Mugabe knows its time up

Even Robert Mugabe’s fiercest critics concede that he is an astute and cunning politician. As such, he knows that the game is up. Yesterday he effectively admitted as much to the Zanu (PF) faithful.

Since the once all-powerful ruling party was forced into last year’s power-sharing agreement with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), it has seen its remaining power and influence slowly ebb away.

It has no moral authority to govern. Everyone knows a few small but significant improvements, such as the first economic growth for 12 years and increased foreign aid, have come about as a result of an MDC hand on the finance ministry.

Ministries controlled by Zanu (PF) remain mired in incompetence and inefficiency. Now, they are also paralysed by power struggles as Mugabe’s cronies look with anxiety to the future.

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“Their hands are dripping in blood and their pockets are full of booty. They are afraid that all their gory misdeeds will be exposed once they are out of power. So, they must cling to power by all means but in so doing they dig deeper graves for themselves for such tactics backfire and hasten the end. Mugabe knows it but is powerless to stop it,” said George Ayittey, a political analyst and expert on Zimbabwe.

South Africa, which so often in the past whitewashed their misdeeds, is now exhibiting a decisiveness and firmness which was unthinkable in the days of former President Thabo Mbeki.

President Jacob Zuma, with the full support of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has made it clear thaqt the Global Political Agreement - as the power sharing deal is known - is the only show in town.

Mr Zuma, with the recession hitting jobs in his own country, is determined to end the political crisis north of the Limpopo.

Mr Mugabe’s cronies know they cannot go back, but are incapable of moving forward. They are haunted by fear of reprisals, retribution and paranoia.

Political commentators believe real power in Zanu (PF) is now held within a cabal of no more than 200 people, comprising senior military officers, members of the secretive Joint Operations Command, which effectively runs the party, and a clique of Mugabe cronies linked by business or family ties.

“ZANU pf has lost all credibility with the Zimbabwean people. It has become an imposition - a cancer - on Zimbabwe’s body politic - a far cry from the liberation stature it once enjoyed,” Mr Attiyeh said.

Political commentators say that to have found a peaceful solution to the Zimbabwean crisis in the period when Mr Mugabe had the unequivocal support of a sizeable armed forces component and a sizeable proportion of the population may have presented a major problem. To be faced instead with a clique of just 200 or so people who have brazenly amassed great wealth for themselves and their families while leaving the Zimbabwean people impoverished is totally different situation.

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