Zimbabwe presidential candidates under the magnifying glass


Zimbabwe-For crying out loud, it may be worth the while to place all our political leaders under the magnifying glass and give them their right score cards one by one from Monday to Friday.

Please pardon me in case I sound biased in some aspects. But this is a subjective process and mind you, one man’s trash, is another’s treasure or one’s meat is another’s poison. Feel free to post comments below for an effective interaction. Without much ado, here we go.

Robert Mugabe

He is the oldest politician cum war veteran on the arena. He did well in the early eighties as folks viewed him as the Knight in shining armor while they labored under the Independence euphoria. A few years later, it became another story. Corruption, violence and heavy-handed characteristics as well as taking the electorate for granted cost him. The 2000 referendum became the awakening pill. Today he sits on the fence as he has an uncertain future. He may have taken issues for granted for way too long as he acted like the metaphoric ostrich that buries its head in the sand in a looming wild fire.  Today, he is battling to survive and keeps releasing new trump cards by the season as he battles to retain the political microphone.

His strengths

He is eloquent, educated, smart, clean and seasoned on international relations. He dresses well and is in good shape. He has an impressive choice of colors and his wardrobe is stunning. He truly resembles an erudite leader who is firm, consistent, assertive, not shy and to the point. He does not have permanent friends or enemies. In his leadership traits he does not recant his statements neither does he compromise his beliefs and principles. He has the nationalistic approach and believes in black folks doing well for themselves without engaging foreign hands. His main goal is for them to be reliant and self-sustaining. His dream is premised on liberty and freedom and he at times struggles to convince his followers or to market his true manifesto that is centered on his people being independent in all aspects of life. He does not trust white folks that much because of the historical differences that revolve around slavery, colonialism and economic abuse at the home terrain. His main strengths became the land re-distribution exercise and the currently going on indigenization and empowerment agenda.

He does not apologize to the white community for being who he is or for what he says and does not worship them at all. As a rough rider he has earned himself credit in the black global communities and Carribean Islands where he is perceived as a saint or true savior that stands for true African values. He will be remembered for his pursuit of social and economic justice against the colonial system and the inherited imbalances after independence. While he has been generally hated by the white community, he has always remained unmoved and unshaken on what he believes to be the right paths to true sovereignty. His goal has been to fight for the black Zimbabwean to control all national resources and become a Master of his own destiny. He is himself yesterday, today and tomorrow and will never compromise his doctrines to please foreigners or the international community regardless of diplomatic efforts or sanctions. Even at the U.N. he speaks his mind and he has earned himself respect for that because he leaves them shaking their heads and they do not take him for granted because he is educated, informed, well-travelled, exposed and smart. He is a smart diplomat who has knowledge of economics and the law. With such a background, he is hard to beat on the true points that matter to global politics, economics and international policy.

His weaknesses

He has a poor choice of cabinet ministers. Some of them are his old friends or sheepishly loyal followers who rely on him for daily guidance. In some meetings, those who sit with him have stated that he runs these men and women like gullible prisoners of war. Some of the Ministers simply have war credentials without any informed or academic background or exposure. Some have been conveniently hand-picked because they are either empty-headed loud mouths or are easy to assign tasks because they are not questioning. Such dunderheads have pushed and sold the ZANU PF agenda through shoving down many people’s throats but that has cost him because as he plans his goals, at times the execution has been distorted because of foolish men and women that are assumed to efficiently execute the Master’s plan. At times a war record or a demonstrated militancy has not cured a gap for failing to articulate principles of common reason and understanding of informed policy administration or good governance. Mugabe recycles these ministers some of whom are so useless that they have been dismal failures in their ministries. As if that is not enough, once Mugabe appoints Ministers, he lets them serve until they die in office because he does not trust strangers. He also acts on gossip at times and that has seen him sacrifice his opponents or those that he suspects to be going against his way.

He is also uncomfortable with democratic principles at times when he wants to press down for his agenda. He would rather fight the whole world as an individual and he who disagrees with him quickly becomes an enemy under surveillance or to be eliminated or quarantined. So he thrives on sweet words, pleasantries, hero-worshipping and good news. He hates reality on the social ground. He wants to hear that he is popular and will win and will die in office. He is also a paper tiger in that he has some great researched policies on paper that at times lack informed execution strategies. For example he knows corruption exists but chooses to talk about it only at ZANU PF congresses but hardly does anything after the conference to enforce the law through for example the Commissioner General of Police. Also while he condemns violence, he sees that as a tool to command loyalty. That is why he hardly wants to see political violence criminals charged or incarcerated. What he says is different from what he does or what happens and he tends to be a hypocrite in that respect because he seems to condone violence to earn support yet he blames it openly as he addresses delegates and party supporters at rallies or before the media.

His other weakness is that if hijacking people’s funerals to make them campaign platforms or stages or launch pads for vitriolic attacks against members of the opposition. His inaccessibility and limited interaction with the citizenry is also a cause for concern. He could be one of the least-accessed world leaders and the most guarded. His security convoy could be one of the longest in the world and that costs the tax payer as it also shows his lack of confidence in his work before the public. He is never free to walk or to interact with members of the public. His last weakness has been lack of touch with the social problems that affect his people on daily basis. He hardly makes comments or stops travel amid natural disasters, tragedies or any problems faced by his people. He would rather move on and do what he had planned. He is closed to new ideas and remains very skeptical of new faces and fresh minds. Where his party commands respect, he takes those areas for granted and hardly puts any effort to splash signs of gratitude or material support.

He openly channels development agenda towards his rural home that has suddenly become a sprouting urban zone. Areas like Mashonaland Central where he commands humongous support are the least developed areas in the country and yet they have assured him of victory come hail come thunder. Then areas like Matabeleland have been abandoned for good on tribal lines and have suffered forever thereby ensuring their resentment for his ZANU PF. Also, the Chiyadzwa diamond wealth management has suddenly become a ZANU PF baby instead of it becoming a national asset. All commanders of the uniformed forces have all been mandated to support ZANU PF and become partisan instead of them serving the nation as neutral public servants. For being loyal, they have been handsomely rewarded to help suppress dissent and disgruntlement among the electorate. With such a potential military state, civilians now live in fear. That will cost him in the upcoming election. In summary, Mugabe’s failure to tame corruption, violence, diamond wealth management formalities and a disconnection with the masses will prove costly as he continues to live in the ZANU PF high tower. If nly he could come down and feel the social heat, he could learn more and make some adjustments.

The next Presidential candidate  to be scrutinized is Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC-T


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