Home » Governance » Radar – No, It’s Only Our Sense of Humour That Tumbled [opinion]

So, the biggest news of the week has been inordinately and unnecessarily the minor red carpet accident President Mugabe suffered at the Harare International Airport as he stood down from the podium where he addressed thousands of welcoming supporters.

In other times and places, this would hardly be news.

However, this is Zimbabwe.

And this is Robert Mugabe.

What should have simply been allowed to pass made headlines across the world.

Social media — that virtual space occupied by people who, perhaps lacking anything significant or voluminous to do, is usually the home of trivia — was especially busy, making such a minor trip to assume a gargantuan, cataclysmic aspect.

Now, it is difficult to put such a thing into proper context without, in our present environment, being accused of doing propaganda.

However, let’s face it: if someone were to come from Mars and see people on one hand paroxysms of laughter and excitement and others in a fit of rage over the incident, in particular the reaction to it, they would be so surprised.

Utterly surprised, because there is nothing out of the ordinary about the accident — who doesn’t trip, slip or fall in private or public, whether young or old?

The fact of the matter is that in Zimbabwe we have stooped so low as to politicise anything and everything.

It is such a shame.

A couple of weeks ago on this column we noted that reporting sickness had become a sickness in itself with our friends in the private media given their unhealthy interest in the health of President Mugabe and the still morbid celebration they let out at news that the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe had been taken ill in the Far East.

Political fall

Let’s try to dissect the issue further. Everyone knows that President Mugabe escaped the minor carpet unsoiled, unhurt.

What is clear though is that this was seen as a political fall — a symbolism that was wished for by opponents of the President, and feared by his supporters.

President Mugabe has been formidable against opposition and the same opposition, having failed to defeat him by means fair or foul have increasingly looked up to the supernatural.

That is why any minor health scare on Mugabe’s part is so relished by his opponents, with fake prophesies of his demise being even bigger and better fodder for the poor, depraved souls that look forward to his end.

Conversely, President Mugabe’s supporters know that he is the Lion that conquered the Jungle and only fear an invisible hand — whether of God or Satan — that may strike their man.

As such, the trifle trip took a huge symbolism.

For his opponents, Mugabe’s fall was a good sign, while to his sympathisers and supporters it looked like a bad omen.

Hence, feelings of jubilation on one hand and irritation and consternation on the other.

Both feelings were, are, misplaced.

They were irrational because they are bordered on something that is not empirical, substantial or reasonable.

A fall, or a tumble as President Mugabe took, is just that — a manifestation of minor human imperfection, man being made to stand on two legs, an art that has to be learnt, too.

Stooping low, lower

What the incident tells us, in particular the relishing of it by the opposition and opposition media, is just how low people can stoop.

We only sank lower, this time around.

Take the example of the political parties that took the incident to score cheap political points.

The Daily News, while apparently relishing it, gives us a catalogue of these low-lifers.

A Sibongile Mgijima whom we are told is deputy national spokesperson for Welshman Ncube’s MDC said, “There is everything wrong with a 91-year-old man who wants to pretend that his body is not succumbing to the natural process of aging . . . It goes to show that he now lacks co-ordination with his brains. He can no longer continue to deceive Zimbabweans that he is both mentally and physically fit. It is time to leave office, stay home and tell stories to his grandchildren.”

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said his party, had “repeatedly stated on account of his increasingly failing health, as well as aanced age, that Mugabe is no longer fit for purpose.”

Gutu goes on to say other rather childishly nasty things all to disqualify President Mugabe from holding office after the minor mishap.

And the perennially-in-dark MavamboKusileDawn could not be left behind.

A spokesperson for the outfit said it was “a big sign”.

To his great credit, MDC leader Tsvangirai for once made a commendable and sober decision not to be drawn into cheap politicking that accompanied the commentary by President Mugabe’s rivals.

It must be noted that all these people are President Mugabe’s rivals who have failed to unseat him and now think that a carpet mishap is their manna from Heaven.

How low can anyone sink!

Curse of Ham

We are trying only too hard not to bring the issue of the Biblical Ham into this, not least because what happened a couple of days ago was not something big, something deeply embarrassing. It was a minor accident, after all.

However you get the feeling that the pre-occupation that Zimbabweans have with certain trivialities is the reason why we are condemned to the present conditions, namely, crises that continue to arrest development and progress.

That is our curse.

Take the special delight some of us took on a mere slip that our leader suffered. Does it not remind one of the curse of being a “servant of servants He shall be to his brothers.”

Spare a thought for the poor widow

Now, if we remember very well, just end-of-last-year when the contentious zanu-pf fights were at a climax, some paper contrived to portray vice president Joice Mujuru, who was facing serious allegations of seeking to topple President Mugabe, as an object deserving pity.

She was a widow, and ruthless politicians were ganging up on her, we were made to believe.

This could have worked very well to elicit sympathy and be repulsed by her alleged tormentors.

A couple of months on, guess who is tormenting the poor widow!

A fallen woman, who is certainly recovering from the shock of her fall and deserved a rest is hounded just to say something that not only worsens her condition, but also certainly disturbs her peace.

And when she dismissively says three words that “Hazvina basa izvo” a whole 1340 words are added onto that so she appears belligerent that she is “ready” for war!

To what end?

We understand that the Mujuru affair is selling newspapers, but shouldn’t we be a little more sensitive to widows and ride on their misery to line our pockets?

Source : The Herald