The Most Honorable Robert Mugabe suffers from an affliction that infects many Black leaders in African and the African Diaspora.
It’s called the “You Need to Go Somewhere and Sit Yo Ass Down Somewhere” Syndrome, a.k.a. the “Leader for Life” Delusion (LLD).
YNTGASYADS / LLD occurs in two ways:
- A popular person who has wide spread support, they elevate to positions of leadership based on their popularity but they are totally unqualified to hold the position of leadership and fulfill the obligations of that positions, and they refuse to acknowledge their ineptitude or surrender power. This often happens when entertainers, or athletes are elected to office or positions of political or economic leadership.
- The other way is when someone is qualified to hold the position, but they remain in the position of power or leadership long beyond their functional or productive years. An example is when a Warrior leader takes command during a time of conflict, but then holds to power when a leader skilled in State-Craft, Diplomacy, or Economics and Policy is needed.
Mugabe is a textbook example of #2. He was a good leader, a loyal anti-colonial fighter, and he was needed during the anti-colonial struggle, but I don’t think he should have taken the lead of the state, or he should had surrender it after one or two terms.
When your are building a nation, or rebuilding one after ousting a colonizer you need men skilled in State-Craft, Policy Development, Systems Management at the helm, you need Political Scientist, not Warriors. You need the builders to come forward, and the warriors to take a step back.
You don’t send you warriors away, don’t get me wrong, but they must come under civilian leadership after the national threat has been neutralized.
Mugabe was a great Warrior, he is a terrible Statesman. There are a few Statesmen who were Warriors, and vice versa; but Mugabe is not.
We love Mugabe because he is a Warrior, we love his defiance of colonialism and he defiance of the West in general, but we can’t allow that to blind us to decades of mismanagement of the State.
The history of Mugabe is complex and long, and I know this response dosen’t do him full justice.
I respect him, I respect his history, but not his governing abilities; and I wish our Brothers and Sisters in Zimbabwe could put him out to pasture and elect some true Statesmen and Stateswomen.
Note: When a popular but unqualified individual comes to power and brings Statesmen and Stateswomen on deck to do the actual governing while the figurehead keeps the masses motivated and supportive of the government LLD can be averted or used to the people’s advantage. Idi Amin did this at the start, so did Kwame Nkrumah (although Nkrumah was a great Statesman himself).