Monday, April 25, 2005

Say it ain't so

Apparently Mugabe's confirmation of his intentions to retire come 2008 irked some attention over the weekend. The furore started on Friday when Zimbabwe's president stated his intention to quit politics for writing after his current term ends in an interview with the Jakara Post, then everyone reported it like it was new news. Grunt.

By the time Monday came, it was evident that there's a division in people's perception of the aged leader's announcement. On the one hand are the naysayers who sharply caution us against counting our chicks before the eggs hatch. Removed from the sentiment, this camp has worked themselves into a frenzy based on overstated evidence.

Take a look if you will at this missive from Daniel Molokela. After wasting time chastising the media for "taking Mugabe too seriously," the esteemed lawyer and otherwise elegant pundit provides his reasons for doubting the authenticity of Mugabe's alleged intentions: The fact that Mugabe did not make this statement at the grand stage of the jubilee celebrations a week ago, and that Mugabe made the announcement on foreign soil. Misinformed and misdirected. Molokela forgets that the first time Mugabe indicated his intention to step down is as far back as 2003! In November of last year, just before ZANU-PF's people's congress, Mugabe himself encouraged people to discuss and debate the 'succession question.' The Jubilee celebration was about Zimbabwe, not its leader, that's why Mugabe allude to the succession dispute a week ago.

My objection to this line of thought is best summed up in the words of deposed information minister, Jonathan Moyo who said, "it is complete madness to expect that Zimbabwe should only have four leaders in a century."

On the other hand, are the optimists who are so elated at the prospects of the end of the "Mugabe era" that they're encouraging Zimbabweans to hang tight for the end is nigh. For lack of a better spokesman I'm forced to refer once again to Jonathan Moyo's interview in the Mail & Guardian as a case in point. NewZimbabwe's Courage Shumba subscribes to this optimism too in this article.

Will it be?

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