Will Mugabe’s health and his call for elections make him the joker of the year 2012?

Posted: January 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

Last year ended in style. Of note were the results of the Daily News and Zimbabwe Independent performance ratings of government ministers for the year 2011. Although it was not clear how they conducted their research and while I’m sure not everyone will agree with the scores given to various ministers, the idea itself was interesting because it helps stimulate debate on who is doing their job in the inclusive government. I would have been interested to see reviews of the President, Prime Minister and two Deputy Prime Ministers. Their ratings would have been interesting because the performance of other Ministers depends on their authority, especially the President as the main signatory to any government actions. That aside, as lessons learnt from the initiative we now enter a new year during which we should continue to keep an eye on the performance of those in government. The public, through civil society, must set standards for the government and hold to account those who don’t deliver.  The most obvious punishment for poor performers is not to vote for them next time around but that only works if there are viable alternatives. How it can be done with greater effectiveness is something we should invest some time in working out.

2012, the year of the Mickey Mouse,

This year has begun in a very different style. I already doubt whether meaningful progress will be made by all stakeholders to improve people’s lives. We have entered the New Year carrying forward the daily political bickering, electricity shortages and other service provision problems, malfunctioning of baseline government departments such as the passport office (a note of personal bitterness

What's in Mugabe's precious bag?

there!) and the overall lack of a serious government. Political bickering over the life of the inclusive government, especially from Zanu PF, means that important issues are overshadowed. War veterans have, in the first week of the year, started their Mickey Mouse games of campaigning for parliament to be dissolved. Mugabe too is singing the chorus, saying he wants elections this year before a new Constitution and related pre-conditions like respect for the media, new voters’ roll and tolerance are in place, and while police impartiality remains a major challenge, the police are proceeding with their preparations for elections. I am sure there are many issues that will continue to raise our ire as we project into the New Year. Let us recognise that there is more fighting to be done. The battle for democracy in Zimbabwe is far from over and as we enter 2012 it should be intensified.

Jokes, challenges and victories!

Jokes aside, President Mugabe is setting himself to be the joker of the year. At 88, it will be impossible for him to run a campaign and at the same time be Head of Government. His position and health have become a major national security issue and there are signs that even Zanu PF is concerned.  We are watching closely to see what medicine will spring him to youthful life. We already know he is using Botox. Readers should watch his shiny chubby cheeks when he returns from leave. Last year, he was going around carrying a small bag which he preferred to carry himself. God knows what’s in it but my own suspicion is that it carries a special resuscitation kit as one cannot rule out regular collapses. As for challenges, we ought to secure means to make our votes count and to make politicians take people seriously even while we see that they won’t miss any chance of enriching themselves. But let us be optimists – it could be a year for people’s victories again in another part of the world. If victory was attained in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, who would back Zanu PF’s chances of resisting, people power? We just have to see the whole thing as a matter of survival and the rest can be history. Happy New Year.

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