Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

The buck stops with Mugabe

By Conrad Nyamutata

In all spheres of life, it is commonly accepted that leaders take responsibility for the performance of organisations or institutions they lead.

President Robert Mugabe
President Robert Mugabe

In business, for instance, the chief executives or general managers bear the responsibility for the viability of the enterprises they head.

It should not be different in the political sphere.

The president or prime minister takes responsibility for the state of the country, more so those that arrogate themselves executive powers.

In Zimbabwean politics, it has become common among opposition elements to dilute President Robert Mugabe’s role in the crisis the country has faced for almost two decades.

This tendency has of late been illustrated by the estranged liberators now known as People First.

Joice Mujuru’s spokespersons have often blamed people around Mugabe for giving him bad advice.

Jabulani Sibanda was agonising recently on how he can “rescue the old man” from the bad advisors. Mugabe is thus constructed as victim not perpetrator.

The other opposition leaders, Lovemore Madhuku lately, have sought to distinguish the call for Mugabe to go from economic policy.

“Mugabe must go is not an economic policy,” said the NCA leader.

These might be incisive sound bites from an opposition camp now populated with university graduates, doctors and professors, seeking to denigrate those they deem uneducated.

This so-called intelligentsia has tended to prioritise the niceties of counter-manifestos because, according to them, removing Mugabe is not the main problem.

While the call for Mugabe to go might not be an economic policy, it would be naïve to dissociate from him the economic problems this country has faced.

Mugabe is the embodiment of Zimbabwe’s poor economic policies: the call for his departure is not without merit.

The land invasions and indigenisation laws that have become the country’s economic suicide note were done under his watch.

With his rhetoric at international fora, businesses have been hesitant to risk their capital in Zimbabwe. Mugabe’s departure will no doubt increase confidence among external investors.

Not so long ago, he contradicted Patrick Chinamasa insisting civil servants would receive pay increases or bonuses when the state coffers are empty. He would sound then like a man who rejects good advice but acts on his own whims.

Most recently, he increased the number of ministers, at first, including a minister without portfolio. A president without a conscience, perhaps, given current job losses, and not necessarily a victim of bad advice.

On the one hand, we say Mugabe receives bad advice, on the other, we have also known that he is the beneficiary of unchallenging worship. It is very unlikely that he would take advice from the sycophants.

Not many challenge their gods.

The Zanu PF manifesto for the last election which carried numerous promises would have had Mugabe’s full endorsement.

Now, if Lobels confidently promises to produce 2,2 million loaves of bread and fails to do so, it is the chief executive officer who bears the brunt.

And it is not unusual, the world over, for CEOs to assume responsibility, or get the sack. Bad advice is no saviour.

If Mugabe is now vulnerable to bad advice due to senility, this is not an excuse either: if he is no longer capable of sound judgment, he must step aside or take full blame.

Perhaps our “educated” oppositional elements could familiarise with discourse on the nature of personalist regimes: the omnipotence of one man.

The intimidation, violence and electoral authoritarianism have been conducted in the service and with the tacit approval of one man: Mugabe.

As I said last week, under Zanu PF rule, the opposition can continue to delude themselves into thinking that change will come through manifestos and elections.

In a society prone to gratuitous injustice, the only opposition politician who will succeed is one who has the mettle to mobilise a society reputed for its passivity to counter the unending excesses and end Mugabe’s rule. Daily News