Mugabe will rule from a wheelchair

By George Makoni

Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI), a Zimbabwean based independent political economy think tank has predicted that President Mugabe will rule from a wheelchair

This was highlighted in   their recently   published paper on the possible scenarios with regards to Zimbabwe national   power dynamics   in 2017 and beyond, dubbed:”Zimbabwe Probable Outcomes 2017 and beyond.

Experts from the academia and civil society constituted the scenario mapping team

“The paper critically examines the political and socioeconomic environment in Zimbabwe and deduces   possible scenarios in 2017 and beyond.” highlighted the paper. It further stated that, “In arriving at these scenarios, experts first reviewed previous scenarios and analyzed the attendant political and socio-economic environment in the context of a changing and shifting political economy …..”

The paper vehemently dismissed a situation whereby   there will be  free, fair and credible elections resulting in incumbency turnover as a   ‘feel-good’ scenario. “This scenario is most unlikely.” added the paper. “A most likely scenario but also the worst-case scenario is whereby President Mugabe is in charge throughout the period under consideration.

At a practical level however, and given Mugabe’s advanced age and increasing frailty, he is not likely to have the physical and mental stamina to be fully and always in charge. This is actually already happening and will be accelerated during this period. In a way, by the end of the period, it will resemble the ‘wheelchair scenario’ where Mugabe will be governing from a wheelchair.  This scenario is drawn from the utterances made by   both the First Lady and war veterans in November last year.

To buttress this point the paper  underscored the need   “not to underestimate (but to acknowledge) the capacity of Zanu-PF to recreate and rejuvenate itself which it has done very well on several occasions in its lifetime and went on to state that , Mugabe is still genuinely popular among a significant proportion of Zimbabweans. He rules, not only through coercion, but also through legitimation activities.

Contrary to that notion, it portrayed  a weakened opposition and a civil society facing coordination and funding challenges as well as citizens that appear to be largely ‘subjects’ in Mahmood Mamdani sense  

Other scenarios include President Mugabe anointing a   successor who   is most likely to be a compromise figure, that is, neither G40 nor Lacoste but someone accepted (or at least not hated) by both. This will mean the status quo will continue until 2019 and then the successor takes over.ZDI tipped Vice President to be the next president in the event of Mugabe dying in office.