Analysis

Like Mugabe, Zuma is bitter. Unlike him, Zuma still has some power

01 August 2018 - 08:00 By Ranjeni Munusamy
Dust engulfs former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace as they arrive to vote in the general elections in Harare, Zimbabwe on July 30 2018.
Dust engulfs former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace as they arrive to vote in the general elections in Harare, Zimbabwe on July 30 2018.
Image: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

There is so much political theatre around us that something as absurd as former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe pulling an audacious stunt on the eve of his country’s elections did not come across as strange.

In a world where the president of the United States can threaten war against Iran on Twitter and a gallery of disgraced characters get unadulterated airtime when they pledge support for former president Jacob Zuma at his court appearances, perhaps Mugabe’s press conference on Sunday was not that abnormal.

Mugabe’s intention was to do two things: portray himself as a victim of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government and alter the perception of voters, particularly those who still support him.

It is not surprising that Mugabe feels aggrieved – even if the roof of his palatial house on a 44-acre estate in Borrowdale, Harare was not “sagging”, as he claimed.

Mugabe has been the most distinctive figure in Zimbabwe’s politics for 37 years, successfully subverting democracy for a large part of his term. He truly believed he would rule Zimbabwe forever.

The turn of events north of the Limpopo hold lessons for us.

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