Why ‘grandpa’ Mugabe must retire

Last week President Robert Mugabe’s former vocal supporter Julius Malema launched a scathing attack on the soon to be 93-year-old leader, saying he has overstayed in power.

sundayopinion BY MBUYISENI QUINTIN NDLOZI

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Malema, the leader of South Africa’s radical Economic Freedom Front (EFF), said Mugabe was giving Africa a bad name by clinging to power.

The rebuke angered Zanu PF and the government, which issued acerbic statements attacking Malema.
Below we reproduce the EFF statements defending Malema’s stance.

The EFF rejects the defence of President Robert Mugabe by (Information minister Chris Mushohwe) as evidence of the very fact of a personality cult in Zanu PF.

After failing to provide sound defence from our criticism of their blind worship of Mugabe, Zanu PF has now resorted to using government platforms. 

We want to state, without any fear of contradiction, that we reject the phenomenon of “lead to the grave” that Zanu PF has created out of Mugabe.

In defence of this phenomenon, all Zanu PF and now the Zimbabwean government has said is that EFF and (our commander in chief) Julius Malema are irrelevant.

The question is why then take government time and resources to respond to irrelevant things?
The truth is, they have taken time to respond precisely because our criticism has actually hit home. 

There is no amount of propaganda that can change the fact that Mugabe is old and should not be working in the high office of president.

What is worse is that Zanu PF has even nominated him as their presidential candidate for 2018 elections. 

We will never tell lies; Zanu PF is afraid of the truth and they all live a lie.

But all lies have short legs and now they are exposed because they actually have no political reasons why they have kept Mugabe in power even when he cannot physically do it.

They also have no actual defence to our charge that theirs is a politics of personality cult. 

We love Mugabe [more] than all those Zanu PF cowards who surround him because we tell him the truth.

The EFF are the only ones that actually care for the old man; we are caring enough to tell him to go rest and hand over the baton to others. 

The African revolution must disabuse itself from the politics of personality cult and the reactionary phenomenon of “lead to the grave”; the time for Mugabe to step down passed a long time ago.

In the word of Malema, we repeat that “grandpa, you must let go”!

The January 23 statement

The EFF reaffirms its position that Mugabe’s occupancy of the position of president is not good for the radical African political programme.

He is the bastion of the reactionary phenomenon of “lead to the death” that has crippled the image and praxis of post-colonial Africa.

Mugabe is not only the contemporary engine of personality cult, but he is protected by a group of cowards around him who hypocritically defend him everyday, whilst harbouring ambitions to lead soon.

We are unequivocal that revolutions ought to promote programmes and not personalities.

The continent needs heroes who will be able to stand firm on the objectives of the African revolution whilst allowing democratic practices and succession of leadership.

His example is contradictory to this ideal since it directly or indirectly promotes the phenomenon of refusing to leave office until death.

Before the Zanu PF and its youth wing respond to the EFF about the charge that they are cowards; they should ask themselves a simple question — what is revolutionary about being led by a person in old age; who sleeps all the time in meetings, can no longer even hold a pen or write half a page?

Failure to respond to this question signifies not that they are afraid of others, but of Mugabe.
When youth movements across the continent are fighting for change, questioning the transformation of liberation movements into old age homes and general gerontocracy, the Zanu PF youth is instead defending and advancing an essentially anti-youth statuesque.

This is because there is actually no youth in the Zanu PF youth; what you find are middle age men and women, half of which are suffering from a mid-life crises.

They should be ashamed of themselves for holding the future from being born in Zimbabwe.

We shall never tell lies as revolutionaries; all the anti-colonial struggle icons like Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere knew when it was enough and handed over the baton to others.

The African revolution must always distance itself from all forms of personality cults; insistence that Mugabe must lead to the grave is a sign that Zanu PF is drowning in cowardice.

Ndlozi is the EFF spokesperson

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