President Robert Mugabe is generally said to be an astute politician.
Ever since he took over the stewardship of Zanu PF, the world has seen how he has managed to outwit his political rivals.
The narrative being promoted in Zanu PF circles and in State media tends to present him as the messiah without whom the liberation struggle wouldn’t have been executed and won.
Recently, his political brinkmanship has been exhibited in the way he has been able to divert attention from the failure of his government to petty issues.
It is common knowledge that his government has dismally failed to deliver on the promises that won him the July 31 elections. Not only has he failed to create the two million jobs he promised Zimbabweans — who are about the most unemployed people anywhere — at more than 80% joblessness.
According to reports, about 10 companies are shutting down every month since January resulting in about 10 000 losing their jobs in the space of a short half year.
After the economic surge brought about by the inclusive government of 2009 triggered by the ditching of the useless Zimbabwe dollar, the economy has stagnated again. Government business itself is under threat as civil servants are no longer guaranteed of their wages on a regular basis.
The Ministry of Finance last week announced it could no longer give pay dates for government’s more than 200 000 workers.
Economists say this is the surest sign of a governmental shutdown. The nation is crying out for solutions to this quagmire. But President Mugabe has failed to come out clearly on what the way forward is.
On numerous occasions, especially when he addresses public gatherings, he chooses to divert attention from real issues to petty personal attacks on his political opponents especially the hapless leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai.
Some say this is a good example of his political artistry, because after the bashing of poor Tsvangirai, the listening public is amused and forgets to ask him serious questions about the failure of his leadership.
Last week, addressing the usually rented crowd that gathers at the National Heroes’ Acre when a Zanu PF hero is interred
at the National Shrine, Mugabe said he felt pity for Tsvangirai because of his infidelity.
Fair enough, the opposition leader has had an eventful life since the death of his wife Susan in a car accident whose circumstances many still find suspicious. But Mugabe’s life has not been completely without colour either as far as women are concerned.
But it is the height of hypocrisy that he sees only Tsvangirai’s sexually peccadilloes, and not that of his closest allies. There are reports on daily basis of these even in the public Press.
Mugabe should feel pity, not for Tsvangirai, but for every Zimbabwean who has lost his or her job due to his policies that have grounded this country of great potential.
He should feel pity for the thousands who have lost their jobs due to the unprecedented closure of factories. He should feel pity for the children whose parents have been affected this way.
The nation is beyond caring about people’s private lives. It cares about where the next meal will come from. Mugabe had better address this as a matter of urgency.