Wanted: a leader, not a ruler



WARD 12, PARIRENYATWA HOSPITAL, HARAREOur ministers are said to be worried about President Mugabe’s state of mind. Me too. But then I have been worried about his state of mind for a long time. The man has been getting increasing delusional ever since Morgan Tsvangirai gave him a scare in 1999 with the No vote on the constitutional referendum. That no-vote unhinged the man, and ever since then he has been seeing Blair-look-alike imperialists leaping out of every bush.

“Bear in mind that the monster of imperialism is continuously and dangerously lurking in the bush awaiting a more favourable opportunity to devour our national sovereignty,” Mugabe reportedly told thousands of schoolkids bussed into Mutare for his birthday bash at the weekend.

Now, I am fully prepared to search every bush in Zimbabwe and deal personally with any imperialist I find. But they won’t let me leave this place – even to do such an important national duty.

What worried me most about his weekend pronouncements was his statement that we should never lose our “power to rule ourselves”. What this country needs is a leader, not a ruler. We need a leader who does not derive his power from a brutal and corrupt police force and military machine.

We do not want a ruler who oppresses his opponents in order to stay in power. We do not want a ruler who crushes any dissenting voice and rigs elections through wholesale fraud and intimidation. The power to rule ourselves should not involve starving some of us who may not agree. A real leader does not use food as a weapon against his own people.

When people are happy with their government they are prepared to defend their country against enemies. But they are not going to defend a system that oppresses them. This is just as bad as Ian Smith conscripting young blacks to fight against the liberation forces in the 1970s.

I would like to tell the birthday boy something. Mr President nobody wants to re-colonise Zimbabwe. The country is broke. It has no food. Millions are sick, malnourished and demoralised. Millions have left home. The infrastructure has collapsed. Any imperialist force trying to run this country will find it a drain on their fiscus.

Right now Zimbabwe has nothing to offer. That is why you have been going around the world begging for help to pay your bills. Forget about imperialists in the bushes. Concentrate your efforts on being a leader, not a ruler.

In fact I am surprised, given the extent of his delusions, that Mugabe has not yet announced that the recent earthquake was caused by Britain and America trying to destabilise the country and derail Zimbabwe’s successful agricultural reform and monetary policies. The new British ambassador had better stay away from the Eastern Highlands in case he is accused of master-minding the earthquake and severely reprimanded for meddling in our sovereign affairs.

Mugabe please, try to lead your people out of the mess into which your lust for power has driven them.

Post published in: Opinions

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