FIRST, is Mr Robert Mugabe a super-ager?
Or secondly, has senility degraded the cortex of the former president of Zimbabwe — a man revered by many Zimbabweans and other Africans in his erstwhile political leadership for his stoic stance against imperialism — rendering it so wafer thin that he has lost his fire and become an example of revolutionary self-denial that now he becomes vulnerable to opportunists using him as cats’ paws?
The second question would appear to provide an answer to the first question whether at 94, Mr Mugabe is a typical example of super-aging whereby a person’s cortex retains its thickness so that he or she remains active physically and mentally, reads a lot to keep abreast with developments in the world and maintains healthy relations with other people and in the process continues to enjoy the adoration of fellow citizens as well as that of international observers.
The story, as told by his victim, that Mr Mugabe did not recall sacking then Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa — who fled to South Africa in fear of his life only to come back as a hero after Mr Mugabe’s resignation perhaps says volumes about the state of the former president’s mental faculties.
Indeed, as things stand, it is questionable whether the man who strongly opposed as a revolutionary, the oppression of the people of this country by a racist foreign regime is still master of his own senses; otherwise how does he after resigning as the President suddenly turn opponent of the party, Zanu-PF, which a person from outer space might have mistaken for Bob’s surname?
The recent formation of the National Patriotic Front, linked to him as being opposed to the ruling party that he led as First Secretary and President as well as Head of State for 37 years in power and for many years prior to independence after the break with Ndabaningi Sithole’s Zanu Ndoga, would appear to speak volumes about whether the national unity that had become a political hymn remains paramount in his thought-tracks.
That various analysts enraged by Mr Mugabe’s involvement with the NPF and suggesting instead that he should have emulated former South African president Mr Jacob Zuma who remains inextricably linked to the African National Congress, which recalled him as Head of State, by campaigning for the ANC as it prepares for elections next year stands as proof enough that for Mr Mugabe, national political unity is now a far cry.
In fact, people apparently dismayed by the former president’s involvement with the NPF have come to suggest, rightly or wrongly, that a demand he has made for a payment of $467 200 as a pension lump sum is meant to support the new party in opposition to Zanu-PF while the former president continues to receive his monthly pension of $13 333.
Or is it an invalid suspicion by some people that the NPF is a vindictive political organisation formed by the G-40 cabal that surrounded the former president to vent his anger at the operation Restore Legacy led by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, hence the appointment of a retired army officer, Brigadier-General Ambrose Mutinhiri, to lead the party in opposition to the new dispensation-administration led by President Mnangagwa — a former right hand man of President Mugabe as his First Vice President — in which retired senior army officers who led Operation Restore Legacy are now senior ministers.
If what people believe to be the real reason for the formation of the NPF is wide off the mark, then for what purpose was the new organisation brought into existence if not to take away votes away from Zanu-PF and so weaken it to lose the forthcoming harmonised elections?
And anyway the new party brings to 107 political organisations set to contest the elections set for between July and August this year.
Does a country with a population of around 16 million people require so many political parties to serve the nation — and for what purpose if not to confuse people so that there is no outright winner to become president, as a result of which Zimbabwe may continue to wallow in confusion, disunity and under development?
Zimbabweans claim to espouse Western, multi-party democracy where at most two major political parties take turns to rule a country with a third political organisation catalysing democratic rule through support for one or the other party.
However, a multiplicity of 107 political parties in a small, developing nation boggles the mind.
Could it be that Zimbabwe’s literacy rate, among the highest on the African continent, has become dysfunctional instead of being utilitarian as an agent for the social and economic upliftment of the people of Zimbabwe as a whole, instead of each and every educated person thinking he or she has a better capacity to rule than the other people hence the proliferation of fly-by-night political parties mushrooming up in the country?
Is the saying that “too many cooks spoil the broth” not valid in the above case in point?
It is so and, as such, Zimbabweans ought to be enlightened enough to know that so many political parties translates to divided loyalties creating political antagonisms that lead to violence and disunity counter to amity, stability and unified efforts in tackling social and economic discontinuities that are anathema to unimpeded social and economic development in a country.
Faced with the confused political scenario in the country at this moment in time, this pen finds it apt to suggest that were independence and freedom seven day, the economic looters, witness the $1.3 billion externalised of which $250 million has been repatriated after a government ultimatum — and the political looters typified by the astronomical number of political parties in Zimbabwe – might have gulped the beer along with its dregs and become so drunk as to lose their way home from their popular joints.
In the final analysis it will be a tragic irony should Zimbabweans allow themselves to be swayed away from developing the country as one strong force by a jamboree of political pied pipers running down the road of personal rather than that of national interests.