Posted on | april 17, 2012 | No Comments
Te response was not exactly joy — most African observers are much like I am, they would like Mugabe to go; they do not necessarily want to publicly hope for his death. But the response was optimistic, sometimes almost giddy. On 9 April I wrote two Tweets in response (you can follow me @dcatafrica where I often post #FPAAfricaBlog) which read as follows:
Re. rumors that Mugabe is dying: remember, allegedly the Generals have still never saluted Tsvangirai. Does not bode well for near future.
I followed minutes later with the following:
In other words — Mugabe yielding power would be a good thing. His dying with no clear future leadership plans would not be.
My point was, and continues to be, that Mugabe’s departure would be a good thing for Zimbabweans if there is some sense of what happens next. But a vacuum in which Mugabe dies and there is a scramble for who will take a control, a scramble that would almost surely be decided not at the ballot box or through the logic of succession but rather by the men with guns, would likely be devastating and would not portend long-term stability. Morgan Tsvangirai might seem like the rightful leader of the country, but the odds of such a transition happening smoothly are long.
The rumors of Mugabe’s decline were premature. He returned to Harare and his spokesmen declared the wily old despot to be “fit as a fiddle.” Mugabe’s supporters took more than a little bit of pleasure in tweaking those who hoped that the rumors might have something to them. And Mugabe’s threats to live forever seem to many to be more than wishful thinking. But if Mugabe’s death was a myth, the concerns about his succession are not.
AUTHOR: Derek Charles Catsam
E-MAIL: derekcatsam [at] hotmail.com