Opportunity for Mugabe

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe, at 90, is surely the last man standing of the old fashioned politicians.

The veteran Zimbabwean leader is Africa’s oldest president who has defied adversity and domestic pressures, largely traced to bad governance and an overly used patronage system to the detriment of his once good standing.

But once Africa’s strongman, now kept in check by advanced age, Mugabe has the golden opportunity to right his wrongs and leave a good legacy.

His assumption of the Sadc chairmanship gives him the opportunity to lead the region with exemplary politics and adherence to principles that foster good governance and enhance democracy.

As the Sadc summit kicked off in Victoria Falls yesterday, the irony would not have been lost on the heads of states who are gathering in the resort town on how at one time, the hosts almost proved to be a lost cause in the face of proponents for democracy and human rights defenders.

A decade-long political and economic crisis spawned by rights abuses and wanton violations of the constitution at the behest of Mugabe’s government, caused Sadc serious problems.

An influx of refugees into the neighbouring member states underlined the dysfunctional state of Zimbabwe’s economy which became a basket case.

Endless summits to try and persuade Mugabe to resolve the then deepening political and economic crises further captured a country at the deep end.

Of course, it was Sadc who forced a power sharing deal and it was also Sadc who sanitised the controversial elections which ended that inclusive government.

This is why Zimbabwe’s hosting of the summit after 22 years is significant.

Not only is it significant in that it gives Zimbabwe an opportunity to discard its bad “boy” tag, but it allows Mugabe to lead the region by sorting out his domestic mess as a starting point.

Zimbabwe must meet the Sadc goals such as digitalisation by end of 2015, gender parity, good road network and keep in line with other important protocols.

While this might look a daunting task, Zimbabwe and Mugabe must not be seen to be eager to do it but must just do it!

Mugabe must uphold the provisions of the new constitution, allow free speech and respect people’s freedoms.

More importantly, Mugabe must lead the war against mineral leakages and pilferages which Sadc is grappling with.

As Zimbabweans, it is our hope that Mugabe will right the previous wrongs and lay a marker for the country and region.

Comments (2)

Mugabe cannot correct his myriad of mistakes as that would push him out of power. In a nutshell, we cannot expect Mugabe to leave power as this will never happen. The guy loves power more than his own life.

rongedzero - 19 August 2014

I am very sorry to note that you are pinning your hope on a man who has neither the inclination nor capacity to fulfill them

Johno - 21 August 2014

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