This week’s outburst by President Ian Khama that it is time for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to consider doing the honourable thing by stepping down was long coming. In fact, President Khama is simply repeating himself in as far as the situation in Zimbabwe is concerned. He is simply being brave enough to state it as it should be. He is saying what many leaders wish in private but fail to publicly declare. The simple fact is an injustice for one should remain an injustice for all. The long suffering people of Zimbabwe have borne it long enough. Somebody should and ought to stand up for and with them. Silent diplomacy has been pursued long enough and failed. There is no use being quiet about it and hoping that someone somewhere would say it. No one has seemingly been brave or concerned enough.
Khama’s concern with the suffering of Zimbabweans is nothing new. He has been consistent in his sympathy and public declarations. When South Africa chose to quietly suffer and ignore the root cause that led to xenophobic attacks in that country, Khama did not. Though it was denied, sources said Khama had told Mugabe point blank that he needed to improve the welfare of his people to avoid having them seeking economic refugee status in neighbouring countries. Resources in these countries are stretched to the limit to provide for citizens and Zimbabweans who come running away from the economic ruin of their own country. Though as Africans and humanity in general we are not supposed to discriminate and abuse others in our own countries, things are bound to get tough when locals feel they are denied in their own land by people who come from elsewhere. Wrong as it is, locals cannot always be controlled. President Khama is rightly concerned that problems must be addressed at source.
Zimbabwean leadership should take care of their citizens and offer them all necessary amenities. Since it has proven so hard under the current regime of Mugabe, it is rightly timeous that he considers handing over the throne. Having been in power of 36 years and now very old, Mugabe should be caring enough for this country and his compatriots to yield and retire gracefully. With the rising tension in the country, it is time for Mugabe to avoid catastrophe and safe lives by bowing out. The challenge is having failed to improve his people’s lives for so long there is little he can do at this stage when the resources have depleted and he barely has the enough energy and power to lead. The introduction of term limits in leadership was meant to ensure that country leadership gets regular refreshing through introduction of new blood. Again it stands as a testimony that nations have many capable people to lead them. Those in power should not make themselves indispensable; generate a sense of fear that without them everything else will collapse. Under enduring democratic dispensations it is the institutions that are supposed to be more powerful than individual members.
These institutions should continually generate new able minds that are capable of leading them. Zimbabweans should wake up to this reality. There will be live after Robert Mugabe leaves the presidency as it has been shown across many countries. Zimbabwe doesn’t exist for Mugabe and his select few who are living lavishly while many suffer. The country exists for all Zimbabweans and each must claim a right to a decent living. It is through the ballot box that those that feel poorly served should determine their new leadership. President Ian Khama is rightly raising concern about Zimbabwe because his country Botswana is playing host to many Zimbabweans mainly because they are not happy back at home. As resources plummet in their country, some who come to Botswana have regrettably join the criminal ranks and are causing havoc. Every month huge resources are spent on transporting some of these people back home. Botswana resources are being spent on people that Mugabe should have better catered for. Even an illegal immigrants centre has been built in Botswana and the dominant inhabitants are Zimbabweans. No amount of insults will discourage Khama from his stand. After all we all know, he said what he said for many who wanted to but were not brave enough.