Home » Governance » Give the President a Break!

Some sections of the media have recently been headlining with increasingly irritating howls over President Mugabe and the First Family’s holiday pictures that were posted on social media sites.

If truth be told, one cannot fathom how media houses that claim to be among the best can lead with such petty and downright childish allegations conjectures.

In short, the papers accuse President Mugabe of an array of ills, among them shunning domestic tourism and alleged extravagance, simply for choosing to holiday in the Far East.

Firstly, this is not the first time that the President has gone on holiday so one wonders what all the hullabaloo is all about. Or is it just a case whereby journalists, having been left bereft of actual news stories, are now latching onto to anything and everything in their endeavour to remain relevant in the newsrooms?

President Mugabe, like any other Head of State, deserves a break and because he is the President, it logically follows that the holiday will be State sponsored, just like private companies give their executives holiday packages.

To begrudge the President his annual holiday because the country is facing economic challenges is shallow and unnecessarily vindictive. After all, all those people who are crying foul took breaks from their jobs.

That President Mugabe can afford to go to, and is entitled to a holiday destination of his choice, is no fault of his own. It is a fact of life. He is not the first politician in the country or worldwide to take a holiday and it would be absurd for lack of a better word, to expect him to go to the same holiday resort an ordinary person would, just so he can prove his loyalty to the country.

Just as one could be an ordinary journalist and prefer and can afford to holiday at Great Zimbabwe, so too can President Mugabe, being the Head of State, afford to holiday in the Far East.

To then expect him to go to a local resort just because that is where say a journalist would also go is, I might say, simplistic.

Even wanna-be president, Morgan Tsvangirai, gave us a taste of what he would do given the resources. Barely a year into his tenure as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe during the Inclusive Government, Tsvangirai was already “conquering the seas” with a beauty always glued to his arm. In December 2010, Tsvangirai took his then girlfriend, South African Nonsipho Shilubane, seafaring on a cruise ship called Legend of the Seas. This was after he had vacationed in Gaborone, Botswana in November of the same year, not to mention his motorcade — escorted trips to visit his girlfriend in South Africa. Guess who paid for those escapades? All the banshees making noise now were curiously silent then. One would ask why Tsvangirai didn’t choose Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe or Nyanga for his holidays. Silly huh?

Given the span of his adult working life, it stands to reason and common sense really that by now, President Mugabe is now very familiar with most, if not all of the country’s tourist destinations. To expect him to take his family there year after year as a sign of patriotism shows a worrying lack of common sense amongst our peers in the media fraternity and their “analysts”.

One publication even took the holiday obsession to unprecedented levels, claiming that the President should have sent a “goodwill message” to the people of Zimbabwe before going on holiday to show that he cares. One does not have to be overly cynical, but a message of goodwill, even from a great statesman such as President Mugabe, will not miraculously lift trade embargoes or alleviate the liquidity crunch, neither will it stop the country’s detractors from their efforts. They do say actions speak louder than words and to take the President to task because he did not wish the country a merry Christmas is beyond comprehension.

A true leader is not gauged by his ability to spew sweet nothings but by his actions. Actions such as pushing for the people in his country to own a greater stake of their resources, fighting for total emancipation of Africa as a whole and fighting to educate his people so that they are valuable resources not only for the continent but the world as a whole. That is the leader I would prefer.

What the entire ruckus over the President’s holiday proves is that his critics, having run short of valid points to attack him on or perhaps having grown tired of parroting the same vitriol daily, are now clutching at straws. It wouldn’t be surprising to hear them attacking him for daring to eat next. Sadly, such is the shallowness of our so-called government critics.

To begrudge the President a holiday just because his trips are State-funded is akin to begrudging a general manager of a company his morning tea because the company is experiencing problems. It is his due as it has always been. Had he chosen to go to Gumbonzvanda for his holiday, the rate of unemployment would not miraculously decline. What Zimbabweans should remember is that the First Family is a family like any other and they too deserve a fun-filled and relaxed holiday just like you all did over the Christmas holidays, littering our Facebook walls with your selfies.

Source : The Herald