WRITING in 2006, Professor Jonathan Moyo said “that Mugabe must go is thus no longer a dismissible opposition slogan, but a strategic necessity that desperately needs urgent legal and constitutional action by Mugabe himself”.
Five years down the line, political events might have connived with each other and thrown the learned Mlevu villager back into the hands of Robert Mugabe and made him part of the leadership of what he once described as a “shelf political party that exists only in name”, but that Mugabe must go remains an even more urgent matter and demanding action not only from Mugabe himself, but the millions of Zimbabweans, including Professor Moyo. Any self-respecting 88-year-old would have found reason to exit the political scene especially after spending more than three decades presiding over moments of madness, natural resource plunder and, by extension, invitation of sanctions that have harmed the nation’s peasant population.
The biggest problem has become the existence of a rude club that has become gatekeepers to both the enjoyment of natural resources and Mugabe’s route out of power. Not only has this club been on a crusade of fooling the masses into believing that they own mining shares, but they have also manipulated Mugabe into believing that he can make belated contributions to the constitution-making process and successfully veto such non-negotiable issues as devolution of power.
Like Henry Malan who worked hard to sustain apartheid in South Africa and Joseph Goebbels who strengthened Nazism in Germany, the Ignatius Chombos and George Charambas of this world might try to sustain Zanu PF, but clearly their end is nigh. These gatekeepers to Mugabe’s exit have not only caused Zanu PF to be a moribund organisation that is repellent to any new ideas, but have also deprived him of an opportunity to plan his future as former Head of Government and thereby making Zimbabwe a shame to the Sadc region, Africa and the world at large. It is a matter of fact that we are the only country in the region without a former Head of Government since independence.
Not only has Mugabe, through his gatekeepers, denied his peers an opportunity to preside over a nation they selflessly fought for, he has also become a bad example to middle aged leaders like Lovemore Madhuku, Arthur Mutambara, Lovemore Matombo, Raymond Majongwe and Morgan Tsvangirai who have made it impossible to transfer power in the organisations that they lead, or purport to lead in the case of Mutambara and Matombo. Lucky enough, the debate on Mugabe’s exit has remained alive despite attempts to silence or stop it both inside Zanu PF and the nation at large. Those inside Zanu PF are involved in a succession tug-of-war whose faces are inarguably Joice Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa. Outside Zanu PF there is a legitimate regime change debate whose faces include Welshman Ncube, Morgan Tsvangirai, Simbarashe Makoni, Dumiso Dabengwa, Sikhumbuzo Dube and Egypt Dzinemunenzva, among others.
The answers to the questions of Mugabe’s exit, outside the biologically obvious one, lies in the elections due in the spring of 2013. The elections of the spring of 2013 will be by many standards historic. First of all, they are the last ones to be contested by both Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai; the two men who have become undisputable symbols of violent contestation and general polarisation.
Tsvangirai is serving his second and last term as MDC-T president and not even his wordsmith Nelson Chamisa could be in a position to justify his further occupation of not only the party presidency, but also the candidacy to State presidency. As for Robert Mugabe, both biological realities and the need for self-respect and preservation of one’s dignity, if any, predict that he can no longer be of any presidential value even to the notorious Chipangano.
Secondly, the 2013 elections will be historic in the sense that while all post-independence ones have been between Zanu PF as a sole ruling party and all others coming from outside government, the upcoming polls will be having three parties whose performance in government has undergone a concurrent public scrutiny.
If it is true that the Zimbabwean electorate values such things as service delivery, use of State resources and general leadership honesty, then surely the next election will be a rude awakening to many, especially those whose claim to fame is the people’s grievances and not necessarily a compassionate and clear programme of action.
The importance of service delivery, transparent use of State resources and general leadership honesty as indices of candidate credibility is important as it will serve as a means of restoring the augustness of Parliament. It is only when credible candidates are elected that Parliament will cease to be a national bedroom where geriatrics sleep and yawn while the energetic lead debates on libido, administration of bathing and regulation of women’s hairstyles. Unless and until parliamentarians are not chosen on their ability to castigate sanctions and homosexuals or on another end as a token of recognition for the number of times they have endured State brutality, the national transformation agenda shall always fail.
Thirdly, and most important, is the fact there is a huge group of new and young voters who are silently and peacefully organising one another in various fora. This group is determined to break its political virginity in a revolutionary fashion and be counted. It views the generation of Mugabe as the proverbial chicken that fed on its eggs by not only abandoning the promises of liberation, but by actually strengthening itself through the systems and laws of the colonial oppressor.
The new generation of first and second-time voters is less interested in political sloganeering and is alive to the existing inability to celebrate human diversity, but its use to cause unnecessary divisions in society. It is this generation which is determined to say “my father might have been a 5th Brigade; your mother might have been a dissident; let’s dance together”. Therefore, those who have the tendency of using tribe as a campaign tool and villagising some of the most credible candidates are up for a rude challenge.
It is with such knowledge that the young will approach the polling booth in the spring of 2013.
It is fundamental for every Zimbabwean to find peace with the reality that the 2013 exit of Robert Mugabe is no longer subject to any debate, but a sealed national agreement. The two most important things after he has gone which we must begin to openly and constructively debate are the calibre of his successor and the fate of his club of gatekeepers.