Mugabe trip to Tanzania ironic

Mugabe trip to Tanzania ironic

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ZIMBABWE – President Robert Mugabe left the country yesterday for the inauguration of Tanzania’s fifth President John Pombe Magufuli, with analysts saying he should be ashamed to witness numerous power handovers in the region while he hangs on at home. 

Magufuli takes over from Jakaya Kikwete, who last month said 10 years was too long a period for a leader to implement his goals. Mugabe has been at the helm of Zimbabwe for 35 uninterrupted years.

Almost all Sadc countries have changed leaders several times while Mugabe, at 91, soldiers on.

Publisher and political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said it was highly ironic that Mugabe goes to preside over successive presidential changeovers in the region while he hangs on.

“It actually shows that he is an incorrigible incumbent,” Mandaza said.

“The irony is evident. If he doesn’t acknowledge it, it means he is either too old to understand that or he lives in his own planet.”

Mugabe, the only President that Zimbabwe has known since attaining independence in 1980, recently said 10 years was not enough for a leader to make meaningful changes in a country.

Mandaza said Kikwete’s statement denouncing continued hold on power just before he handed over power was “a stricture against incumbency”.

“It is an indictment on incumbency and yet Mugabe goes there. He is making us a laughing stock. Even his advisers cannot see the irony,” Mandaza said.

Another political analyst, Alexander Rusero, said Mugabe presented a political contrast between the old guard born out of liberation struggles who have challenges in giving up power and a new generation of leaders who believe in leadership renewal.

Mugabe, Rusero said, would not care less about his presence at the inauguration, as he would be there under the African Union banner, and also a leader whose career was solidified by founding Tanzanian leader the late Julius Nyerere.

“Kikwete’s statement contrasted that of Mugabe who said 10 years was too short. Kikwete was simply saying power corrupts, but Mugabe represents a totally different political demographic age,” Rusero said.

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu agreed that Mugabe’s trip to Tanzania was a big irony.

“Whilst other countries within the Sadc region are changing their leaders and electing into office young and vibrant people,

Zimbabwe is still stuck with a Mugabe, who is 91, as President,” Gutu said.

“In complete defiance of reason and biological logic, Mugabe is even planning to run again for Presidential office in 2018 when he will be aged 94.”

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