Reading between the lines you’ll conclude that former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo is not impressed with Robert Mugabe’s continued hold on power in Zimbabwe.
Ninety-two-year-old Mugabe was elected prime minister in 1980 and served in that post until he won the presidency in December 1987.
He is regarded as a hero of his country’s fight against apartheid, but in recent years he has been accused of ruling with an iron fist, crushing dissent and his political opponents.
Under his tenure, the Zimbabwean economy has plunged to the point where teachers and medical personnel have, in recent weeks, gone on strike over unpaid wages.
Mugabe has consistently blamed his country’s economic problems on Western states, led by Britain, who, he said, have plotted to get him out of office because of his seizure of white-owned farms.
However, his detractors have said he has not demonstrated an understanding of how a modern economy works.
Just this month, he was reported as saying that he intends to contest the 2018 presidential election, triggering more criticism from his opponents.
Last Friday, the Jamaica Observer put the question of Mugabe’s continued stay in office to Obasanjo, who was on a short visit to Jamaica.
“I believe that unless he decides to go, he will not go,” said the former army general who served as Nigerian president from 1999 to 2007.
Asked whether he believes Mugabe should step down, Obasanjo said: “Well, I believe that after he has stayed as long as he has, since 1980, I don’t believe there is something special that he wants to achieve that he has not so far achieved. I don’t believe there is magic that he wants to perform that he hasn’t performed.”
When the Observer asked Obasanjo if he thought that Mugabe had betrayed the revolution, he gave a heavy sigh before answering.
“Well, he believes that he hasn’t. To the extent that the revolution was partly about land redistribution, I would say he has kept faith with the revolution. But to the extent that the revolution was also about democracy, that has not been able to take place. Particularly to the extent of ensuring that there is succession, then I would say he needs to put that in play before he goes, and it’s never too late to do that,” Obasanjo said.