President Mugabe’s insistence that he will stay and contest the 2018 elections way past logic, sense and his physical abilities is very much in line with his fellow African leaders all over the continent, scheming and coming up with plots to remain in power. He is now third on the log for longest ruling Presidents in Africa.
The habit of the general African leader is a disconcerting ability to inure the self from common sense and the bedlam of the masses clamouring for his resignation, deposition or simply death.
President Mugabe has allowed himself to believe his own fantasies that 37 years after independence he has become an indispensable cog of the Zimbabwean political rulership that he is ready to expire seated on the highest seat rather than cede power even to anyone from his own political party.
His surprising behaviour made more confusing by the pictures of him sleeping at state or international events ,struggling to walk or even to seat, are very much in line with others across the continent.
In Rwanda Paul Kagame recently got re elected into office to continue stretching his 17 year rule. According to calculations if he fulfils all the terms he could now remain in office up to 2034 by which time he will be 77.
Kagame should have retired but he has engineered alterations to the Constitution allowing him to continue in power for no other specific reason other than the lust for power. In the while he listens to the flowery cooing of bootlickers such Rwanda’s Ambassador to France who according to a Times article dismissed arguments against Kagame.
“We’ve heard these criticisms before,” Jacques Kabale, Rwanda’s ambassador to France, says dismissively. “But for Rwandans, these claims have no importance whatsoever. For them, human rights also means the right to exist and the right to security.”
That stability can only be guaranteed by Kagame, according to Constantin Ashimwe.
According to his fanatical supporters the president has proved himself by allowing Rwanda to go from a shattered nation to one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.
“What Kagame did for Rwanda, everybody can see it from the development, health care, we don’t need the opinions of these Western countries to see what Kagame did for all of our country!”.
This kind of starry eyed fawning is of the type that has seen President Mugabe being bedazzled with non-existant exploits; lauded for development even as the country implodes into a ramshackle banana republic; licked-up as a ground breaker in a financially and physically potholed nation.
The other side however has a darker facet for Kagame, a fact which has been corroborated by the United Nations.
In 2010 the international body released a report confirming that Kagame’s forces had carried out indiscriminate killings in its hunt for those responsible for the genocide.
President Kagame has however taken the grandiose praises to head and lost his head.
In the DRC another pitiful scenario is playing out with President Joseph Kabila who has simply refused to vacate office and Why, because he does not want to!!
Kabila was supposed to have stepped down last Dec 20 at the end of his second term as constitutionally mandated but he refused.
Since then an influential body of Roman Catholic bishops, the National Episcopal Conference of Congo, have brokered an agreement for a transitional government followed by elections at the end of this year.
Mr. Kabila has reshuffled his cabinet, choosing a major opposition figure, Bruno Tshibala, as prime minister.
Despite all that the timetable to hold an election has slipped, badly.
According to media reports in a recent interview with a German newspaper,” Mr. Kabila declared he had “promised nothing” in the December deal. The electoral commission added to the sense of uncertainty by saying it would probably be impossible to hold the election on time because of a lack of funds — it says the process would cost $1.8 billion — and because of unrest in the central Kasai region.”
Diplomats involved in negotiations say that time is running out and that opportunities to broker Mr. Kabila’s peaceful departure are getting smaller by the day.
“Congo is extraordinarily rich in natural resources. It is Africa’s biggest copper producer and a vital source of the cobalt used in rechargeable batteries and smartphones. It has large quantities of diamonds, gold, oil, timber and uranium.”
“And yet, the economy is plummeting”
“Partly because of lower prices for raw materials and partly because of general mismanagement, growth has shrunk from the double digits a few years ago to just below 3 percent. The currency has halved in value over 12 months. Prices are climbing fast, damaging people’s already precarious living standards. Soldiers, teachers, doctors and civil servants have not been paid their official salaries for months”.
Despite all these negatives Kabila has remained adamant that he won’t step down. It is the same thing with President Mugabe.
Government is struggling to pay civil servants, the economy isn’t functioning as it should, unemployment is at a shocking 90% and the country no longer has its own currency. Yet in all this the man feels and thinks he should still remain in power. He remains ‘ the one center of power’.
In Uganda Yoweri Museveni comes close to being another version of President Mugabe, a formerly veritable leader who started brightly but lost it along the way. After changing the constitution so as to make himself eligible to remain in power Museveni seems here to stay with no succession plan just like Mugabe.
According to an Economist report Mr Museveni” has made no public plans for his succession. His son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, whose military career is taking off faster than one of Mr Museveni’s cherished Russian fighter jets, has been mentioned. Other family members are also close to the levers of power. Mr Museveni’s wife (a cabinet member), sister, brother, a stepbrother and a cousin all hold lofty political posts. Ugandan newspapers list dozens of family members in the government.”
“Or at least they used to. New laws and assertive policing are muzzling dissent. Two papers and two radio stations were forced to close this year”.
“Thanks to the public-order-management bill passed in May, any meeting of three or more people may be deemed illegal. In practice Uganda remains a fairly open society, but the authoritarian mood is getting harsher. Civil-society groups remain strong, but parliament is no match for the executive”.
They are a variety of other Presidents across Africa who have overstayed their welcome and all seem here to stay.
Teodore Nguema in Equatorial Guinea and Jose Eduardo Santos of Angola both have 34 years in power, Mugabe is second at 33, Cameroon’s Paul Biya follows at 30; Yoweri Museveni has 27 and Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso follows at 26.
Sudan’s Omar al Bashir has 23 whilst Idriss Debt follows at 22 and Eritrea’s Isaias Afeweki also has 22.
Whilst the rest of the world is progressing with other nations such as France selecting very young leaders in-tune with contemporary needs and trends Africa continues chugging along its own path of deviancy.