Million-Man March: Mugabe’s Love For Sycophancy

By Sij Ncube

Harare, May 17, 2016 – ZANU PF has activated all state structures and institutions, including state security agents, to gang-press Zimbabweans into attending the so-called million-men march on May 25 in what analysts say is President Robert Mugabe’s fixation with the politics of sycophancy.

Mugabe has ordered war veterans to be involved in the organisation of the march, initially the brain-child of the Zanu PF Youth League.

This is after it emerged the former freedom fighters were vehemently opposed to the public show of support ostensibly because they knew little about its purpose, more so, after meeting the veteran leader in Harare February this year.

But as a political fox he is known to be, Mugabe has moved with speed to force all party and state structures, including provincial leaders, to mobilise the grassroots for the Harare march.

While all the 10 political provinces have been ordered to mobilise 100 000 supporters each, it is, however, unclear where the funding to transport, feed and accommodate the expected million supporters will come from, considering that the government is technically broke.

Financial and business journalist, Trust Matsilele, suspected funding shall come from the state.

“Zanu manipulates structures and institutions to fund party activities.  

“They have never failed to do that in over two decades now,” said Matsilele, adding that other unbudgeted for activities such as Grace Mugabe rallies and Mugabe’s meeting with war veterans were likely funded through manipulating state structures and institutions.

The state reportedly spent over $2 million to accommodate and feed the war veterans at top hotels in Harare at a time the government is battling to pay outstanding fees for children of war veterans.

But questions also abound why the march has been intended to coincide with Africa Day.

Critics say it is meant to showcase Mugabe as one of few remaining  and living statesmen on the continent.

Be that as it may, a consensus is emerging that Mugabe appears desperate for this show of support on the streets of the capital allegedly to debunk local, regional and international sentiments his support has waned since he was controversially elected, citing the crisis in the economy, galloping unemployment, the drought and food shortages and general poverty.

Critics say as a leader of a struggling country, Mugabe, instead, should organise such marches to increase awareness on key challenges such as HIV/AIDS, drought or hold such marches to raise funds from philanthropists for such causes.

“By having a march to just show that he is still popular is really low and political tomfoolery. He is in power and his work should speak for itself.

“As a nation, we are fast becoming a good case study for political comedy and insanity and this march epitomises just that,” commented Maxwell Saungweme, a development analyst based in Afghanistan.

Jacob Mafume, spokesperson for the People Democratic Party, did not mince his words on the upcoming pro-Mugabe march, claiming the Zanu PF leader likes marches and songs in his praise as a result of mastering and loving the art of fawning or adulation. 

“It is a monumental waste of money when we have all these problems facing the country. His expulsions of Zanu people is now clear that he is not wanted even by Zanu PF persons so he now needs a semblance of legitimacy by ordering people to march in support of him,” said Mafume.

“The man has always had these illusions that he is leading Africa. For some reason he takes the applause and kindergarten notoriety that he gets on his frequent visits from outside the country as a sign that he is a giant. The syndrome of wanting to be larger than life is something that afflicts short people and this is what is affecting Mugabe.”