Indebted to Gushungo

ONCE more President Robert Mugabe scaled dizzy heights in the department of ageing last Saturday as he turned 91. He has seen a lot, maybe sinned a lot, dined a lot and maybe done a lot during his voyages across the seas of life experiences.

He surely deserves to make noise about living long despite the view of his detractors that this is a sadistic statistic that glorifies the length of time people have so far endured under his rule.

Whereas most Zimbabweans envy his long life, many find his tyrannical leadership quiet unpalatable. The vileness of his leadership continues to flourish thanks to the country’s failure to demand redress.

The outlook is bleak and more of Mugabe’s sadism is yet to come. The state of bondage will remain unchecked unless people gather enough courage to ask him how much more ransom money he needs to be paid for him to stop abusing power.

Mugabe has abused power despite Zimbabwe having safe-guards and instruments that can be used effectively to prevent abuse of power.

These instruments are meant to help prevent reckless conduct by those in power and to keep perfidy and tyranny in check. Unfortunately Mugabe controls those instruments and uses them for his own protection against a supposed wrath of the people.

Fair elections are part of those instruments for safeguarding against the emergence of bad leadership. Mugabe has managed not to lose even the most unwinnable elections after devising methods of manipulating the election process which he totally owns. Elections are held on his terms. One will be a fool not to manipulate a process that is solely under one’s control.

Prayer seems to be the obvious answer as Zimbabweans find themselves resorting to it for protective solace against an election process that is rigged with Mugabe’s hand of dishonesty.

Freedom to worship is one of those unwritten safeguards against wicked rulers. Having been brought up by Jesuits, Mugabe knows that decent churches remind people of their civic duties to reject evil rulers.

This has given him reasons to exercise dominance in religious affairs. Now people cannot worship freely as fake worshippers from the president’s office usher them into churches, mosques, synagogues and temples that are rigged with eavesdropping devices and.

This safeguard is no longer safe. Maybe telling the story in the media remains the only hope for a decent future.

Those who approach the State media to criticise Mugabe are rudely reminded that the State media is not a platform for criticising the president however constructive that criticism may be.

State media houses do not flinch when it comes to protecting Mugabe from public scrutiny. The State media works on the Animal Farm approach where the animals were asked “You do not want Jones back, do you?” where Boxer always brayed “Napoleon is always right”.

Indeed, according to the State media, “Mugabe is always right”, therefore he cannot be criticised. Those who criticise him are branded enemies of the revolution and the question put to them is, “You do not want the Rhodesians to come back, do you?”

The State media specialises in providing unbalanced or doctored State propaganda as news. Mugabe cannot slip and fall, Mugabe cannot be sick, Mugabe’s sight is not waning, Mugabe’s election campaign can never be violent, Zimbabwe is a sovereign nation and will never be a colony again.

Interviews with Mugabe are rehearsed and only Mugabe-friendly questions are asked. The State media act as if they are the damage control department in Mugabe’s public relations portfolio.

The media in a democratic dispensation include safeguarding the interests of all the citizens by holding public servants, including the executive, to account for what they do and what they forget to do.

The media should not be about praising the president or giving him unlimited space to prattle about dam construction in arid Buhera or building a clinic in Aids-ravaged Murambinda as if he is paying for it from his own pocket.

It is sad that Mugabe has taken control of important instruments that could help ensure accountability. People cannot exercise their right to bring him and indeed any persons who present themselves for election to public office to account.

At this rate the nation will continue to wallow in a pond of desperation until the advent of a stand-in “Moses” who will implore the “Pharaoh” to set the Lord’s people free.

But then Zimbabweans owe their state of servitude to Mugabe.

Maybe the solution is to ask Mugabe how much he is owed in ransom money. Each citizen could be asked to contribute towards paying him off so he could set people free.

If people just pin their hopes on Mugabe’s death for relief then they are in for a rude shock as another slicker version of Mugabe is gracefully waiting in the sidelines.

Masola waDabudabu is a social commentator

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