Has Mugabe become punch-bag?

HARARE - Some sneer at his face on posters plastered on trees, security walls and other buildings, while others go as far as using the F-word against him — yet some revere him as a hero who liberated Zimbabwe from the British colonial rule.

Once a colossus who was revered and feared by his rather good-natured subjects — there appears to be a chink in President Robert Mugabe’s armour as opposition parties, activists and even those in his Zanu PF party take aim at his figure.

Analysts told the Daily News on Sunday that the 91-year-old has lost respect of even those in his party because of the way he has allowed those surrounding him  to treat their opponents.

Kent University law lecturer Alex Magaisa said Mugabe has brought the messy upon him.

“Mugabe has always been a figure of criticism from the opposition, civil society and intellectual circles so there’s nothing new about criticism.


President Robert Mugabe...Now a subject of verbal attack from across the political divide.

“What’s new is that this is coming from those who are recent allies and have previously defended him like sycophants. I think the behaviour of his wife (Grace) have made his office too common and less respected than before.

“Once she started attacking others with his obvious backing, she exposed herself and by extension her husband to counter-attacks.

“She cheapened the office and made it easy game. He himself condoned it and carries ultimate responsibility. It’s not surprising that everyone is taking pot-shots at him and his office,” said Magaisa.

Perhaps not really a punch bag, but Mugabe has suddenly become a subject of verbal attack from across the political divide.

The list of those who have attacked Mugabe’s person is endless, from his former deputy president Joice Mujuru who calls him an “ancestor” to political nonentities like Acie Lumumba, who have used the F-word, fed up citizens are finding the courage to speak up against their ruler.

Former  Zanu PF youth league chairperson for  Mashonaland Central Province, Godfrey Tsenengamu,  even went as far as  urging Mugabe’s daughter, Bona Mugabe-Chikore to advise her father to quit and her mother, Grace, to be more tactful in politics.

“Bona, some of us look at you as the most reasonable and reserved member of your father’s family and I am sorry to drag you into these political issues but I have no option,” said Tsenengamu.

Lumumba, a young former Zanu PF member who headed the party’s tourism portfolio in Harare province on the other hand verbally attacked Mugabe and is in court for his actions.

Even Mugabe’s erstwhile foot-soldiers who helped him terrorise critics, the war veterans, publicly described their former icon as a “genocidal dictator”.

In an unprecedented feat during a war veterans meeting last month, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association political commissar Francis Nhando openly said the nonagenarian will be a hard sell candidate in the 2018 elections.

“How do you campaign for someone you do not like and who does not like you either. The relationship between us as war veterans and the president has broken down, he and the party don’t like us anymore”.

Political analysts Dewa Mavhinga said Mugabe  is losing the respect of his former comrades because he has overstayed in power.

“Zimbabweans will be within their constitutional rights guaranteeing freedom of expression when they protest about the state of governance and the economy in the country and call on Mugabe as the president to act.

“Mugabe has not become a punch bag, it is only that people are increasingly realising that Zimbabwe’s problems can be traced to Mugabe’s doorstep and are refusing to refusing to buy Zanu PF propaganda that our problems should be blamed on  Britain and America.

“It is time for Parliament to scrap all insult laws and allow citizens to criticise their leaders freely without fear of persecution or harassment,” said Mavhinga..

While Mugabe has blamed everyone but himself, including sanctions imposed on his regime by the West over allegations of human rights abuse, hard pressed Zimbabweans still  blame him for all the ills.

Since 1980 when Zimbabwe attained its independence from the British, Zimbabwe has known no other leader and thus they are no set benchmarks to judge him.

Zimbabwe once the bread basket of Southern Africa is now more of a basket case.

Unemployment stands at a staggering 80 percent.

From 1980 to 2000 the State averaged a nine percent budget deficit with the government spending more money than it was collecting and borrowing to bridge the gap.

By 2000, national debt had risen from a paltry $700 million in 1980 to ten times that in 2000.

In addition the State had been assisted by billions of dollars in aid inflows from the bilateral donors and multilateral financial agencies.

In 1997 the Government mounted an exercise to pay the veterans of the Liberation War some Z$3,5 billion in reparations (about US$1 billion) which was not budgeted and exacerbated the deficit in State funding.

Then in 1998 the government committed itself to a war in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the cost of $1, 5 million a day and over the next three years spent another $1,5 billion on the war outside the budget.

Together these two measures pushed the budget deficit to unsustainable levels and the Zimbabwe dollar began its headlong dash to destruction.

These actions were exacerbated by the systematic destruction of agriculture together with continued unsustainable budget deficits and the suspension of aid and new funding from abroad.

This began to drive the inflation rate and the rapid decline in the value of the local currency.

The State was forced to resort to printing money and by 2008 the local currency was worthless — inflation reaching historical highs for countries in conflict.

The downward spiral has continued unabated to date — a situation that has further eroded whatever little respect left among citizens for Mugabe.

Comments (14)

@dailynews,a poorly reseached and unbalanced article,probably written by obert gutu for yu,the achievements of the president from education,health to housing are not chronicled,the quality of his critics is questionable

truth - 22 August 2016

@truth it is obvious that you are blind. What education has he improved. The health service has collapsed to such an extent that he himself and his family have to go abroad and has to send his daughter abroad to give birth. ED Gwena recently said we need to start building homes. The quicker he passed the batton to the croc, the better. People are starving. Corruption is rife. Roads and railways have colupsed. Air Zim is now a joke. We are now worse than Smith days whom i regreatedly fought to bring this corrupt regime.

realwarvet - 22 August 2016

Whether he was once good or bad is immaterial, at 92 the "gentleman" is way past his sell by date. Zim just needs to start afresh.

Mazano Rewayi - 22 August 2016

This is all of his own doing.If he had done what other revolutionaries did,handover stick,like at the olimpics,he wuld very much adored by all.Bt he choses arrogance,intolerance .He substituted nobility for arrogance.maybe its to do wth age.Bt to us older pple its disgusting to see a hero arguing wth pikninies like chamisa n lumumba.its sad.Why subject yoself to that low level standing?Just for power?What is it yu still want to achieve,?For who?Disgusting.

viola gwena - 22 August 2016

Had yu retired long back yu wuld still be a hero,a living hero revered by all.yu wuld have been bigger than Mbeki ,who now is regarded as the father of the continent.They call Mbeki everywhrere to assist on African problems.Had yu retired on tyme even Tsvangirai wuld be running to yu for advice .Yu wuld be sitting at home,country prospering under new zanu leadership that yu brought up.like Mandela.Noone wuld question yo trips.In fact yo tickets wuld have been fully funded by Econet.Bt nope.We are very poor bcoz of yo reluctance to see reason.Yu chase away businessman and they become billionairs in foreign lands.We have NO billionaires of our own.yu dnt like them.All countries fight for their citizens to be millionaires bt yu threaten them wth jail.Yu hate rich pple.So plz retire.Let smeone lead zanu.otherwise we all finished,g40 ,lacoste,yuths .mbumbas.No chance .Give it to ngwena.Let him lead now.

viola gwena - 22 August 2016

What has Bob have to do with the decadent morals of Zimbabweans which have destroyed the country from a shining star to one exploded. A self proclaimed prophet is charged with rape and people blame it all on Zanu PF. It is clear that Zimbabwe is reeling under the effects of ingratitude.

Luqman Latif - 22 August 2016

This a case of the revolution that depended too heavily on or was hijacked by an individual to the detriment of the nation. This was also enhanced by the rationale of a vanguard one party concept which did not brook any dissent. Ironically Mugabe is a master of dissent who used his opposition to white rule and exploitation as the inspiration that fired his passion for Chimurenga. However, he has not been able to reshape that powerful drive into the capacity needed to forge consensus and nation building in the post liberation dispensation. Perhaps it is not fair for us to expect that type of transformation in an individual. This is notwithstanding his dalliance with reconciliation which saw General Peter Walls remain the Commander of the Army and Dennis Norman the Minister of Agriculture after independence and even later Timothy Stamps as Minister of Health . Even those who support his life presidency bid will realize that, at some stage soon, they will have to find a select another leader to replace him. They are doing a disservice to the nation and themselves by this denial and pretending he will be around forever. No one wants to bash Mugabe for the sake of it. His value to nation reached a level of diminishing returns about ten years ago and is now a liability to his family friends and nation.

Jaikolu Maison - 22 August 2016

Tete iola, don't cry for billionnaires. We Zimbabweans can be more than that anytime we want. Last time ichecked my 2011 payslip, I was a trillionnaire. A whooping ten digit hefty. Don't cry for a teaspoon of salt. We are not just a nation of sorts, we, we are a nation of uncomparable capabilities.

trillionaire - 22 August 2016

kwahi gudo guru what what asi iye haanzwe

Mhepo - 22 August 2016

@Maison.I agree wth yo reasning.Very factual.

viola gwena - 22 August 2016

Trillionair.kkkk. I wanted yu to upgrade yoself to zillionair.

viola gwena - 22 August 2016

Well researched and truthful article. Thank you comrade editor. The decay started with Dr Grace Mugabe

Viva Unidade - 23 August 2016

we respect what grand dad hs done by being part of those that liberated the country but bare in mind he never faught in the frontline some of us our parents were in the frontline and our uncles died ,but not for this shit that our country has become.as for us we don't care about the war times have changed we want jobs ,respect from other countries and we also want to be free as the new generation we want a different young leader who is not stuck in the old war.its our turn now .lastly our parents should know that the youth out numbers them and are stronger than then and we carry their fighting genes so don't force us to start a war ,coz we are fucken fed up. we can mobilise and make our own era of liberation fighters starting within the military camps and the police camps.so please you old people with respect just take an early retirement.while you still have respect.

cris - 23 August 2016

we respect what grand dad hs done by being part of those that liberated the country but bare in mind he never faught in the frontline some of us our parents were in the frontline and our uncles died ,but not for this shit that our country has become.as for us we don't care about the war times have changed we want jobs ,respect from other countries and we also want to be free as the new generation we want a different young leader who is not stuck in the old war.its our turn now .lastly our parents should know that the youth out numbers them and are stronger than then and we carry their fighting genes so don't force us to start a war ,coz we are fucken fed up. we can mobilise and make our own era of liberation fighters starting within the military camps and the police camps.so please you old people with respect just take an early retirement.while you still have respect.

cris - 23 August 2016

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