One journalist asked Mugabe a pointed question: “When is there going to be the inauguration of a new president in your own country?” Of course he did not answer. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that question should set our own president thinking seriously about his retrogressive stay in power? It certainly should do.
To start with, it is a shame that Mugabe—never mind the fact that he is chair of the African Union —had the audacity to go all the way to Nigeria to witness and celebrate the swearing-in of one in a long string of Nigerian leaders when he has resisted leaving the reins of power for close to four decades.
The visit exposed his unsuitability to be heading the AU. He is not leading by example because he wants to die in office. How did he feel after that ambush by Nigerian journalists who questioned his credentials for attending a power-handover ceremony when, in fact, he was not ready to do the same in his own country?
Recently, Mugabe witnessed a smooth and democratic power transfer in Zambia while, because of his globetrotting, he missed another in Mozambique. He has seen several generations of African leaders come and go – but has shown not the slightest inclination of doing the same.
On average, most southern African countries have had four generations of leaders come and go in smooth elections during Mugabe’s tenure. He has been there to witness the new arrivals. Yet, somehow, he seems to think that the same must not happen in his own country. Apparently, Mugabe is convinced about his own physical and political immortality.
Surely it must dawn on him that he has gone past his sell-by date. Democracy requires leadership renewal at regular intervals, no matter how good a statesman the leader may be. To make matters worse, Mugabe, despite his own delusions, has not been a good statesman.
The economy is in a coma, human rights abuses are rampant, he has failed put an effective succession plan in place and generations of citizens have known nothing but poverty, misery and pain. That makes a good case for him to have left a long while ago. Has his long stay in power removed his sense of decency?Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga