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the economy proved Mugabe’s illegitimacy
November 05, 2013
assertions by Zanu-PF propagandists, Zimbabwe’s economy seems
to have proved Robert Mugabe’s illegitimacy as President following
polls on 31 July 2013.
If you missed,
the state-owned and fiercely partisan Herald newspaper website on
5 November won the trophy for waxing lyrical about Robert Mugabe’s
‘presidency’ as the economy grinds to a halt as street
vending becomes the industry of choice in Zimbabwe’s high
and low density areas.
of the steep economic decline in the country since Mugabe’s
landslide made in Israel, as typified by reports of Zimbabwe’s
university graduates surviving on vending, The Herald’s top
news headlines outsprinted the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
(ZBC’s) ‘Top Stories’. There was nothing uplifting
in the state media’s news reports; let alone demand for leadership
and accountability by the Zanu-PF regime.
by the independent press of ‘Manufacturing sector in crisis’,
‘Zimbabwe tumbles on World Bank rankings’, ‘NRZ
seeks permission to lay-off thousands’, ‘Zanu-PF at
war with itself’ and ‘Poor policies affect Zim’,
The Herald raved about: ‘President Mugabe returns’,
‘Cash for raided forex holders’,‘3500 robbed in
city taxi kidnappings’, ‘President in SA for joint conference’,
‘President Mugabe arrives in SA’, ‘Zim military
on alert against Renamo’, and ‘2014 National Budget
presentation to be delayed’.
behind fellow comrades was the state broadcaster, ZBC with: “Zim’s
shared history with Cuba’, ‘Intelligence gurus should
defeat terrorism’, ‘President Mugabe back from SADC,
Great Lakes summit’, ‘Zambian envoy meets Prof Moyo’,
‘Provincial polls credible: Zanu-PF’. With such Soviet-era
news reporting, no wonder why Zimbabwe remains backward.
On the other
hand, the independent Daily News (5 November 2013) noted that Zimbabwe’s
unemployment levels are “escalating at astronomical rates
from the Zanu-PF led government that at least 2.2 million jobs would
is the paper’s revelation that at least 30,000 graduates churned
out from universities and tertiary colleges every year are resorting
to desperate measures, with some forced into menial jobs including
vending, which is really heart rending. As the late Prof Masipula
Sithole once observed, by expanding education, Mugabe could be digging
his own grave.
The sad news
does not come as a surprise to those who have been following closely
events in the former British colony of Southern Rhodesia. For example,
in an unpublished opinion paper that I wrote on 3 August 2013 entitled:
‘Why a victory for Robert Mugabe is bad for Zimbabwe’,
I contradicted Roy Agyemang’s article in the UK’s Guardian
newspaper entitled: ‘Why a victory for Robert Mugabe would
be good for Zimbabwe’ published on 02 August 2013.
my 5-paper paper to The Guardian on 3 August, it has still not been
published. Agyemang claimed Mugabe had proved critics “at
home and abroad wrong with a brand of political independence now
yielding economic freedom.” It was that sweeping statement
that inspired my response.
Mr Agyemang’s article, he forgot to provide evidence of the
economic freedom that he said was being yielded by Mugabe’s
brand of political independence. Instead, prominent Zimbabwe economist
Eric Bloch also foresaw the present-day poor performance of the
economy in his article, ‘Elections accelerating economic decline’,
The Zimbabwe Independent, 19 July 2013.
that the economy having intensively declined [under the stewardship
of Robert Mugabe] from 1997 to 2008, “it was good that there
was some economic upturn from 2009 (once the so-called Government
of National Unity came into being) notwithstanding that the
extent of the recovery fell-short of what was needed.”
economist perceptively pointed out that the change in the formerly
moderate anticipations had, within weeks, radically changed. Some
analysts argued that Mugabe has reached his sell by date as a champion
for economic growth and development.
Others saw a
gloomy outlook for the economy in the event of Mugabe winning the
presidential poll that took place on July 3. For instance, see Chris
Muronzi’s, ‘Death knell for economy if Mugabe wins’,
Zimbabwe Independent, 26 July 2013). Mugabe is seen as bereft of
new ideas to stimulate growth of the economy.
It is true as
asserted by Mr Agyemang that Robert Mugabe belongs to a dying breed
of politicians on the African continent. There is no doubt that
he was moulded in the politics of African nationalism which was
radicalised through armed resistance to settler colonialism.
transformed himself from the liberation war hero to an aged tyrant,
surpassing the one depicted in The Treatise of the Government of
Florence by Girolamo Savanarola in the introduction to Nicollo Machievelli’s
the man who crafted Mugabe’s executive presidency law, learned
lawyer and academic the late Dr Eddison Zvobgo expressed concern
that Mugabe had failed to pass on the baton by overstaying in power.
the MDC’s complacency, Mr Agyemang confidently claimed that
‘more dramatically, the MDC, Mugabe’s supposed bête
noire, is on course to a crushing defeat in the latest election.’
But Mr Agyemang
seemed unaware of the expose by The Daily Mail on Sunday (“Proof
Mugabe buys elections”, 20/07/13), that top secret documents
shown to the paper indicated there was a multi-million dollar strategy
allegedly led by security forces in alliance with the Chinese Communist
Party and Nikuv (an Israeli firm) to allegedly ‘neutralise
hostile votes’ in urban areas where MDC support is highest.
an analysis of the June 2013 voters roll found significant anomalies
including that 2 million young voters mainly in urban areas (mainly
MDC strongholds) were unregistered as voters. Similarly, 3 million
exiled Zimbabwean exiles (mostly opposition supporters) were disenfranchised
by the regime. If there is nothing dubious about Zimbabwe’s
electronic voters roll, why are the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) and the Registrar General withholding it despite court petitions?
now is ‘Has the economy proved Mugabe’s illegitimacy?’
Indications are that to real investors, Mugabe’s regime remains
illegitimate due to the disputed election. The dictator’s
claim of election ‘victory’ is further eroded by reports
that Zanu-PF allegedly rigged its own provincial elections. As a
result, the country is facing famine and grinding poverty as Mugabe
dithers on tackling choking corruption that is bleeding Chiadzwa
diamonds despite posturing about Masimirembwa’s alleged
role in the US$6 million Diamond Gate scandal.
some reports claim a bumper tobacco harvest by a select few who
benefited from Zanu-PF’s violent land grab albeit after 18
white farmers were killed and 620 000 farm workers lost their jobs
and homes as well as citizenship for some.
In light of
the return by finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, empty-handed from
meetings with IMF officials amid calls on the Zanu-PF regime to
ask for debt forgiveness, there is vindication for those of us who
argued that Mugabe can rig polls but not the economy.
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