By Tafadzwa D Munjoma (Independent Researcher – Pretoria, South Africa)
Robert Mugabe at 93 is the world’s oldest president, who for 37 years has held onto power by resorting to repressive and inhumane tactics. Currently he is presiding over a nation with an estimated 95% unemployment, were the majority of the people have resorted to vending.
The state under Robert Mugabe has failed to avail any meaningful opportunities for its brilliant minds. An estimated 5 million have fled the nation in search of greener pastures after multiple failed and elitist policies have plunged the economy of what was once the breadbasket of Southern Africa.
37 years after majority rule, Zimbabwe is in a sorry state with very few gains to show for the struggle that consumed thousands of its children.
2018 will be another significant year in the books of our beloved country as the nation heads to the polls. There are increasing signs of frustration with the government of Robert Mugabe, with multiple citizen protests, and a large number of political parties stepping into the race.
This is a sign of desperation to remove this gerontocracy that presides over the nation. In the past the regime has responded to the concerns of the people with violence. State machinery has been used to suppress the voices of the people, the military, police and intelligence divert attention from criminals to citizens. Intimidation in the past has been the number one campaign strategy for the ruling party.
Robert Mugabe at every electoral period embarks on a drive to reward those he feels will be instrumental in safeguarding his stay in power. Farm invasions have sporadically resumed across the nation. In the past week 300 vehicles were sourced for security bosses, it is alleged among them are SUVs and luxury vehicles. However, what is of key interest is the USD 1 million, Mugabe has extended to the African Union (AU), while 72% of his population live under USD1.25 a day. What is of concern is not the donation, but the motive behind the gesture.
This is a clear and blatant deposit into the account of solidarity politics which has been evident tactic of Mugabe over the decades. The 2008 elections were Mugabe lost to Morgan Tsvangirai is an example of solidarity politics in action. The African Union turned a blind eye to the reality of the situation that Zimbabwe found itself in and SADC deploying Thabo Mbeki who intervened with an Oscar deserving act of solidarity mediation that left the loser of the election in power.
However, this USD 1 million was disguised as an effort to reduce the Union’s dependence on foreign aid. Mugabe has somehow over the years proved to be a political strategist who employs multiple approaches to staying in power, and even at his advanced age he continues to manipulate regional and continental bodies.