I am a dictator because we took land from the Europeans. But we had an agreement with the British government that there would be land reform and acquisition. We have held elections from day one and every five years we have been holding elections… so how does one become a dictator when one says we take our land because you do not want to pay compensation you Mr Blair,â€™ Mugabe said in June 2013.
Brutality and intimidation
The heavy-handed use of state machinery to repress dissent is further indication of Mugabeâ€™s autocracy. Several journalists and activists have been arrested or abducted and government is considering â€˜shoot to killâ€™ powers for the police, a move which is in contravention of the â€˜right of lifeâ€™ clause in the new constitution.
As a rule, no name, other than Mugabeâ€™s, can be uttered in the Zanu (PF) slogan. â€˜Tinoti pamberi naPresident cheteâ€™ â€“ we only say forward with Mugabe â€“ says party policy.
It is no wonder none of his juniors dared point out to him that he was reading the wrong speech on that disastrous day in parliament. The hesitancy by his aides to assist after Mugabe’s fall at Harare International Airport also suggests terror even among those in his inner circle.
Mugabe vs Zuma
Robert Mugabe is the most educated President in the world. He holds seven university degrees. Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma possesses no abbreviations after his name. He is often the butt of every pub joke. Hlekisa is IsiZulu for tickle, or amuse. One without a firm grasp of the language might be forgiven for assuming Zumaâ€™s middle name means â€˜laughing stock.â€™
In 2006 President Zuma unveiled the vaccine for HIV. He called it… a shower. Asked, under cross examination, during his rape trial, why he had sexual relations with a woman who he knew to be HIV positive, Zuma said he took a shower because â€˜it would minimise the risk of contracting the disease.â€™
When asked whether he was a crook, during a 2008 interview about irregularities in a government arms deal, Zuma responded, â€˜Me? Well, I donâ€™t know. I must go to a dictionary and learn what a crook is. Iâ€™ve never been a crook.â€™
When he makes an address, he keeps his nose buried in his prepared speech. Even if he were to come across the name â€˜South Africa,â€™ he cannot trust himself to look up from his paper. It takes some degree of intelligence to make an unprepared speech, an attribute for which the South African president is not known.
In contrast, Mugabe can ramble on for hours, without ever having to look at his prepared speech. During a televised tour of Hwahwa prison, where he was once incarcerated by the Rhodesian government, Mugabe said he was useless at table tennis but excelled at intellectual games like chess, checkers and tsoro (murabaraba).
Many attribute the nickname â€˜Bobâ€™ to Mugabeâ€™s scheming nature â€“ bhobho is the most powerful piece on the board in the game of checkers. Of course this is incorrect. Bob is the shortcut for Robert â€“ one of those unexplainable English things.
Mugabe studied at Kutama Mission, a school renowned for its strict admissions policy. He has degrees from Fort Hare, Unisa, University of London. Mugabeâ€™s list of academic qualifications and honorary degrees is so long that tree huggers would be annoyed if we tried to print them all. But book smarts are only relevant if applied outside the classroom.
Despite his theoretical knowledge, Mugabe has not only ruined a once vibrant economy but also believes that there is no one capable of solving the countryâ€™s problems while he is still alive. He will stand as Zanu (PF)â€™s 2018 presidential candidate, at the pickled aged of 94. If he cooks the election results in his favour, as he always does, it would be his eighth term in office.
He has had several senior moments, most notably reading the wrong speech and incorrectly chanting the slogan â€˜pasi neZanu (PF)â€™ â€“ down with Zanu (PF). Jacob Zuma â€“ the new van der Merwe of South African humour â€“ has stated that he will step down from his position as ANC President at the end of his second term.
â€˜Even if they beg me, I won’t stand. I will never. No I wonâ€™t,â€™ Zuma emphatically said. Certificates are only proof of the ability to regurgitate oneâ€™s recollections. Education is no guarantee of wisdom. – Till next week, my pen is capped. JerÃPost published in: Featured