PRESIDENT ROBERT Mugabe has been described as one of Africa’s worst leaders and equated to Burundi leader Pierre Nkurunziza who is presently facing fierce resistance to his plans to run for a third term.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Addressing stakeholders at the Mandela Washington Fellowship discussion forum on pitfalls of leadership in Johannesburg on Tuesday, renowned South African political analyst Moeletsi Mbeki reportedly said Mugabe and Nkurunziza deserved the “bad leaders’ awards”, as they had proved to be bad in leadership, but good in clinging onto power.
Moeletsi, younger brother of former South African President Thabo Mbeki, is the deputy chairman of an independent think-tank, South African Institute of International Affairs.
The issue could spark a diplomatic row with Harare, as the US Embassy in Harare tweeted: “Moeletsi Mbeki gives awards on bad leadership (and) the gold awards are shared between Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi sharing with Mugabe.”
Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo reacted angrily to the tweet, describing the move by the US Embassy as undiplomatic.
“How does an accredited diplomatic mission in Harare go down the gutter to fetch and peddle this rubbish? Undiplomatic,” Moyo tweeted.
However, analysts said Mbeki’s analysis was spot-on, given the manner Mugabe had run down the country over the last three decades.
“I don’t know about awards, but what I know is that President Mugabe’s record of governance and public management has been atrocious,” political analyst Charles Mangongera said.
“To inherit such a promising country with so much potential and destroy it within three decades is record breaking.
“If you look at Africa in general, he is the oldest President that we have and Zimbabwe is doing badly in many aspects particularly on the economic front.
“I think this is a serious record.
“I don’t know whether that would qualify him to share the award with Burundi, but his record of management is bad.”
Another political analyst Takura Zhangazha said although the criteria was not clear on how Mbeki reached his conclusion, it was “far-fetched” to put Mugabe and the Burundian leader in one basket.
“The Burundi leader is being accused of undemocratically extending his term of office, but Mugabe was recently elected,” Zhangazha said.
“That he has overstayed doesn’t put him in the same basket.
“That is his personal opinion.”
Both Mugabe and Nkurinziza are being accused of clinging onto power, despite opposition to their governance styles.
Mugabe, who turned 91 this year, is Zimbabwe’s only leader since independence in 1980.
Nkurunziza recently survived a military coup over his push for a third term in office.
Mbeki gave the bronze medal for poor leadership to South African President Jacob Zuma and his brother Mbeki.
The late former South African President Nelson Mandela was awarded the best leadership lifetime accolade by Mbeki’s think-tank.