Mugabe has 'learnt nothing, forgotten nothing'

HARARE - When the inclusive government crumbled following the disputed July 2013 elections, then MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti — who had just vacated the Finance ministry portfolio when his party lost in the polls — said; “ You can rig an election but you cannot rig the economy.”

At that time, many thought Biti’s pronouncement had become a case of sour grapes.

Today, close to five years after the end of demise of the inclusive government — undoubtedly one of the most stable periods in Zimbabwe’s post independence history — things have fallen apart.

In fact, we are seeing a repeat of the 2007-8 crisis during which long queues outside banks, service stations and shops were the order of the day.

Zimbabweans saw all this happening and they were the victims — as deprivation and desperation played on their doorsteps — while those in leadership were living pretty as they had access to the scarce foreign currency.

However, after having tasted momentary bliss between 2019 and 2013, something very strange happened at the polls in July 2013.

President Robert Mugabe — who had lost to Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008, only clinging on to the presidency through a controversial run-off poll on June 27 of that year — and Zanu PF won the polls.

Ever since Zanu PF retained power in 2013, nothing significant that improved the livelihoods of the majority of Zimbabweans happened.

For once, I thought Mugabe would have learnt his lessons, albeit 33 years later, and would try to right his wrongs having been afforded another bite of the cherry by a clueless electorate who were hoodwinked by a flowery manifesto that promised heaven on earth.

None of the promises has been delivered on yet and the Zimbabwean electorate must be ruing their actions in that poll.

Mugabe reminded me of a history topic we studied at high school decades back: The restoration of the Bourbon monarchy.

Following the French Revolution of 1789, a large number of people who felt disgruntled with the concessionist policies of Louis XVI and the violence of the republicans left France for other countries.

When the Bourbons were restored in 1814, these émigrés returned to France but, sadly, with exactly the same mentality they had before they had left 25 years earlier.

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord said of them: “They learned nothing and forgot nothing.”

This scenario seems pretty much the same as Zimbabwe during the period in question.

Mugabe must have engaged in self-introspection and perhaps realised that most of the failures that had led to him losing elections to Tsvangirai in 2008 were attributable to policy failures of his Zanu PF government over which he superintended.

Prices of basic commodities — some of which have become scarce — drugs and fuel are reportedly going up.

Most shops have adopted a three-tier pricing system for transfers, cash and card transactions, despite persistent denial by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe officials.

People are sleeping in bank queues to access very little cash, if anything after spending hours on end in the heat.

This chaos has been witnessed before. There is nothing new except the circumstances and, to some extent, the characters involved.

What has not changed is the victim who has remained the common man.

The same ordinary men and women, evidently battered by job losses and vomited onto the streets where they find livelihoods as vendors, have to struggle to get cash to use for transport.

Some mobile money outlets are also charging a premium for cash and this is levied on the ordinary citizen.

The streets are awash with cash, at times crisp new bond notes that you will never find in the formal system, are waved at street corners.

This is taking place in a country readying itself for elections in 2018.

Maybe Mugabe knows Zimbabweans are gullible and can easily fall into the trap of another attractive piece of paper his party will tout towards the polls.

    Comments (3)

    When a government full of doctors and professors run out of clues on how to rescue the economy it boggles the mind.

    Andrei Mafeso - 28 September 2017

    Kikikikiki Andreid don't fool yourself holding a doctorate is not a sign of competence its just a sign of brilliance at school. These guys, if at all they were, were brilliant at school zvekubasa izvi havazvigone. What matters when running any institution is consultation and listening to other people.

    Jeee - 30 September 2017

    eddie zvinonzwa wakangwarisa wagona kunyora sando dzako

    g40 - 2 October 2017

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