Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Voting for Mugabe is cruelty to our elders

Prior to last Friday, the day when all aspirants of various elected political offices in Zimbabwe filed their papers, I did everything possible; pray, wish, will and hope that President Robert Mugabe will give himself (to our immense benefit) an early 84th birthday present.

I told myself that there is no way an old man could still want to play this dirty game called politics with men young enough to be his children. Surely, he would want to leave it all and go to Zvimba to tend to his pigs and chickens while he can still totter after them.

But then, he registered to be elected and since Friday I have been asking myself why uKhulu is putting himself in this situation. Surely, it can’t be power he still covets? There has to be something that causes a man in the twilight of his life to quicken his journey yonder by continuously carrying the burden of a hungry, poor, jobless and cowed nation.

Then it dawned on me. You see, the problem is not old Bob. Gushungo is only responding to those of us who keep pushing him to stand for election and then go on to elect him (genuinely or otherwise).

The shame is on the men and women who fill up an arena and endorse him as their candidate when there are younger people who can carry the yoke. A bigger shame on the men and women who coo in his aged ears that “you are the only one to do this job, Chef,” when in effect they mean “you are the only one who can ensure our butts are covered beyond March 29.”

But what would be immoral, heartless or even diabolic would be to go into a polling booth and putting an “X” on the name of an 84-year-old man.

That would be total disrespect for our elders, a total lack of compassion for a man who, for a whole 28 years, has been shouldering all our problems as a nation. He needs to be relieved of this heavy burden.

I know, of course, that like most elderly people, Mugabe can and will be stubborn. He will campaign vigorously, lifting and shaking that once potent but now withered fist in the air and admonishing anyone who dares challenge him or threatening to floor anyone who votes him out.

But old and senile people do that sometimes, right. They angrily insist that they, and only they, can protect us from the evil men of the West who want to colonize our land and enslave us again. They let their senility cloud their judgement and believe they can conquer everything and everyone even if the weight of their own fist can send them sprawling onto the ground as they try to strike imagined enemies.

“Ndinombonzi aniko ini? Vaudze kuti ndairova mikono ini (What is my name? Tell them I used to beat up stronger men),” they will sputter rhetorically.

The point is, there is simply nothing new 84-year-old Mugabe can offer Zimbabweans, no matter how his oratory and eloquent self may try to argue.

Voters should not allow themselves to be hoodwinked by the same old tricks: whites will come back to take over, war veterans will go back to the bush if you vote me out, etc.

In fact, for him to raise these issues would be to assume that Zimbabweans cannot prevent any “re-colonization” or whatever he calls it, without him as leader.

As for the war veterans, it would be amusing to see people in their late 40s to 80s going back to take arms just because old Bob has not been voted back into power.

In fact, how about putting a cap on the age at which one can stand for the presidency. Something like 60 years should be reasonable.

Itching to react!? Bring it on: imadawo@thesouthernafrican.com


No comments: