If the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, then President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF might look unreasonable, preposterous and potty after a group of party legislators travelled all the way to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to lobby for the President to get a second term as African Union (AU) chairman regardless of the grouping’s Constitution.
According to Albert Einstein, insanity is doing the same thing over and over with the full expectation that the results are going to be different. Hence, the least Zanu PF could bargain for is for Mugabe to be given a so-called special role to help guide African leaders in fulfilling outstanding goals of the African Union (AU). While for Makonde MP Kindness Paradza it is a coup in his faction-riven political party, it is the height of madness in the eyes of Zimbabweans and Africa as a whole.
How and why they think Mugabe should be treated differently from other leaders that have served their rotating AU chairmanship’s tenures is anyone’s guess. No doubt the continent of Africa should be worried by Zanu PF’s melodramatics, especially at a time the whole world is calling for leaders to respect term limits. Global leaders must, therefore, feel sorry for Zimbabweans, who have to contend with such an uncaring leadership and governing party with no regard for the people.
Is it any wonder then that Mugabe has refused to go since his election almost 36 years ago? Is it not ironic that Mugabe, who turns 92 next month, is due for re-election in 2018? The President’s health is failing as is evidenced by his regular trips to the Far East to seek medical attention. In 2018, Mugabe will be 94 years old and clearly it will be the height of insanity for a nonagenarian to run the very demanding office of State President, let alone the rotational AU chairmanship.
What business does he still have with the AU, let alone Zimbabwe? Surprisingly enough, Zimbabweans hear Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa almost running out of superlatives describing Mugabe as a sophisticated, charismatic, iconic and morally upright leader — the list is endless. To Mnangagwa and many like-minded Zanu PF bootlickers, Mugabe is a rare gift to Zimbabwe, whose visionary leadership was unparalleled, a steadfast thinker and an intellectual giant.
But if, indeed, Mugabe is as legendary as Mnangagwa would want us to believe, why is it difficult for him to quit politics to save Zimbabweans the embarrassment of having a nonagenarian for a President? Leaders are those that are selfless, yet in our case it is the opposite. Zimbabweans, therefore, wonder how Mugabe can claim the legendary mantle in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa with the amount of suffering, hurt, economic collapse and misgovernance in the country.
With the amount of suffering and poverty prevailing in the country, in what capacity would the Zanu PF brownnosers, posing as legislators, push for Mugabe’s second term as AU chair? It is this kind of attitude by Zanu PF and like-minded individuals on the continent that has kept Africa at a standstill, while cheering dictators, tyrants or pseudo-democrats, as is the case in our situation, instead of stopping them in their tracks.
The Zanu PF leadership must be aware that sometimes doing the same thing a second time when it hasn’t worked the first is indeed just foolish. Although sometimes it’s shrewd, wisdom consists, in part, in knowing the difference. Flexibility is a virtue, and Mugabe must exercise just that. Mugabe should know that the essence of futility is to keep doing the same thing while expecting a different result. But is that what his key government forecasters are doing in determining their outlook for the economy? It is a big “No”. It is clear that Zanu PF is taking advantage, turning the President into a “presidential prisoner”.
It is up to Mugabe to remain an all-time liberation war hero or turn himself into a legendary villain.