Bungling in Mugabe, Zanu PF DNA

HARARE - It is probably a generational understatement to say President Robert Mugabe and his ex-majority party Zanu PF cannot help stuffing things up and making mistakes.

 And just as well. One cannot imagine the mess that Zimbabwe is in right now if the dear leader and his conniving sunshine “comrades” would combine their unquenchable thirst for power with an actual ability, or appetite, to keep things on a firm and chosen path of action. It wouldn’t be this awful.

Thankfully, the Zanu PF leader and his ilk have repeatedly confirmed what Zimbabweans know, that they cannot even organise a decent brawl in a growth point shebeen!

Consider this, the president and his discredited team have done nothing over these painful 33 years, but destroy everything that they inherited from Ian Smith’s rabid regime. And yes, everything — it doesn’t matter, which way one looks.

Unlike the properly and sanctions-wracked Rhodesian government, our economy is in a self-inflicted — or rather grossly mismanaged and corruption-induced — intensive care situation, and whether some Zanu PF comrades like it or not. It is simply that bad.

Shockingly, “liberated” and present day Zimbabwe is not even in a better shape politically than Smith’s racist Rhodesia.

One’s heart bleeds when confronted with the jarring statistics that as many people have died in political violence in post-independent Zimbabwe under this moribund group’s rule — in a true betrayal of those who paid the ultimate price fighting for the emancipation of majorities in our country.

While the octogenarian leader and his party’s predilection for messing up is apparent even when they are presented with a gift horse, they always stare at it — in the mouth — instead of riding it.

Take for example Mugabe and his crew’s handling of the current run-up to Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections, and where things for quite some time have appeared to be going on relatively well under the circumstances.

In all intents and purposes, the  Zanu PF leader has been the biggest beneficiary of the inclusive government as it legitimised his contested rule — and the longer this unwieldy structure has gone on, the more it has compromised Prime Minister Morgan’s Tsvangirai’s former opposition forces, who at face value have got some power yet in reality have no authority.

 So, how has Mugabe managed to overturn this “advantage” he has so far enjoyed and literally handed back the political initiative to his “detractors” so spectacularly over the last week?

And to get an answer to this vexing or perplexing question, one just has to run their eyes to the first line of this opinion piece that: the president and crew are perennial fumblers, regardless of the circumstances.

It is their modus operandi and steeped in their DNA.

And a flashback to the Saturday Maputo summit Mugabe and his team astonishingly expected to be patted on the back by regional leaders for contriving to mess up a process they had essentially held by the scruff until the last minute proves exactly what we are talking about here.

But no, the “mob” lived up to its dismal macho reputation.

Firstly, it clearly and unnecessarily manipulated the legal framework, and then the coup de grace of arriving at its favoured political scheme of arrangement by using patently undemocratic presidential decrees, as ill-suggested by some of its newly-found allies, including Lovemore Madhuku.

It was all meant to galavanise one thing and the public perception that: it was Zanu PF and not the MDCs, which call the shots in government.

But this proved fatal and to be the feather that broke the camel’s back, as the under-fire MDCs found the much-needed peg to re-charge and re-launch their political programmes.

Somehow, and just like that, the gift horse bolted from the Shake-Shake building to Harvest House!
More importantly, regional leaders — particularly the cunning and battle-hardened South African president Jacob Zuma — found the chink in Mugabe’s armour and needed to bring him to heel.

 After all, it was Sadc’s bidding that he is the recognised Zimbabwean leader and not his vaunted prowess at the ballot that has kept him at Munhumutapa.

So, they went for the jugular and gave him a savage mauling any head of State can expect to receive from his regional grouping peers outside “physical guillotining”.

And Mugabe was entirely defenceless against this humiliating lashing — hence the embarrassing, super-fast capitulation registered.

To his credit, the old man quickly realised going against his peers would have effectively rendered him jobless as he is president of this country by virtue of the Global Political Agreement, which Sadc cobbled five years ago.

And for that, kudos to this wily old fox!

 But due to Team Uncle Bob’s propensity for fatal mistakes all the time (remember also the Livingstone summit of two years ago), Sadc has now moved to intervene very publicly and directly, until a new, democratically-elected government is in charge in Harare.

And their message to Mugabe — and Zimbabwe at large — is very clear: You will do it our way, properly or you are on your own!

Even our president, as stubborn as he is, realises that without Sadc the end is nigh and one can look back to 2008 to confirm this, when our politics became unbearably toxic, and the economy in free fall.

In my humble view, Mugabe not only craves regional support and credibility, but also does not want to revisit those bad recent years, where nobody picked or gained a fig from that anarchy — only favoured by a cantankerous few and serial political flip-floppers in Zanu PF’s ranks!

As such, things are going to be very interesting in the next few weeks. - Chris Goko, Executive Deputy Editor

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