Why Robert Mugabe Won Zimbabwe’s 2013 Presidential Election


President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe

EDITORIAL: African Celebrities Magazine looks at two Zimbabwean political celebrities. Why did one win and why did the other loss. It should be reminded that Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF leader President Robert Gabriel Mugabe in power since 1980 just won the 2013 Presidential Elections against main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) by a landslide. Mugabe beat Tsvangirai 61% to 34%.Many experts have different opinions as to why that happened. I think the news should read that, “Zimbabweans Cannot Find a Replacement for President Robert Mugabe”.Here is a man who almost lost an election in 2008; bombarded with EU and American sanctions; is 89 years old and has ruled for 33 years and like someone said online, “should be in a retirement home playing cards and draughts”. Yet President Mugabe comes back from the brinks to beat Morgan Tsvangirai in a landslide at a time when pundits thought this would be President Mugabe’s last stand.

The accusations by MDC’s Tsvangirai that the elections were rigged are a distraction. Robert Mugabe Won the 2013 Presidential Elections because of the severe incompetence of Mr. Tsvangirai. To this effect, Morgan Tsvangirai must take much of the blame for MDC’s election defeat. Our point is summarized in this comment left online by a reader…”Robert Mugabe has sailed seven seas and MDC is just an ordinary stream”.

Battle against Significant Past Successes of President Mugabe

Advert2In trying to unseat Robert Mugabe, it wasn’t enough for Mr. Tsvangirai to just point out some of the pitfalls of the President but to battle the resounding achievements president Mugabe had made for his people. He had to prove that he too is intelligent, charismatic, forceful and determined as Mugabe and would be a leader who would do more than what Mugabe had done.

Mugabe has fought in two revolutions; was one of the leaders of the guerrilla movements against white-minority rule and to add to his achievements, Zimbabwe has the highest literacy rate in Africa at 85% of the population. Robert Mugabe has also been praised for his quest for the total emancipation of the people from colonialism.

Also, prior to EU sanctions President Mugabe fought for primary education for all students, guaranteed admission to secondary school for all who qualified, free medical care for those with low incomes and a new housing law granting freehold ownership to home renters of 30 year’s standing. In the minds of many Zimbabweans, Tsvangirai could never measure up to Mugabe in relation to what the incumbent has achieved for his people.

Zimbabwe is the richest country on earth with respect to untapped natural resources per person. She has the world’s largest diamond reserves, second largest platinum reserves and over 40 exploitable minerals. This has the potential to turn Zimbabwe into the jewel of Africa. No doubt, according to British Member of Parliament (MP) James Duddridge, Zimbabwe can be a major strategic ally to the west. Remembering the above facts and the colonial history of Southern Africa is what was at stake. Many who understand this may be want President Mugabe to retire but unfortunately, Mugabe and his party recovered from the sanctions and started regaining credibility among the voters while the MDC looked weaker, more incompetent and disorganized  every day.

Distrust of Tsvangirai by Southern African Countries (Accusations as Servant of the West)

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
(Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

One of the main reasons Mr. Tsvangirai can almost not be president of Zimbabwe is based on the almost complete lack of trust and support from the leadership in the Southern African Nations especially South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique.  President Mugabe has referred to Morgan Tsvangirai as a “stooge”, “sell out” and servant of the west. The best reflection of the thoughts of Southern African leaders was when Zambian President Michael Sata openly called Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, a “stooge”. “We don’t know the policies of Morgan – he has other people speaking for him rather than speaking for himself,” said President Sata.As far back as 2001, the then USA Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Chris Dell told his bosses in Washington that Tsvangirai was a “flawed and indecisive character”. This was in a secret cable only released by WikiLeaks. Although these were very undiplomatic remarks made by both the American Ambassador, and later by the President of Zambia…to say the very least; this however, is not the first or second time, nor will it be the last time, Tsvangirai’s leadership ability will be called into question.Tsvangirai’s support by the west does not sit well in the region. Many analysts would tell you that the history of Southern Africa is very important in the minds of millions who fought against oppression. Zimbabweans and international colleagues of the press have to deal with this elephant in the room.africdating ad

Mugabe’s Reputation as Intelligent, Charismatic, Populist and Nationalist

The question of President Mugabe’s more superior intelligence and charismatic nature has never been in doubt compared to that of his main opposition rival Tsvangirai. These two assets have overshadowed to an extent, the issue of his age and the length of his stay in power. Added to these two great assets, is his populist campaign rhetoric. Accusing Morgan Tsvangirai as “Western stooge” gives Mugabe even more ammunition than he already has against his rival.

Many young Zimbabweans get excited when their president makes populist statements like: “Retirement will come when the occasion demands it. But just now we are going to fight to beat the sanctions and to disgrace the Europeans and the Americans who thought we will collapse”. Or another like: “People of Europe are surprised why we are still alive,” he said. “They thought we were going to die, all of us, and this ‘monster’ called Robert Mugabe, they announced how many deaths of me? I don’t know now”.

Since land reforms is a great factor in Zimbabwean politics, Mugabe has this as his trump card: “So, how does one become a dictator when one says we take our land because you do not want to pay compensation? We stand for people’s rights and don’t forget the people fought for the land and died for it”.

Once accused of acting like Hitler he said: “This Hitler has only one objective: justice for his people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their rights over their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be Hitler tenfold. Ten times, that is what we stand for.”

Mugabe’s Nationalistic and populist talk draws sharp contrast to Morgan Tsvangirai who many a times doesn’t seem to understand the history of his country and what people want most to hear.

Tsvangirai & MDC Incompetence in the eyes of Zimbabweans

As Prime Minister, Mr. Tsvangirai became aloof and dictatorial, and he shunned key allies with whom he had begun the struggle to remove Mr Mugabe. For example, in 2008 the MDC-T won all seats and all urban local authorities in the Manicaland province of Zimbabwe…a province that bore the brunt of the liberation struggle because of its proximity to Zanu bases in Mozambique. But what happened this time around?

Because of in fighting, factional fights and accusations of bribery, they lost all that to the ZANU-PF in 2013. That cannot be Mugabe’s fault, nor that of his age or style of governing. In essence, what this editorial is trying to point out is that, while there may be several selfish reasons why some Presidents hold unto power, Africans should also be seriously reminded that some opposition leaders are worst off that even the Presidents in Power. These kinds of opposition leaders stand in the way of progress because even if President Mugabe wanted to hand over power to someone, African experts will tell you that an important country like Zimbabwe shouldn’t be left in the hands of someone like Morgan Tsvangirai.

Note that Tsvangirai doesn’t have the support of southern African countries. He has lost American and European support and now National support. If he stays in government, it will just be thanks to President Mugabe’s goodwill but the question is…who in his political right mind would bring an enemy opposition leader who has lost all credibility, fallen from grace and lost every mandate into his government when he just beat him in a very big landslide?

Tsvangirai’s incompetency was also very pronounced in 2006 when he shamelessly urged Zimbabweans to “come out in your millions” to protest against Mugabe – and then failed to come out himself.

The position of African Celebrities Magazine is clear. Some leaders have been in power for too long and maybe it is time to leave but some of their departures are hindered by the candidates we support to replace them. Some replacements are too risky. Tsvangirai has lost touch with the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans while enjoying the perks of being in a unity government formed in 2009 in the aftermath of the disputed 2008 election.

As the pro-Mugabe“Morgan Tsvangirai’s 15 minutes of fame have come to a spectacular end”. The election loss will also re-ignite debate on Tsvangirai’s fitness to continue leading the party, in the wake of a string of sex scandals that called his morals into question. According to political analyst and an outspoken Tsvangirai critic, Denford Magora, “Tsvangirai took all his support for granted – that they would never desert him no matter what he did, no matter how badly he behaved”.

In the end, no matter what accusations of rigging are thrown at ZANU-PF, the truth of the matter is that this time around, even with the fairest of elections, we believe Robert Mugabe would have beaten Morgan Tsvangirai. Mugabe won the 2013 Presidential Elections because of incompetence, distrust and complete lack of vision on the part of Tsvangirai. At the end of the day, it is up to the Zimbabweans to find a solution…getting more competent leaders rather than hanging on to failed leaders like Tsvangirai.