We must not wait for Mugabe to die

“Almighty God, in whose hands our future lies, I salute the national flag. United in our diversity and our common desire for freedom, justice and equality, Respecting the brave fathers and mothers who lost lives in the Chimurenga/Umvukela and National liberation struggles. We are proud inheritors of the richness of our natural resources. We are proud creators and participants in our vibrant traditions and cultures. So I commit to honesty and the dignity of hard work.”
“Almighty God, in whose hands our future lies, I salute the national flag. United in our diversity and our common desire for freedom, justice and equality, Respecting the brave fathers and mothers who lost lives in the Chimurenga/Umvukela and National liberation struggles. We are proud inheritors of the richness of our natural resources. We are proud creators and participants in our vibrant traditions and cultures. So I commit to honesty and the dignity of hard work.”

By Patson Dzamara

A loser is essentially someone who gives up before they reach the end of the road. With that in mind, there is a very dangerous but widely accepted fallacy we must address, especially as we stare at the do or do 2018 elections.

That Zimbabwe is hobbling on its knees towards a total prespice is glaringly incontestable. At the epicenter of the rot and debilitation in Zimbabwe is the unmistakably conspicuous and fading figure of Robert Mugabe.

Ever since the attainment of black majority rule in 1980, lurching from one political episode to another, Zimbabwe’s political trajectory has been constructed around Mugabe. Bar his reliance on uncouth and unconventional methods, for 37 years, Mugabe has been the strongman, standard and bellwether of Zimbabwean politics. For as long as he is alive, sadly, it seems there is no prospect and radical efforts to change that from within his system and despicably from without.

It is this ugly reality which causes some people to pathetically and precariously hang their hopes for transformation on the thin and frail thread of the possibility of Mugabe’s death. That is a detestable product of myopia, fatalism and cowardice.

Make no mistake, I am not under any illusion neither do I fall under the category of those clueless miscreants who believe that Mugabe possesses some supernatural powers. Dying, he shall, just like anyone else but it is stupid for us to pin our hopes for change on the anticipation of his death.

The argument which is brought forward by the proponents of the warped theory that transition will be brought about by Mugabe’s death is premised on somewhat unrealistic projections and assumptions. Firstly, nobody knows the day and time Mugabe is going to die despite the fact that he is increasingly succumbing to the inescapable pressure of his advanced age. Ever since my high school going days, the possibility and imminence of Mugabe’s death has always been an elusive subject. In fact almost every year, he is rumored to have have died only to resurface somewhere with his mischievous smile.

Secondly and most importantly, when analysing or dealing with Mugabe, it is imperative to note that he is now more than a person. He is a system, an idea and a way of doing things. Mugabe the person may and will die but that won’t mark the end of Mugabe the system, idea and way of doing things.

Indeed, there is a huge possibility that the death of Mugabe the person may upset Mugabe the system, idea and way of doing things but there is more we can project. His death may actually accord Mugabe the system, idea and way of doing things an opportunity to regenerate, reinvigorate and refocus, morphing into a much stronger outfit.

If Mugabe dies in power, that will be a monumental and generational political travesty. It will be a mockery of history making proportions. Not only that, it will be an opportunity for the system to embolden its grip on power.

It therefore stands to reason that waiting for Mugabe to die, hoping his death will usher in change, is not only an act of cowardice but stupidity. We must not wait for Mugabe to die. Our hopes for a better Zimbabwe must not be predicated on the anticipation of his death neither should we give him the satisfaction of living up to his death scornfully urinating on your our heads.

We must remove him from power by any constitutional means possible. We must challenge him out of power. We must vote him out of power. We must pressurise him out of power through widespread unrest, agitation, protests and mass resistance.

I actually cherish the idea of Mugabe living to witness the transition into a new dispensation.

A new and better Zimbabwe is possible in our lifetime. We shall come face to face with it.

  • Patson Dzamara is a leadership coach and author, political activist and analyst based in Zimbabwe.