Mugabe should change tack

LONDON - There is dispute on whether it was Albert Einstein who coined the saying that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

That controversy aside, it is an insightful aphorism.

Now, President Robert Mugabe is not insane. He is one of the most intelligent rulers in Africa.

Credit to him for speaking out against the injustices in Gaza, social justice, sustainable development and so on at the UN General Assembly last week.

But he should adopt a different tack on sanctions. Mugabe has taken the opportunity at each UN meeting to rant about “evil sanctions” imposed on Zimbabwe.

Last time, he repeated: “shame, shame, shame” on the sanction imposers. His usual targets are Britain, the Europeans in general and the Americans. However, these repeated vituperations have not exactly produced any different result. It does not seem the targets of his rancour are ashamed.

The EU is only relaxing sanctions at its own pace, of its own volition. The Americans have only renamed the targeted sanctions regime.

The hatred towards the Americans is unsurprisingly palpable. Mugabe’s party has labelled some of its MPs who received money from the US embassy for projects in their constituencies the “dirty dozen.”  One wonders, though, who, in Zanu PF in general, is exactly clean.

Hate the Americans as they may, Mugabe does not pass up the opportunity to take a plane-load of people to the US, some of questionable credentials to be travelling to such meetings.

Ace Lumumba, a losing Zanu PF candidate for MP in Hatfield, was part of the entourage. He posted on Facebook pictures of himself and others in the streets of New York.

Lumumba could not miss the chance to sample sartorial memorabilia from, ironically, the land of the enemy. He was photographed trying out some suits in a shop in the American city.

The suit(s) (assuming he bought) will probably be preserved for a long time so that — never mind the animosity — he can still tell his grandchildren with pride that he once went to America.

But seriously, what value does a losing Zanu PF candidate or a member of some youth council bring to the nation from this trip?

It is understood these unjustifiably bloated delegations enjoy generous allowances. But it also continues to worry that their benefactor, Mugabe, seems bent on carving out a personal legacy of belligerence that has cost the nation in other ways. 

It does not matter if his people suffer by, for example, the rejecting of  so-called “filthy lucre” from Americans or not soberly mending relations that could spawn economic benefits. 

His recent remarks suggest he revels in the notion that he is feared by his enemies.

When Barack Obama excluded him from the US-Africa Summit in August, Mugabe said  the US president was scared of him. 

On his arrival at the Harare International Airport from New York on Saturday, Mugabe also intimated that Zimbabwe leaves neo-imperialists petrified.

He resembled a grandfather regaling his grandchildren with exaggerated tales of his hunting feats, for to suggest he is feared by the US and European powers is what the Americans themselves call a load of baloney.

Perhaps Mugabe misconstrues fear for dislike. Obama would have disliked the prospect of Mugabe grandstanding about sanctions at the US-Africa summit like he did, in part, at the UN last week.

If Mugabe has national interest at heart, rather than repeating the same thing over and over again without producing a different result, he should resort to diplomacy than public posturing.

Even the Gaza case he eloquently put will be resolved by diplomatic rapprochement.

Rather than obsess over a legacy of belligerence and misguided notion of being “feared”, he would better off be remembered as the leader who, at a time a country he helped liberate was in crisis, he plucked out of the mire through constructive reengagement.

Comments (2)

The BIGGEST MISTAKE the normal pipo in Zim like you Conrad is that you still regard/believe Mugabe and his thugs to be normal. No they are not.

changu - 30 September 2014

No normal and self respecting leader would want to share the same space with Mugabe! He politically stinks!

Talib - 1 October 2014

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