Sunday, February 26, 2006

Mugabe losing touch with reality?


Now to return a verdict on Mugabe's interview: it provided the clearest sign yet that he is rapidly losing his grip on reality. His detachment from events on the ground and the situation around him shocked many.

Mugabe appeared off message and handcuffed to the past, thus confirming he is beyond his sell-by date as a leader.

His analysis of the current political and economic crisis was based on a flawed premise, and was, in the end, neither interesting nor convincing. Due to the lack of structured analysis, Mugabe was found wanting and exposed on real issues, especially to do with the economy. He struggled to articulate fundamental political, policy and institutional issues underlying the prevailing crisis.

Eventually, Mugabe - assisted by a rather apologetic interviewer - just turned the show into a platform for a blame game now typical of his regime's head-in-the-sand politics.

While denying he was an autocrat, Mugabe managed to prove he was not only a political dictator but also an intellectual one as well by refusing to listen to other people's ideas.

Describing others as intellectual slaves, he also failed to realise that, in fact, he himself is a prisoner of shibboleths of the past. This is made worse by his tendency to reason by conclusion on issues.

However, Mugabe's interview provided interesting insights into his make-believe world. It showed he is rigidly opposed to reform. It also indicated what he thinks about African leaders, including Mbeki: that they are not revolutionaries, but cowards.

The interview also exposed his threadbare grasp of modern economics and his struggle to get to grips with global dynamics. It helped to confirm the wholesale abdication of reason and a complete breakdown of common sense in government.

Mugabe avoided certain telling issues, including the fact that currently state institutions and government departments - a vast swathe of the bureaucracy - have collapsed due to leadership and policy failures. This explains why the functions of a number of ministries are now performed by the central bank which has assumed a quasi-fiscal instead of a monetary policy role.

Mugabe could also not explain why government has lost capacity for effective policy formulation and implementation, something at the heart of the current system's virtual collapse....

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