Nomusa Garikayi | In nine days’ time America, will witness the peaceful hand over of power from President Barack Obama to President-elect Donald Trump. It is this willingness to renew itself that has made America such a dynamic and successful nation.
President Obama is leaving office with a staggering 56% popularity rating, one of the highest of an outgoing president in American history. He certainly has plenty of gas in his tank and would have won if he had contested the election. He could not contest because he had served his maximum two four-year terms decreed in the American Constitution.
Incoming president Donald Trump could well turn out to be one of the worst US Presidents, he has not yet moved into the White House and already dark sinister shadows such as the allegations that the Russians hacked his Democrat challenger in last November’s elections are already hanging over his presidency. If electing Donald Trump was a big mistake, the American people will pay for the mistake, like everyone else; scrutinise what went wrong from all possible angles, learn all there is to be learned from the mistake and, in four years’ time, kick Mr Trump out of White House – something many of us cannot do.
To be the President of America, one is subjected to a rigorous selection process first the grinding mill of the party’s primaries where one must prove to party members that he/she is the best followed by an even tougher national electoral process. Anyone can be the president of America as long as they can garner the majority vote in free, fair and credible elections.
Maximum fixed terms of two four-years or two five-years is reasonable; any reasonable competent leader can accomplish a lot in that time. Even if a leader is forced to leave office when they still have gas in the tank, it is no loss; they can burn the gas by contributing to the nation in many other ways. The main emphasis for fixed maximum terms is renewal as contrast to stability.
The incumbent regime will always have the advantage over the new comers because we all fear change, specially the unknown. Indeed, it is this fear of change and that totalitarian regimes and tyrants exploit to justify the imposing of one-party cum one-man dictatorship. The difference between stability and stagnation is as subtle as woodland and grassland, who is to say!
Still, after 37 years in power and the country in an economic mess and political upheaval and, due to old age and ill health, Mugabe now 92 years old, is physically and mentally exhausted. He took office when President Jimmy Carter, the 39th US President, was in White House and now America is going to have its 45th President. Mugabe is not superman and the sorry economic state of Zimbabwe bears testimony to his blundering incompetency and greed.
Whatever ideas Mugabe had in he first took office in 1980 it was soon clear that they were not working because Zimbabwe’s economy has been in decline ever since. The only reason he has managed to stay in power regardless of his growing reputation as a corrupt incompetent and murderous tyrant is because he rigged elections. Zimbabwe has yet to hold free, fair and credible elections.
Mugabe has already said he intends to contest next year’s presidential elections. He will be 94 years old. After 37 years of enjoying absolute power and all the influence and material wealth that comes with it; Mugabe and his family are now so addicted to it they cannot give it up. It was the prospect of giving up her “Gucci” lifestyle that forced Grace Mugabe to take up politics and spear head the booting of former VP Joice Mujuru out of Zanu PF because she was the greatest threat to Mugabe’s continued rule. She is eyeing the presidency herself and thus has crossed swords with VP Mnangagwa who too is hoping to succeed Mugabe.
Meanwhile Grace wants her husband to remain in power ever if he cannot stand up; she will “buy a wheelchair for him and wheel him around herself,” she said.
“There are no cats in America and the street are paved with cheese! But back home in mother Russia … hihihiiii!” so lyrics from American Tail.
Well, America has certainly been a land of opportunity for the great majority of people who called it their home. And the key to America’s success is its ability to reinvent itself, especially at the highest level – government.
In Zimbabwe, our fight for independence has turned into a nightmare; the country is to all intend and purpose the Garden of Eden and yet we have long lost our bread basket of the region and are starving. The insatiable greed of the ruling elite, the fat cats, knows no bounds. And, for our part, we the people, cannot even articulate what we need to have free, fair and credible elections; even now, 37 years after independence and with the benefit of all human history!
As we watch the swearing into office of President Donald Trump; remember that even if electing him was a mistake, Americans will learn from the mistake and emerge an even stronger nation for it. To err is human and the beauty of a healthy and functioning democracy is it forcing you to learn from the mistake.
In Zimbabwe, we have not only been stuck with a corrupt and tyrannical regime for 37 years but worse still we are at sixes and sevens as to what to do to end its iron grip on power. Meanwhile the tyrant is squandered $36 million, according to recent reports, in the first 10 months of 2016 on globetrotting at a time when even major hospitals have no money to buy something as basic painkiller.