Idowu Adegbilero-Iwari on ResearchGate


Monday, November 20, 2017

Rumbles in Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe on the Edge of Time and the Lesson for African Leaders

Adegbilero-Iwari, Idowu

Luckily, the rumbles are not, as of now and as earnestly desired, on the streets of the common and already oppressed masses but on the corridor of power itself. A corridor occupied by the fewest of the citizenry and marshaled by the one and only Robert Mugabe, a man in his nineties who has held sway at the helms for three years less four decades.
He is the only other person to have served in the office of President, other than  Canaan Banana, in the years of the nation's sovereignty. Now that Mugabe is, according President Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa, "fine but confined" after the military announced the de facto control of the southern African country, the once upon a time freedom fighter turned tyrant may now be savouring the aroma of the dust this rumble has steered in his present capacity as the de jure leader. De jure is the last honour the military has reserved for one of the ill faces of African politics. But as foreign media wonders, the end may really have come to the junta-like civil rule of Mugabe.
While the rumble lasts in his palace, the rest African leaders may want to watch their backs closely and query themselves when will sit-tight, "forever rule" stop on the continent? They must ask themselves when will the end come to their propensity for "life rule"? They must now disavow that greedy thing in their nature that tightens their hands to power endlessly. Apart from Mugabe, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equitorean Guinea, the longest serving non-royal African leader since 1979 is another of such men who unlike his reign mate José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola who just stepped aside some two months ago after 38 years in power who are standing as clogs to the wheel of African development. African narratives are often mirrored in such men as these and so many others like them that acted in her regrettable tale. They largely account for the backward position occupied by the continent. You can imagine what it means for a country to be guided by the same idea of one person for as many years. If these leaders don't really want to go, I think, more of this rumble in the palace of Harare is desired all over.

The world-respected Nelson Mandela, in his divinely-gifted rare African human nature, thought these leaders and their likes great lessons with his unrivaled exemplary life but they refused the wisdom of the great Madiba. Mandela, upon spending his whole life with unquantifiable personal and material losses, including his now famed 27years imprisonment, only served a single term as President of the Republic of South Africa, retired voluntarily even when public approval of his government polled 80%. Mugabe in particular, who assumed office 8years before him, was personally counseled by the late sage to step aside given Mugabe's human rights abuses and bad public rating. His refusal prompted Mandela in 2007 to publicly urge Mugabe to step down "with residual respect and a modicum of dignity". 10years after, Mugabe still sit tight but with the deserving loss of the residual respect and the modicum of dignity even as he now seems to have fallen from grace.

Headlines of this unfolding saga

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