When Mugabe turns 100

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I have heard many a scenario and endless rather enervating and speculative tales on President Robert Mugabe’s imminent departure or demise.

Vince Musewe

Today I must wager that this gentleman, despite his somewhat traduced reputation, will most likely be with us for a long time to come and we are better off accepting him is an aberration.

He certainly is a fringe event and yet remains an indisputable constant in our political formula for a little while longer.
This is the reality, whether we like it or not.

That is most unfortunate and yet the most judicious approach we should take if we are to take advantage of the times we live in.
I would even go further to venture that, at this rate, Mugabe may even outlive most of us, especially those we now expect to take over from him.

This, therefore, means that, if I am correct in my speculations, Mugabe will stand as the Zanu PF sole presidential candidate for the 2018 election, possibly win the election if we foolishly participate without reforms, and serve his full term up to 2023, as long as he is of sound mind.

We, therefore, would be foolhardy to accept that it is now a given that the likes of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa or any other, are definite heirs to the throne.

Much will depend on the fate of Mugabe.

It is, therefore, best that we be prepared for surprises.

I also think that, based on last year’s developments around the Zanu PF congress, I may have made wrong the assumption that First Lady Grace Mugabe is firmly in charge. My mind now hesitates to entertain that supposition.

For me, it is probable that she may have merely been used by the clever old man to test the waters as it were, thus enabling him to flush out those underlings he no longer needs.

This is typical of him given the long corridor of dead heroes and redundant emasculated contenders who really never got anywhere.

I must say that, I do not admire the job of the new VPs at all.

As I said last week, the chalice they have been handed is poisoned.

As they are gripped with promoting ZimAsset, I cannot avoid, but pity them simply because their task of mobilising $27 billion to fund it is an impracticable pipe dream — it’s a set-up!

Mugabe is probably chuckling and watching them very closely. He is even encouraging them and yet, they truly risk being called “stupid naive fools unschooled in statecraft” in the future. It is a ridiculous tragedy of the ambitious and naïve.

In my opinion, Mugabe remains the modern Machiavelli of Zimbabwe gifted with a deep insight of political games and personalities — a master in the art of intrigue and ultimate survival.

He would certainly prevail in a political survivor reality show! Make no mistake, I aspire not to be like him nor do I admire his prowess and infamous obsessions.

However, he has unashamedly demonstrated to us all how to attain and retain uncontested political and personal power at all costs — a feat hitherto unprecedented in the history of Zimbabwe and Africa, for that matter.

No wonder why the rest of Africa loves him and have duly appointed him chair of the African Union. That is the agonising truth we must accept.

Of course, in the whole process, he has become rather self-centred, uncaring and totally insensitive to our expectations and aspirations as a people.

Mugabe only has three concerns — Mugabe, Mugabe, Mugabe.
Because of that, we sit today in an economy that is teetering at the edge and yet I see no signs of a revolution coming.

I have been trying to think around the critical junctures that Zimbabwe is likely to face in 2015. I had in my mind several potentials, one being the non-payment of civil service salaries.

I conjectured that this could trigger profound political change but now, I no longer think so. I am forced to admit the likelihood that, even if civil servants are not paid their salaries in the future, they will be no mass action from them.

In fact, our civil servants are most likely to hold onto their jobs and still pitch up for work regardless.

They will, of course, abuse State facilities for personal profit as the police and others now do, while hoping that one day they will be paid their dues.

Their hope will remain a dangerous antidote for action. This is our fate.

My contention is that, as long as the top echelon of security forces and intelligence services are secure and continue to be afforded access and opportunity to amass personal wealth and have unbridled use of State resources, Mugabe is the President for life.

In fact, in my view, in normal democracies the State has an army, but in Zimbabwe, the army has a State.

I would even advise those contenders around him, those pretenders, praise singers and ambitious parasites within Zanu PF to accept this fact and know that they remain mere instruments, to be used and discarded at his pleasure. That is their fate.

What does this mean for Zimbabwe? It means we might have to muddle through the next 10 years and with no fundamental change in our politics.

We may, therefore, remain complicit victims of Mugabe’s narrative for the foreseeable future.

It is most likely that we are indeed going to continually live in a survivalist economic environment for a while.

I conclude, therefore, that the only real critical juncture that may result in profound political and economic change in Zimbabwe will be the passing-away of Mugabe and nothing else.

However, it is best not to underestimate his will to live, his seeming defiance of nature and medical expectations, his insatiable thirst for power and control, his incomprehensible ability to survive against all political odds and, above all, his rare gift, by God’s grace, of a long life.

Of course, I am, but a mere mortal and can consequently not predict the future with certainity, but what if I am right?

Vince Musewe is an independent economist, author and President of Zimbabwe First! You may contact him on
vtmusewe@gmail.com

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