Out of touch

President Robert Mugabe’s capacity to single-handedly derail the recovery of our economy can no longer - after his admission last week that he cannot unilaterally call elections - be in serious doubt.

After spending the last 15 months threatening to call early elections, with or without approval of his coalition partners, Mugabe came to realise only last week that he could not on his own determine when polls should take place.

Addressing his supporters on Thursday, Mugabe for the first time admitted in public that, he was, “not in control of the mechanisms that we thought would lay the road to an election this year.”

Really, only now is he waking up to this reality? We thought that the fact he has to take major decisions such as calling elections in consultation with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was clearly stated in the global political agreement, the back window through which he and his Zanu (PF) party sneaked back into office after electoral defeat in 2008.

Or could it be that he read the GPA and Constitutional Amendment Act No 19, which transferred the agreement into our fundamental law, and genuinely missed the part that says there has to be consultation between the President and the Prime Minister?

Or was Mugabe so reckless he simply decided to go around harping on about early elections even getting Zanu (PF) to declare at its Mutare conference last December that he would call elections in 2011 – without ever having checked whether he actually had any legal authority to do so?

And what about the damage to investor confidence that Mugabe caused with his reckless utterances about elections when everyone, including members of his party, knew the country was not ready for polls.

Many investors would have simply moved to other better governed places than gamble with their money by investing it in a country that was sure to plunge into a fresh orgy of violence and killing because polls were called without adequate preparation.

Or did he genuinely not realise that talking about elections when there is no proper voters’ roll, the new constitution has not been written and the rule of law is still absent in much of the country was the surest to scare away investors?

But whatever Mugabe’s motives, at least there is one positive from all this. If the Zanu (PF) leader ever wondered why Zimbabweans have deserted him in droves and why he will lose the next polls this is it: he is simply out of touch.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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