With a chain of seven degrees in various fields of human endeavour, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe is clearly one of the pedantic leaders in Africa. But Mugabe’s actions in office have shown two things: that (much) education is not quite a sine qua non for good governance, and two, that education of the head is markedly different from education of the mind.
Were it not so, Mr Mugabe should have known when to bow out of office and keep his face. For a man who pretends to be practising democracy and yet clutches on to the prisms of power for 27 years and more, is surely offering a weird re-definition of participatory democracy. The ovation for Mugabe had long died down, yet he struts around on the political stage of Zimbabwe like a malevolent conquistador.Once, he was fiercely loved by his people. That was when he led revolutionary (guerilla) forces to battle the colonial white rule of Rhodesian Front government led by Ian Smith at the time. Though a born Roman Catholic, Mugabe’s revolutionary urge was so strong that he soon became a cultivated Marxist. Buoyed by the popular support from his fellow oppressed blacks, Mugabe took power on wave and launched himself into the political arena with a bang. He enjoyed immediate acceptability from his people. He soon quit the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and formed his own Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), with which he had appropriated political power like a patrimonial estate.Â Once he got the baton of power, his crusade for reconciliation and unity soon began to suffer dilution up to the point that his government began to be hallmarked with strong authoritarian streaksAs at today, everything is thumbs down for Mugabe. Yet he experiences daily renewal of a warped ambition to keep ruling Zimbabwe.
That is why it remains a vexatious wonder that at 83, Mugabe is still gunning for a sixth term in office. Perhaps it would not be so offensive to contemplate if under Mugabe the country is growing in leaps and bounds. But for a nation with over 800 per cent inflation rate and a terribly high unemployment rate, coupled with a grounded economy, Mugabe should have quit office several years ago.With hunger, hardship and frustration wracking Zimbabweans, Mugabe needn’t be told that he no longer has any solution for the governance of the country. It is so bad that Zimbabweans cross over to neighbouring South Africa to buy basic consumubles like bread, milk, meat chicken etc. Mugabe’s Zimbabwe is a collapsed economy; little wonder that the country’s chief statistician, who keeps records of the nationsÂ development indices, declared that there is nothing left to be counted in the nation.
Pray, what else does he have to offer a sinking nation, which he has presided over for over 27 years?Even if he was doing fantastically well, and the Zimbabwean economy was on a green boom, would staying in office for 27 years not be considered an abuse of democratic principles? Yet, it is doubly ironical that a man who is presiding over a plummeting economy, post marked with corruption, ineptitude, intolerance and loss of integrity, yet wants to hold on to office.His desperation for power has made him most unaccommodating to opposition, hence he gags the press, and even intimidates and tortures journalists who are critical of his style of governance. A desperateÂ man is a danger both to himself and to those around him. That explains why Mugabe has, several times over, amended the nation’s and party’s constitutions so he can have his way, albeit illgally. Indeed, his force of intimidation has flogged the political class almost all into a one-party state, with his ZANU occupying 147 out of the country’s 150 parliamentary seats.It is people like Mugabe that give African leaders the label of despots. He and all his ilk should be told in plain language that the times have changed. African leaders, Mugabe inclusive, should demonstrate civility and tolerance. Holding on to power at all cost is now a disdainful past time. That is why we call on Mugabe, to without further delay, quit the political scene and save the soul of the Zimbabweans. -Â This Day – African views on global news
Go, Mugabe Go
If all a leader needed was plenty of education, Zimbabwe would probably have been the luckiest nation on earth.