Let failed leader de­part

African Independent - - OPINION -

THE me­dia is well versed in re­port­ing the demise of one Robert Gabriel Mu­gabe. Heaven knows, we’ve had plenty of prac­tice, false starts and wild goose chases.

Mu­gabe be­came the old­est head of state in the world in Au­gust and the long­est serv­ing. His reign has been tu­mul­tuous and deadly at worst – and event­ful at the very least. From the geno­cide in Mata­bele­land to rigged elec­tions, Mu­gabe has been un­com­pro­mis­ing in the face of pres­sure to abide by in­ter­na­tional norms.

The son of a Malaw­ian fa­ther and a Shona mother, Mu­gabe was brought up a Ro­man Catholic and spent most of his child­hood with his nose buried in books. He would go on to ob­tain at least seven de­grees, in­clud­ing a Bach­e­lor of Law, Master of Sci­ence and Bach­e­lor of Ed­u­ca­tion.

On the cusp of 93, Mu­gabe has pub­licly hinted at re­tire­ment for the first time – a vol­un­tary ab­di­ca­tion no one thought pos­si­ble. Many ex­pected he would die be­fore he sur­ren­dered power.

Mu­gabe, the only leader Zim­babwe has known since in­de­pen­dence, told a group of “war col­lab­o­ra­tors and de­tainees” who par­tic­i­pated in the 1970s war of lib­er­a­tion that although step­ping down was now in­evitable, he wanted to do so “prop­erly”.

“If I am fail­ing, let me know. I will go,” he told the au­di­ence.

There is still life in this tragic African fig­ure – whether you de­spise or adore him. As the spec­u­la­tion mounts and the fake news abounds, let us keep in mind what’s best for the peo­ple of Zim­babwe.

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