Yes, Mugabe must be allowed to go home and rest


Last week this newspaper published views by analysts who, like several million other Zimbabweans will agree, said President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, now 87, must accept he has had his time and should be allowed to rest.

I am one of the millions that share the view that President Mugabe has built a rare legacy.

Zimbabweans cherish this legacy so much they would be saddened to see all of it discarded into the sewer, simply because certain people within Zanu PF are too afraid to lose, not him, but their selfish interests.

There is empirical evidence the world over that those who overstay their welcome will of necessity put their host in a state of perpetual discomfort.

The name of President Mugabe features strongly among prominent men in history, Napoleon Bonaparte, Tshaka Zulu, Benito Mussolini, Nelson Mandela, Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Kwame Nkrumah, George Washington, Mao Tse Tung, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, Samora Machel, Kamuzu Banda, men whose fortunes blossomed but had doors of those fortune necessarily closed when time came.

Some, like the legendary Mandela, left the arena even when millions all over the world wanted them to stay.

Others, like Adolf Hitler, took their lives because they feared they would be killed by their own people.

Others too, like Banda, old tearful Kaunda of Zambia and lately Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, had their political lives obliterated by winds of democratic change.

President Mugabe appears stuck in the league of a tiny minority of leaders, almost miniscule to the point of invisibility, who by reason of either misinformation or deliberate mischief, fail to acknowledge the principle of political diseconomies of scale.

There is no doubt at all that President Mugabe has individually contributed invaluably towards the independence and well-being of Zimbabwe.

But then, it remains a fact his contribution towards the collective pain and suffering that the people of this country have endured in the time of his reign, especially in the past decade, outweighs the President’s erstwhile achievements.

Millions of Zimbabweans still remember Gukurahundi, the DRC intervention, Murambatsvina, a ruined economy along with the collapse in education, health, road and electricity infrastructure, extensive poverty, election violence and death, a biased judiciary and media paranoia.

While this is a strong case for the President’s immediate retirement, there is even a stronger case for his departure.

The laws of this country, and indeed many other places, do not permit civil or public servants to be employed beyond the age of 65.

This universally acceptable position is justified by both intellectual and biological reason, that all human beings, even those that claim to be in their positions on an election ticket, are subject to deteriorating mental and physical capacity with age.

It is, as the analysts said last week, very difficult to convince anyone, Your Excellency, that at such an advanced age, your capacity for good judgment can still satisfy the demands of millions of young Zimbabweans.

Yet, it is undeniable fact that the person of President Mugabe has been so present in the Zimbabwean political landscape that it has engendered a strong belief especially in Zanu PF that should he step down, the party, the State, and the nation will crumble, the “no Zimbabwe without Mugabe” mentality.

It is an undeniable fact that President Mugabe and the struggle for Zimbabwe are one in popular memory.

And in the minds of the old men and women at Shake-Shake building, the name Mugabe and Zanu PF are one.

All this gives the old fox unchallengeable liberation credentials that come indispensable in every Zanu PF election campaign.

That is the reason why each year the President says he would have long called it a day but he stays on because he is being “asked” to soldier on, age regardless.

WikiLeaks has claimed the head of the United Nations offered the President a lucrative retirement package in an overseas haven if he stood down, but his administration has vehemently denied this.

Such a prospect would certainly come as God-given to many Zimbabweans who believe the President is now over the hill and is no longer capable of comprehending issues affecting the country.

There are, however, still many that believe President Mugabe may be old but is still in a good state of health.

Political analyst Ernest Mudzengi says: “The only fear is that Zanu PF is hanging by him and his exit might mean the end of the party. It will, however, be in his best interests and that of the country for him to retire before his health starts failing him.

Whatever will happen after that might be catastrophic for the country because there is no guarantee that there will be a peaceful transition of power and that anarchy will not occur.”