HomeEditorial CommentMugabe should pass on the baton

Mugabe should pass on the baton

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TODAY several thousands of people would gather at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera where the 21st February Movement would once again host a mother of all birthday parties for President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe turned 90 on Friday and as usual the celebrations would cascade to the provinces at a later date.

His supporters are entitled to celebrate as much as they desire and as much as their pockets can allow.

However, amid the fanfare there are stubborn facts that Zimbabweans have to grapple with.

Some of the points include that Mugabe has served seven terms or 34 years.

He is the second most senior ruler in the world behind Israeli’s Shimon Perez who was born on August 2 1923.

As if that is not enough, Mugabe is the third longest serving ruler in Africa after his allies Teodoro Nguema of Equatorial Guinea and Eduardo dos Santos of Angola.

Away from the statistics, Mugabe has been presiding over an economic collapse that intensified in 1997.

The genesis of the economic problems bedelving the country has been traced to the ill-advised Economic Structural Adjustment Programme of the 1990s.

This was followed by the massive payouts made to war veterans in 1997 and the deployment of the army into the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A final nail was driven into the coffin of Zimbabwe’s once promising economy when Mugabe actively encouraged the destruction of agriculture in the name of a land revolution.

Sheer incompetence by his successive governments, corruption and many other sins of commission and omission by him have all contributed to the sorry state Zimbabwe finds herself in.

The common denominator in this sad chapter of our history is Mugabe and chances of a change in fortunes are non-existent as long he remains at the helm.

Some have suggested that if Mugabe steps down he would salvage some bit of his legacy as a great liberator.

There are other schools of thought that say he has no legacy to salvage.

But we have no doubt that if Mugabe could be magnanimous today by deciding that at 90 he has nothing new to offer Zimbabwe and retire, he would win the respect of many.

It is our hope that as he celebrates with the multitudes in Marondera today he would take some time to reflect on the importance of passing the baton. It’s been a long race and it is time to rest.

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