President Robert Mugabe’s curious claims that Zimbabweans love him so much that they want him to continue ruling no matter how old he becomes made the biggest news in Zimbabwe last week.
BY TANGAI CHIPANGURA
While there was deafening silence, with virtually no comment on the president’s utterances from his party Zanu PF, his traditional bootlickers or spin doctors, Mugabe’s weird declaration sparked shock and outrage from the rest of the citizenry.
People could not believe that Mugabe actually thinks that Zimbabweans want him to continue ruling this country despite having ruined their lives over decades of poverty and misery in a country once described by Julius Nyerere as a “jewel of Africa”.
People were further infuriated by Mugabe’s audacity to even try to prescribe the qualities for whoever would succeed him when, as he apparently infers, he dies in office.
“Nobody needs to hear from Mugabe who has failed as a leader what sort of a successor we need. Everyone knows exactly what his dismal record of gross mismanagement is and on that basis alone, he is the last person to even talk about a successor for the nation… For Mugabe to say everyone loves him and wants him to stay is ludicrous,” fumed a commentator in a local weekly.
Well; ludicrous, delusional, crazy, strange, shocking or stupid as his utterances may be, what I don’t find in doubt is the fact that Mugabe actually believes in what he is saying.
Mugabe does believe that Zimbabweans would kill for him and that anyone who suggests he steps down for any reason would receive their wrath. He does believe that even when he will be a staggering 94 years old in 2018, Zimbabweans will still want him, and nobody else, to rule them for another five years; when he would be nearly 100 years old!
And, in my view, it is not Mugabe’s fault that he believes in such horror. He is made to think in this manner by people who have created a “cousin to the moon” and a “brother to the sun” out of him.
He has been made to believe he is Zimbabwe’s “Messiah”, without whom the country will die!
This reminds me of how Egypt’s third president, Anwar Sadat died. One fateful October morning, 35 years ago, Sadat — who had been made to believe by a clique of bootlicking hangers-on that he was super-human, larger than life —was gunned down by one of his own soldiers.
The angry young soldier broke from the military parade that Sadat was inspecting, shouting obscenities and pumping bullets into the president’s heart. But, even as the bullets ripped him to pieces, Sadat still believed he had the authority to “warn” the young soldier: “Don’t do anything silly my son!”
His supporters and bootlicking hangers-on had stupefied him into believing he was the last Pharaoh and, therefore, did not have to fear death. He collapsed dead — grisly evidence of the consequences of arrogant impunity —horrid proof of what happens to leaders that blindly fall victim of hyperbolic praises and sycophantic flattery.
Such declarations and claims coming from the president while in Japan is the grim evidence of the results of Mugabe hero-worshipping taken too far — bootlicking gone awry.
There is no reason for anybody of fair intelligence not to realise that a suffering people such as have become Zimbabweans, can never wish to perpetuate their misery by keeping the reason for their unhappiness intact — even love it enough to be ready to kill for it!
Such thinking can only be the folly of a mind that has been badly twisted, corroded and blinded by unbridled deitising. There are people whose apple-polishing acts have seen them embarrassing themselves in public in ways that their own wives and children could disown them.
These are the people that make little gods out of mere mortals who then tend to entertain such ludicrous monstrosity that they are loved by people whose lives they have destroyed.
The major fault lies in the cowardly, greedy and insecure politicians whose self-serving bootlicking acts transform otherwise good leaders into incorrigible tyrants — blind to danger, deaf to advice and impervious to common wisdom.
We should avoid falling into the political bad habit of seeking personal favours from leaders by transforming them into gods or living legends or saints. This obsequious flattery is what makes leaders believe they are indispensable.
Evidence of such dangerous acts of hero-worshipping, which we ought to be afraid of, abounds in today’s Zanu PF. Elderly men have been seen kneeling before, not only the president, but even his young wife — an embarrassing spectacle explained by nothing but shameless rent seeking.
Zimbabwean politicians in Zanu PF have always behaved like this and one day a long time ago in Parliament, one diminutive but brave woman MP, Margaret Dongo described the men in Zanu PF as “Mugabe’s wives”.
We had, once upon a time, the likes of the late Tony Gara and other good-for-nothing political clowns seeking to equate Mugabe to Jesus. There are many more such fools today on the same trajectory — seeking to involve God in clearly human acts of wickedness.
The tragedy of such foolishness is that weak-minded leaders are so infected by this praise-singing and sycophantic flattery they begin to believe they are holy cows who have no business accounting to the people that voted them into power.
We are free to call our leaders all sorts of comic praise names like “Cremora”, but as soon as we start telling fallible beings they are “True Sons of God”, “Angel Gabriel” ,“second Jesus” or equating them to Biblical holy men “walking through the walls of Jericho”, we must know we are heading for disaster.
We encourage our leaders towards dangerous hallucinations where they drag our countries to the dogs — dancing and laughing all the way!
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