So now Robert Mugabe and the word ‘president’ can only be used in the same sentence with words like ‘former’ or ‘emeritus.’
It’s been an interesting fortnight, the last one. In all, the general mood has been of ecstatic jubilation for some while others moved with caution, aware that changing old wine with old wine, only poured in new bottles, cannot guarantee a different hangover experience.
The drinker would have to devise means of consumption that would mitigate the effect of the ‘old wine in new glasses,’ like say, taking time off to bite some meat or taking quite some bit of water to dilute the effect. And I bet that’s what the Zimbabwean folk are doing, or ought to do.
It’s not a good thing to see an old man being shoved off what was their default disposition. But then again, it doesn’t lessen the pain seeing an old man fail to live up to what they were billed for in their heydays.
It’s the rule of nature that as one grows older, some functions begin to wane. Even speech, taste, and all, start to diminish and the same can be said of mental and physical abilities.
However, what now seems to hold true is that the allure of power often makes men oblivious to some of these obvious natural trends.
Over the weekend, we had good, reflective banter on the subject matter. Of course, the usual cynics quipped that no matter how old a man gets, he cannot be removed from his pole position as family head.
So, Mugabe, however good a leader he was, with decorations of heroism, should have planned his exit better and not waited to be disgraced, yet some argue it could have been worse.
On the flipside, many of us give him credit for being a master at the game of politics, even at his advanced age. And he proved his mastery, even at the last hour.
Remember him failing to resign in that televised speech? He kept his head high and preached with a conciliatory tone to all Zimbabweans, majority of who jeered him, yet the same had cheered him once before.
This brings me to the point some worried fellow old men bantered about; the idea of leaving behind no children in this trade. See, the Kenya political class shows you that their post-independence leaders did not die in vain.
Their sons continued with their legacy. All of them, except a few newcomers, are sons of post-independence leaders. It means they did not allow their children to waste time, keeping them close as they governed. And from the look of things, it worked wonders.
In the Ugandan scenario, it’s no doubt President Museveni was visionary enough to ensure his son joins the army. Mugabe, on the other hand, did not seem to have progeny that would have guaranteed his eternal stay in power.
His children seem to be still wallowing in privileged deliquescence, and the situation is not helped either by their equally flamboyant mother.
But let’s see how the ‘old wine in a new bottle’ will fare.