Zimbabwe can ill-afford absentee leadership

President R. G. Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe has once again left many dumbfounded after he flew in and out of the country in a space of around 18 hours.

Comment: NewsDay Editor

With the magnitude of Zimbabwe’s problems, one would have expected Mugabe to devote most of his time trying to turn around the country’s fortunes, but alas, it seems travelling across the world is a more tempting prospect for the leader.

Mugabe traditionally goes on holiday in mid-December to mid-January, but Zimbabwe finds itself in an unusual situation that needs all hands on deck.

Mugabe could have gone on his holiday, but should have cut it short, as the country literally grinds to a standstill in his absence.

Cabinet does not meet in his absence, meaning the government’s agenda is frozen for more than a month, at a time the government can ill afford to do so.

In Mugabe’s absence, the country has had to deal with a typhoid outbreak, and it is dispiriting that the President is yet to say anything about it.

A stalemate over civil servants’ bonuses has ensued, and this is all of Mugabe’s doing, as he promised the 13th cheque at a time when all and sundry knew this was close to impossible to implement.

Now the government is coming up with disingenuous ways to pay civil servants their bonuses and instead of dealing with this, Mugabe chose to have an extended holiday, where he flew between Mali, Singapore and China without even addressing this sticking issue in Zimbabwe.

The country is also facing floods and an army worm outbreak and Mugabe cannot be too bothered to address these pressing concerns.

Right now, most of the country’s roads are potholed and are hazardous, but the roads leading to Mugabe’s home were refurbished, while others remain an eyesore.

Mugabe’s leadership is needed now more than ever, as the country heads towards the precipice and he needs to act to stop the haemorrhaging.

This needs Mugabe to be in the country and directing all activities, because, surely, he cannot lead Zimbabwe from foreign cities.

While no one can begrudge Mugabe taking his annual leave, it would show leadership if he were to shorten it, or take his vacation within the country’s borders, as he will have a first-hand appreciation of the gravity of the problems the country is facing.

What Zimbabwe needs now is a leader who is willing to put the country first above his or her own interests and work for the nation.

Zimbabwe can ill-afford absentee leadership if it is to survive the crises it faces.


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