As far as l know learning about leadership is about studying a successful leader as well as the failed leader. Mugabe was a failed leader. Observing the atmosphere surrounding his death has illustrated that, despite the good in his former years his judgement is based on copious failures of his government and how much they impacted the many.
As the failed government in Zimbabwe are trying to hail the deceased Mugabe as a hero and founding father of Zimbabwe by building an expensive mausoleum and parading his remains around the country. There is no audience at all, unsurprisingly not many people are interested or give a care. The majority of the country remember him his as a tyrant and detector who caused hunger, unemployment, police brutality and all the negative things that have happened in Zimbabwe.
Although Mugabe was initially managing the country well when he took over, the first sign of his failing happened when he had an affair with his typist whilst his wife was lying on her death bed. After his wife died he went on to marry his mistress, “Gucci grace”.
His first wife was perceived as an honourable and respectable woman who came from a well to do family. She was well educated and well suited for this role. People labelled her a states woman. She was as eloquent and as intellectually aware as Mugabe. She was very supportive to her husband.
According to John Maxwell, “the way you do anything is the way you do everything”. A well informed man like Mugabe deciding to settle for someone like Grace was a huge oversight on his part which should have been condemned. It appears that when leaders make grievous errors in their private life, they tend to do the same in their work. Apart from failing to choose a suitable wife he had also failed to surround himself with the right people which meant that, there was no recrimination. They could not hold him to account because they were dunderheads who did not know their right hand from their left! There were already busy looting and swindling the country’s resources.
In my view choosing a wife as good as his former wife, Sally should have been his top priority because he knew that he had not been able to form an effective cabinet. Every leader knows that, behind every good leader, is a supporting team and it really doesn’t matter if that team is made up of just one person.You just need someone who believes in the vision cheering you on!
Grace did not have the education or the know how of running a country and there fore would have no understanding of Mugabe’s vision. However, she became very ambitious and instead of supporting her husband she began to manipulate and influence him to hand over power to her?
Grace felt confident that she had a good chance of taking over power because you guessed it, Mugabe failed to prevent this again. If Mugabe had earmarked someone and started grooming them this wouldn’t have happened. Everybody would have been composed and settled in knowing that there was a capable leader waiting to take over. Needless to say, a power struggle erupted at home and at work!
Whilst driving her agenda, Grace, knew that it would be difficult to realise her ambitions without the aid of aging Mugabe. Apart from fake degrees here and there she was not qualified as a leader of a country. On top of that her morale standing as a decent human being was questionable! Rumours about affairs with different men were rampant.
Hence, her only way to succeed would be to keep flailing Mugabe in power until such a time when she could take over. Progressively he got old and could hardly walk or speak but still carried on presiding as president of Zimbabwe. During this time, Grace was becoming more vocal and preparing the country for her take over.
Mugabe failed to lead in numerous ways but there is always that one big blunder that opens the door to everything else. That one thing for me was failing to surround himself with the right people. You become who you spend time with. In time he started to behave like all those corrupt and unaccomplished leaders whom he had surrounded himself with. It’s ironic to note that, he was jailed by the Smith government for speaking out and when his own citizens began to speak out against him, he arrested, jailed, tortured and then killed them!
Although this man helped facilitate the independence of Zimbabweans from the British, his legacy for me is how he failed his people after he got the power. I will remember the pain he caused. I will remember the people who were murdered, injured or still missing as a result of speaking out against him.