Zimbabwe’s long serving and first president Robert Mugabe aka Jongwe (cockerel) celebrated his 90th Birthday last week. For a country where life span is almost a half of Mugabe’s age, to reach 90 is not a joke. Again, what lesson do we get from this milestone especially if we look at the person? African sage has it that the cockerel taught the chicks to poop in the nest.
Mugabe is full of shockers. He spent the celebrations once again to warn Zimbabweans to refrain from talking about succession. For, the Jongwe isn't going anywhere. He’s quoted as saying, “But why should it (succession) be discussed when it is not due? Is it due? As you can see (I am) still fit as a fiddle.” He went on saying that talk about succession is shameful for those whose names are mentioned to succeed him. If anything, the implications were clear that you talk about succeeding Mugabe for your peril be it in his party or outside of it. Mugabe added, “That is what we are fighting against and I am going to fight against this one quite blatantly because that is what is destroying the party.” Two names are mentioned in succession races in Zimbabwe; these are vice president Joyce Mujuru and Emerson Munangagwa (Defence).
Mugabe used his 90th Birthday to eulogize the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere the founder of Tanzania for whom he had kind words as he was quoted saying, “I want to say, when all honour has been showered on heroes in Africa, the man who has been humiliated is Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.” Ironically, Nyerere didn't cling unto power like Mugabe and all those who pretend to honour and eulogize him while they preach water and drink wine something Nyerere abhorred. For Nyerere, a million bucks was a huge amount he’d not allow to be spent on dining and wining while children in his country or in any African countries were going to bed with nothing in stomach. Nyerere’d nary stomach such pointless extravagance by all standards. Interestingly, many African dictators whom Nyerere helped to get into power are always praising him when they are cornered. What leaves many shocked is the fact that the same dictators who pretend to honour and remember Nyerere do completely different from what he stood and fought for. There is no ruler that can pretend that he respects Nyerere while he does completely differently from Nyerere used do. If anything, this is hypocrisy of its order.
To prove that Mugabe is out of touch with reality, he's quoted priding himself for soldiering on despite sanctions. He's able to spend a million bucks for just a birthday party. He said, "Those opponents of ours who had imposed sanctions on us were baffled." Once again, Mugabe was right. It needs the courage of the mad to spend such humongous amount of money in the country like Zimbabwe where unemployment is in double digits. To do this one must be either insane or selfish and indifference altogether.
Although it right and true to say that Nyerere spent much of the resources of his country to see to it that all African countries are becoming independent, he didn't rule but he led. He didn’t spend his countries monies on his birthday celebrations or rigging elections. Ironically, according to Al Jazeera a million bucks was spent on this birthday.
Zimbabweans especially the new generation seems to be tired of one man show. Those in their early late thirties have only known one president since they were born. They're tired of just the same as far as manning their country's concerned. Many are asking: What new can a nonagenarian like Mugabe offer to their country? Although Mugabe is credited for having ushered Independence in Zimbabwe, his role as a leader is no longer wanted. Zimbabweans of today are not looking for a freedom fight. Instead, they’re looking for a leader who can redeem their lost glory under Mugabe’s policies.
As Mugabe celebrated his 90th Birthday, he’s named as the oldest head of state in the world along with Israeli president Shimon Peres who is ninety as well save that Peres has nary been in power for such long time. Surprise, surprise, Mugabe’s ZANU-PF has already said that he is going to run for presidency come next elections.
In sum, Mugabe at 90 he obviously seem to be frail. Even his birthday party had to be postponed to wait for him to return from Singapore where he underwent eye surgery.
Source: The African Executive Magazine Feb., 26, 2014.