Is everything OK at State House?


President Robert Mugabe and a number of his stalwarts have been arguing since the June general elections that a win is a win no matter how slim. This is probably aimed at justifying their single mindedness to maintain their grip on power when ideally they should have conceded that they had lost support of the urban vote and should therefore accommodate the urban voters somehow.

Political observers have always argued that in a country like Zimbabwe with its extended family system one cannot really say one is in control when one does not control the urban areas, especially the capital. Though the rural people have more voting power they really do not have as much influence as the urban people and the urban voter can swing the rural vote as is likely to be evidenced at the next elections.

This is the situation that President Mugabe finds himself in. He is based in the capital, but is a stranger in that capital because not a single constituency voted for his ruling party in Harare.

In fact one trade unionist, commenting on the elections results for Harare said: “Hongu, kuwinha vawinha zvawo, but kuitwa mutorwa munyika yako here?” (Yes, they have won, but to be reduced to a stranger in your own country!) President Mugabe is perhaps feeling very lonely in Harare.

One journalist even quipped that Harare is today what Kinshasa was for Mobutu sese Seko during his last days. Mobutu sought solace in Gbadolite, the beautiful city he built in his village.

Whispers say President Mugabe is seeking solace at his Zvimba mansion. But it appears despite all this all is not well at State House.

President Mugabe’s own sister, Bridget, alluded to this when she publicly went to the grave of her sister-in-law Sally and started imploring on her not to abandon her husband at this hour. Bridget was quoted by the Daily News as asking Sally why she was allowing people like Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai to pester the President when they did not even participate in the liberation struggle.

It must have pained Bridget so much to make a public spectacle of herself. Perhaps, now that the MDC is in Parliament, they could try to establish if everything is OK at State House.

The Harare rumour machine has started buzzing that it is not.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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