Whoever takes over from Mugabe could be even worse
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri
The reported secret moves within SADC to get Mugabe a so-called soft landing
(Sunday Times, 09/10/11) do not inspire confidence at all because they are
an admission of failure by the regional body to rein in the recalcitrant
octogenarian on overdue reforms.
Given the ongoing legalised looting, Zanu-pf arrogance and impunity, it is
safe to say that whoever takes over from Mugabe as party leader no matter
how young could be even worse than the geriatric tyrant.
After meeting Mugabe for the greater part of his 31 years as the ruler of
Zimbabwe, during which he convinced them to dissolve the SADC Tribunal, it
is rather odd that SADC leaders have been reportedly exchanging notes on how
to approach Mugabe to persuade him to retire.
SADC needs to be reminded that Zimbabweans are not amused at all by their
foot-dragging on the GPA and now an “irresistible package” including
security guarantees and benefits for Mugabe to retire. With all that Mugabe
has, what other benefits and security guarantees does he want?
According to a leaked US diplomatic cable published by Wikileaks website,
Robert Mugabe was worth more than one billion US dollars in 2001, with
assets ranging from residential properties and farms to funds stashed away
in offshore bank accounts.
With those billions appreciating every year since 2001, Financial experts
say he could live on interest only for the rest of his life. Mugabe must be
worth in excess of US$10 billion by now considering he does not use his
money and assets daily like we all do.
What more does Mugabe need with at least six residences in Zimbabwe,
including the 25 bedroom Chinese-style mansion in Helensvale near Borrowdale
which he built with foreign funding and materials while still in office,
something that would be deemed as corruption in other countries?
On top of that, the Helensvale mansion which was estimated to have cost more
than US$25 million to build was in 2004 declared a ‘shoot –and-kill’ area.
Furthermore, according to the Sunday Times (31/07/11) Mugabe and his family
own thirty-nine farms. Media reports claim “one of Zimbabwe’s governors is
said to have been dispatched to Ghana recently to check the prospects of
securing a plot for Mugabe, should he need it.” Of course, he doesn’t need
From whom is SADC getting the security guarantees before even one line of
the new constitution has been written, let alone free and fair elections are
held to decide once and for all the people’s choice as opposed to the
current Zanu-pf dominated coalition?
Is SADC about to repeat what it did in 2008 by ‘cajoling’ the opposition
into signing the most regrettable agreement in Zimbabwe’s living memory, the
so-called Global Political Agreement?
SADC should not change Zanu-pf leaders before a new water-tight constitution
which restricts any president of Zimbabwe to a maximum of two five year
terms and strips him/her of those menacing presidential powers of pardoning
murderers, arsonists and looters after elections.
Should SADC get its way, there is a very big risk of another 31 years again
under a new Young Turk or the so-called Generation 40 if Mugabe hands power
while still in office.
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,