Wily Mugabe outfoxes opponents

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He came, he saw and he conquered! President Robert Mugabe!

President Mugabe has done it again . . . for the umpteenth time. He has been confirmed the presidential candidate for Zanu PF in the next presidential election, whenever that may be held.

President Mugabe may well be 88 or 89 years by then — an advanced age indeed in anyone’s estimation. This is certainly Guinness Book of Records material.

But this was fairly predictable. Zanu PF will never stage such an event without having strictly choreographed the moves first, so who could have dared throw their hat into the ring against this awesome political matador and grandmaster, against the grain?

Absolutely no one . . ! President Mugabe is the ultimate authority in Zanu PF and what he says has the same force and effect as an Islamic fatwa or decree issued by the Ayatollah . . . and if he says he has no intention of retiring yet, after 31 years in power, that’s gospel, absolute and unquestionable . . . end of story. No one can dare say otherwise.

They call it party discipline but, in reality, this is euphemism for invertebrate, lily-livered, downright lack of capacity to face up to the man and tell him they will not put up with deferring the succession issue any longer.

God in Heaven, the price we pay for receiving cheap patronage. . !

That President Mugabe would carry the day was a fait accompli and all noises about possible change, in the build-up to the conference were mere idle indulgence.

Over the years he got all in his party eating out of his hand. He is one of the shrewdest statesmen Africa has ever known, out-foxing all his opponents. It’s hard to tell who could have been the student of the other between him and Nicolo Machiavelli.

His colleagues in the party are frustrated, of course, having been waiting and expecting him to move on, so that they could refresh and re-invigorate the waning party which has lost popularity to the extent of being thoroughly drubbed by novices like the MDC in elections, since 2000.

Many of them are also reaching retirement ages while parked in the waiting room. They simply do not have the wherewithal to handle him.

For a party, that is nearly half a century old, to be getting a hiding from an upstart, barely 10 years old, and having to resort to unorthodox means to remain relevant, is the height of humiliation.

And, indications are that the MDC will almost certainly repeat that victory with an even wider margin, the next time around, since Zanu PF has decidedly fossilised and arrogantly resisted change.

When people vote against your party, they are communicating a certain sentiment, and if you are impervious to such overtures and dig your head in the sand, you pay the price in the end.

Arrogance has never been an endearing attribute, and statements like, “If you think you can take away with a pen and a ballot what the gun and the bullet brought, you have another think coming” are totally unhelpful.

Some in Zanu PF, Yours Truly, is often told, think President Mugabe is no longer an asset, but a liability in the party.

They think he is taking the party down with him, but they are in a “who-will-bell-the-cat” quandary and catch-22, in so far as dealing with him is concerned.

They seem to hate President Mugabe’s continuation more than they hate the MDC, hence the “bhora musango” strategy in the 2008 plebiscite, which saw the old man fall.

President Mugabe cuts a lonely figure in the Zanu PF matrix now, all comrades of his vintage having passed on either due to old age and natural wastage.

He underscored the point himself succinctly at the Bulawayo conference, but went on to give reasons for continuing on the throne.

President Mugabe, somehow, holds himself out to be the vanguard and last line of defence against perceived colonialism and imperialism, though many think, he is, in fact, indulging in some nostalgic shadow boxing with the ghost of imperialism.

They think he chooses to live in the past because that is where he wants to remain and where his relevance really lies. But President Mugabe has no faith in the capacity and competency of anyone else in Zanu PF, to inherit power in “his” country.

Some say he is the be-all and end-all of Zanu PF. It’s a fatal structural defect and a tragic state of affairs, but a real boon for the MDC which simply has to circle above and wait with bated breath.

Despite the pretences, the majority in Zanu PF are baffled by President Mugabe’s “handiende” antics, tactics and strategy, if indeed there is a design in the madness, save for the sycophantic fringe who would obviously immediately fall off, like ticks in the dip-tank, if he were to suddenly take the plunge and leave office.

These are the ones urging him to hang in there, not for his own good, but for theirs. These are the same crusade edging him to fire WikiLeaks guys, so that they, themselves, rise to the top and replace them.

Julius Nyerere was smarter. He gave his party, Chama Chamapinduzi, a new lease of life by leaving the scene and allowing for renewal after 27 years at the realm.

It is still ruling up to this day and has evolved a culture of peaceful succession. Several other countries have followed suit. It’s the right thing to do.

Yours Truly from the Editor’s Bottom Drawer would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year. Do the right thing and don’t be caught off guard.