President Robert Mugabe is highly intelligent, smart, entertaining, funny and revolutionary.
I am a massive fan. His speeches are well-articulated, and almost always laden with “real issues”. The man possesses unique qualities that even his own enemies, by their own admission, admire and respect him for.
His policies, though poorly applied, ludicrously self-serving at times and ultimately no more than mere useless tigers made of paper, are nonetheless still essentially very well thought out indices based on delectable Pan African tenets. Zimprest, and Zim Asset, for example, are by all accounts, on paper, impressive.
Mugabe can just about charm anyone anywhere, anytime. He is a super being, with a super presence. A lot of people who despise Mugabe in public are, embarrassingly, private fans of the comrade, even if that irks the living crap out of them. Nelson Chamisa was wooed and charmed in minutes, his once vivacious dislike for the citizen of Robert Mugabe replaced by an acquiescent chortling demeanour. So too have many “white” journalists and leaders who have been breathtaken by the immense personality of the man.
Mugabe’s leadership is now punctuated by his strong personality.
Approbation of the nonagenarian is hinged upon and driven by his unbelievable strength of temperament, charisma and resolve.
While his personality is noticeably deserving of reverence, it is heartbreakingly sorry that it has taken centre stage. Lamentably, the populace’s awe with Mugabe the man is overshadowing his unimpressive traits in governance.
Charisma alone is not enough and does not excuse the other mischiefs. Mugabe is a head of State, and a key entity in Zimbabwe’s, and Africa’s political dynamism. Valuation of the man should, and must, include, by and large, his performance and aptitude as a head of State and government.
All the niceties aside, Mugabe, as a leader, is all talk but no walk. He is dismally poor at implementing any of his impressive policies, ideologies and principles. He is what my partner calls, a “story teller”; a man whose tête-à-tête is more fantasy than reality, whose utterances are promises, yet conveyances are noughts.
Two million jobs promised in 2013, indigenisation, empowerment and the agrarian reform, to mention all but a few, are classic paragons of Mugabe’s artistry. The man is good at drawing tigers on paper.
Someone once said, “It is inconceivable that Robert Mugabe knows the situation on the ground, surely those that update him, are lying to him”. That could be true; his deputy, Phelekezela Mphoko, did question the sanity of a vendor who sells produce on the streets, positing that the man should rather get a job.
That is just how arrogantly and ignorantly out of touch with reality he is, that he believes a grown man would willingly sell tomatoes in the middle of the street, under the blazing sun, for less than a dollar a day, because he is too lazy to get a “real job”.
A job! Yes, you read that correctly! What a lame joke right? What job? Where? In Zimbabwe? Hilarious! There are more chances of finding a rabbit and a mouse in bed!
Nonetheless, if his informants are spreading falsities and convincing him that all is well in a country literally crumbling to pieces, and he has the audacity to believe them, then Baba Chatunga is dancing on the frills of blind fantasy and regrettable ignorance.
If President Mugabe is aware of the dire state of the country, but convinced that the situation is acceptable and in the long term beneficial to the general inhabitants, then he is dancing on the frills of tyranny, zero foresight, and inhumane insensitivity, that is if he has not traversed them already.
Whether Mugabe is unconcer-ned, or hopelessly misinformed or both, it is still a damning testament of his leadership.
You see, governance must, and ought to have deliverable and measurable outcomes. Yet, despite the impressive rhetoric used by Bob, which leaves township youths dancing and village folk expectant, the statistics rudely display that he has overseen Zimbabwe’s slump from sharing a GDP with Korea, and near that of China in the late 80’s, early 90’s, to having no GDP to talk of in 2008.
When assessed through the barometer of governance, Mugabe’s repertoire is found strenuously inadequate. Zimbabwe’s economy is on auto-pilot with no currency of its own, unemployment is at a record high, and we are pumping forced migrants into other countries.
He has overseen the demise of almost all of Zimbabwe’s industry.
Companies close daily, millions still live in rural reserves, and Zimbabwe is now a net food importer. What a spectacular fall from grace, for a country that was a bread basket exporting food even to the developed world. I won’t even touch the “sacrosanct”; corruption. That minefield needs a part two.
And then the unimpressive “sanctions” trump card, which is continuously employed in defence of “bad governance”. A father who makes excuses is, in my book, no father at all. Cuba did well under stiffer sanctions, so too has Iran. If one is a leader, they ought to make solutions. I can never negotiate with my two year-old son to sleep on an empty stomach because of the economy; he will throw a tantrum. Yet we have been hoodwinked into accepting a sub-standard lifestyle by Mugabe and his administration.
Secondly, sanctions had nothing to do with Gukurahundi, or the duo of war veteran pay outs and the war in DRC, which slaughtered the economic stability of Zimbabwe way before sanctions came around.
Similarly, sanctions played no part in the decimation of the agriculture sector by angry war vets and thugs. They (sanctions) play no part in grand corruption in parastatals either.
It is distasteful how the entire world is carried away by Mugabe’s other abilities, and omits the significant. I refuse, and I will reiterate, Mugabe is a remarkable man, but his governance of Zimbabwe is just bad.
And yes, I said it! An ambiguous indigenisation policy that puts off foreign direct investments is bad governance, so too is persecuting a widow and obsessing with factionalism when millions are hungry. No need for special diction there, it is just dreadful!
Maynard Manyowa is a political & social analyst. You can reach him for feedback via his website www.maynardmanyowa.com, via email: email@example.comfirstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @iAmKudaMaynard or his Facebook page.