Mugabe must listen to people's calls

HARARE - As calls from Zimbabweans, including opposition supporters, war veterans and even some in Zanu PF for President Robert Mugabe to step down get almost deafening, it is becoming increasingly desirable for the nonagenarian to listen to the voice of reason — for the sake of his young family.

With the rift between the nonagenarian and his former allies widening with each passing day, Mugabe is gradually getting isolated. He is in the process creating himself more and more enemies who are determined to unite against him, denting his chances of winning next year’s elections.

The fallout with his former allies proves that Africa’s oldest leader has lost the plot as he continues to ignore growing calls for him to step down.

Mugabe, who has been showing signs of increasing frailty, is not even listening to the same people — liberation struggle fighters — who put him at the helm of Zanu PF in 1977, at the height of the liberation war.

While he is doing this for self-serving purposes, including his long-held desire to die in office, it is the majority of citizens who are always on the receiving end.

With unemployment hovering over 90 percent amid unprecedented company closures, an underperforming economy punctuated by a stinging liquidity crunch, Mugabe has become a national liability.

About 4,5 million Zimbabweans are food insecure, according to aid agencies, yet we still have Mugabe’s hangers-on insisting that at 94 when the elections are held next year, his gerontocratic administration will still have something to offer to extricate the country from the economic malaise in which it is wallowing at present.

What we know for a fact, however, is that these people are only doing this so that they can continue to have unfettered access to the feeding trough at the expense of the majority of Zimbabweans who continue to reel in poverty.

Instead of heeding the call to resign, he has said he is surprised by the calls for him to step down in the middle of his presidential term ending in 2018.

It is mind-boggling how a man who was once viewed as the new breed of African leaders with democratic credentials and was revered not only on the continent but also globally has suddenly attained dictatorial tendencies.

Indeed, it is hard to fathom the fact that when he came to power in 1980, he was riding on the Stalinist-Leninist socialist principles which advocate for a classless society in which the national cake is supposed to be evenly distributed to citizens.

Yet today, Mugabe seems to have been completely detached from the reality that he has turned the country from the breadbasket of southern Africa to a basket-case.

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