Mugabe no longer ‘young-old man’

Mugabe no longer ‘young-old man’

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ZIMBABWE – It is self-evident that President Robert Mugabe is no longer the “young-old man” he used to brag about. As debilitating effects of longevity continue to take their toll on him, he indeed is sapped to world-weary proportions. 

It is an open secret that he is no longer as fit as a fiddle. He no longer has spring on his walk, waddles nor fluency in his talk, his drawls.

His age-ravaged faculties have overall slowed down almost to the point of standstill. He no longer is the top banana he used to pride himself in. Mugabe is tired and ought to have retired.

Although the Mugabe succession debate has for some time been held in whispers, it has become essential that it be held openly with no need of conducting weather checks.

With only three months shy of his 92nd birthday, Mugabe is now effete. Age-induced wear and tear has rendered him impossible to maintain the clean bill of health requisite to being the First citizen.

Given that life expectancy in Zimbabwe is pegged at 40 years, it can be said that Mugabe is now on borrowed time. It is, therefore, my humble submission that he puts people first in his considerations as he cannot defy nature indefinitely; ultimately, he will succumb. It is, therefore, imperative that the succession debate be accorded due consideration.

However, overtures by his wife, First Lady Grace Mugabe, to succeed the President must be scoffed at.

Her “Vanhu Vese kuna Amai” (Everyone to Mother of Nation) campaign deserves to be scoffed at with the insolence it deserves.
Put simply, Grace still has a long way to go before mastering the “knitting and crocheting” of government and politics. Her whirl-wind rallies are mere dress rehearsals.

It borders on flouting the conventions of a polite citizenry. The politics of patronage that catapulted her into the Zanu PF politburo must be buried in the sand.

Sadly, politics of patronage is the norm rather than the exception within Zanu PF. With proposals that a major road might soon be named after Grace, her love for pampering has become cancerous, gnawing the very heart of the ruling party.

When party secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo knelt down before her at a Mashonaland Westparty gathering, it was clear that things have gone bad in Zanu PF.

If Chombo’s gesture set tongues wagging, Vice President Phelekezela’s Mphoko’s admission that Grace represents Mugabe at public functions is utterly dumbfounding. Mphoko’s statement that Grace is his senior is pitiable than laughable.

It was ludicrous for Mphoko to say that by virtue of representing the President then Grace is his boss. If he displays such naivety it is sad to say that, he has nothing to show for his grey hair. It is not the hallmark of modesty. Grace must, at least, know that a dustcloth will always be a dustcloth, regardless of how it is decorated.

If truth were to be told, praises heaped on her are not commensurate with her works. The furore that erupted following her graduation with a doctorate degree confirms the disproportion between her accolades and actual achievements.

It must be against such moral depravity that Jerome said “If truth causes offence, I would rather have offence caused than truth be denied”.

Mugabe has of late been making some embarrassing slip ups. His Pasi ne Zanu PF gaffe at the congress last year was as off-white as his airport slip up of feet.

Yet even, amid his frailty, Mugabe is still like Poo-Bah, a character in the Gilbert and Sullivan opera, The Mikado who prided himself in his many titles at the expense of national good.

Little wonder, under him Zanu PF is losing its claim to being a revolutionary party. With stalwarts such as Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa expressing their Presidential ambitions only but subtly, the party is now conversely evolutionary.

It has been deemed politically correct to pamper Grace, (and) at most she is a mere stalking horse. Search for a replacement who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of government and politics has to start with immediate effect.

Admittedly Grace is a fortunate woman. She deserves a place in the Guinness Book of Records. She divorced a soldier only to marry the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and this is an odds defying scoop.

Her exploits equals that of Graça Machel, who became First Lady for two countries – Mozambique and South Africa. Grace’s sensational move from the barracks to State House is by all accounts stranger than fiction.

What was said by President Roosevelt about his country during one of his fine talks in the 1930s is pertinent to Zimbabwe. He presaged “If America were to fall, she would fall from within, not from without.”

It is evident that the fall of Zimbabwe is from within. A seared conscience that siphons millions of dollars from ministries and State-owned enterprises, under the guise of a birthday party, is one sure way through which the country falls from within.

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