HARARE – It is every right-thinking Zimbabwean’s hope that long-suffering voters will turn out in huge numbers across the country tomorrow and vote out President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party.
Not only has the 89-year-old and his Zanu PF party destroyed the country’s body politic over the past 33 years of their misrule, they have also ruined its once thriving economy.
In this light, Mugabe’s legacy is endemic corruption in the country, Gukurahundi, Operation Murambatsvina and the fact that black Zimbabweans are today worse off than they were under Ian Smith’s minority government in Rhodesia!
His scorched-earth approach to politics means that any hope of this proud nation ever getting back on its feet would be dashed completely if Zimbabweans were to allow him to stay five more years in power.
And contrary to what Mugabe and his propagandists will have the nation believe, there is absolutely nothing wrong about this country’s citizens consciously working to effect regime change through legal and democratic means — as they should do at the ballot box tomorrow.
Indeed, the very concept of democracy, of which Zimbabwe isn’t one, is premised on voters having the ability to turf out despots such as those who have mismanaged our national affairs since 1980.
Alas, our rulers are yearning for life presidencies and a one-party State in 2013 — at a time others elsewhere are thinking about how to advance the lives of their citizens!
A good example of the kind of enviable democracy that Zimbabweans must demand can be seen across the Limpopo, in South Africa, where the citizens of that thriving country decided to stem the “Zanufication” of that country by removing Thabo Mbeki from power peacefully in 2008.
And to the much-derided former South African leader’s credit, he respected the painful decision of the majority within his ruling African National Congress (ANC) and vacated Union Buildings (the South African State House) without kicking a fuss — paving the way for the election of President Jacob Zuma.
Today, South Africa boasts an enviable record of having four surviving past presidents — Willem de Klerk, Nelson Mandela, Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe — all of them living happily and normally alongside Zuma in that blessed country.
How we all yearn for that to happen in Zimbabwe. Instead, our octogenarian leader, who was long in power before any of these men had a sniff at the leadership of their country, is still in the hot seat and fighting for a “new” five-year mandate.
What a shame!
If Mugabe had remained in office this long because Zimbabweans absolutely “adore and love” him, then it would be fine.
The reality of the matter, sadly, is that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai trounced him hands down in the 2008 presidential race.
So we say unequivocally today that Zimbabweans must tomorrow retire this mature citizen.
We desperately need new blood. It is nothing personal, but about the future of our country!