It is really sad what is currently happening in the history of Zimbabwe. The country, once Africa’s jewel in the crown in many respects, has become a laughing stock presided over by a predatory and heartless political class which has colonised the state and is plundering greedily, while prepared to ignore evil, from Gukurahundi to Itai Dzamara’s abduction and disappearance for self-interest.
Those on Mugabe’s payroll, including educated and intelligent people, as well as some journalists, are ready to do anything to defend his rule. Even at a damaging cost to their reputations, they seem not to care. All ultimately for the trappings of power and official largesse, not the country. It’s materialism writ large. The tendency to consider material possessions and comfort as more important than any other value is now entrenched in society and etched on the consciences of those in power. Principles, ethics and morality have been thrown out the window. The mandate to serve the people has been reduced to a vain and hollow slogan.
Dictators reward only a small clique of party, army, police, intelligence, judiciary, legislators, senior civil servants loyalists and praise-singers who will reliably become foot soldiers to fiercely fight dissenters and the opposition with all their vicious might. The inner circle hangers-on stay loyal because either they are on the feeding trough, are corrupt or have blood on their hands.
Of course, the usual threadbare cover for apologia or defence of dictatorship and looting is a nationalism and patriotism facade. Deceptive mantras are used to camouflage the charade, mostly by dishonest or unscrupulous frauds. There is always an absurd subterfuge of trying to apply a veneer of credibility on a vile dictatorship.
Indeed, patriotism has now become a refuge for scoundrels. But then, their masks have fallen irretrievably. People can now see them for who they really are.
How did Zimbabwe come to this point?
There are many answers to this question; however, the important thing is that the history of post-colonial Africa is repeating itself in Zimbabwe. Inherently, dictators who believe L’etat, c’est moi, or “I am the state”, meaning that they are bound by no rules and have no limits, will do anything to hang onto power and plunder. But inevitably, they exit in a disgraceful manner. This is the endgame which Mugabe now faces.