Maybe it is a case of divine intervention or politics as usual. The intransigent fallen hero, Robert Mugabe, has agreed to relinquish some power. The silver lining has appeared. The South African Development Community has secured a power sharing arrangement that is acceptable to both Zanu-PF and the MDC. On February 11, Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to be sworn in as prime minister of Zimbabwe. Is this deal going to work, or will there be a return to the status quo?
Paul Mangwana, Minister of Information for the Zimbabwean government has declared, “This is a glorious opportunity to work together and show the whole world that we are able to solve our problems on our own.” Has there been a paradigm shift in the politics of Mugabe? Has there been any seismic activity on the autocratic foundation of Mugabe’s approach to power? I don’t think so. Behind his Hitleresque moustache and well groomed haircut, Robert Mugabe hovers over Zimbabwe like a tyrannosaurus. On the ignoble side of history, he plays a starring role in the ‘uglification’ of African politics. His utterances and style of leadership, fuelled by a self-constructed orthodoxy, are reminiscent of the age of absolutism; an age when monarchs such as Catherine the Great declared, “I shall be an autocrat; that’s my trade. And the good lord shall forgive me, that’s his.” How do you begin to rationalise a leader who is unperturbed about a cholera outbreak, 94% unemployment and inflation at astronomical figures?
There is no way to determine whether Mugabe will honour this agreement. If he does not, this ex-teacher from the Shona tribe will be an example of Mikhail Gorbachev’s warning, “History punishes those who do not change with the times.” As for me, I am with the Americans, “A bit sceptical about this deal.”
Ronald Austin, Jr