HARARE - The suggestion, surely, is not that those who die in very old age — Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower — were only a bit on the good side.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, assassinated in 1963, died young.
Whether he died good or bad, depends on you. The man was something of a womaniser. As the leader of his great country, he is said to have carved out a rather impressive record, in that respect.
Is the suggestion that, after his death, his widow, Jacqueline was making up for lost time?
But these people are Americans…not Britons, Mexicans, Italians or even Zimbabweans.
One fact that is entirely inescapable is that he and Lee Harvey Oswald were not gunning for the love of one woman. There was nothing but politics, if you opened that can of worms.
On the other hand, was Bill Clinton, in that respect, a good or bad president? “I did not sleep with that woman….” must rate as one of the most memorable quotes in political history.
We have to remember that, in spite of his known and unknown shenanigans, Bill still remains married to his wife and they are both still very happy in their marriage and their politics…in the Democratic Party.
But that is the US. For one reason or another, politics in the US and elsewhere in the world is just not the same.
If Robert Mugabe died today, he would most certainly be regarded as having died in his old age.
But for a reason which some people might suspect to be related to our cultural mores, there would be little mention of his affair with Grace Marufu.
Some people might say this affair was not as “seedy”, “shady” or controversial or even as scandalous as other such affairs have been described as.
You also have to consider how Mugabe himself regarded his extramarital affair with the then M’s Marufu as something not entirely out of the ordinary.
“Don’t you too have girlfriends?” he retorted to the journalists gathered to cover the story of his affair with Grace.
It is not entirely disrespectful of the president for many Zimbabweans to regard their own extramarital affairs as “nothing out of the ordinary”.
In some quite extraordinary way, some of the younger “bucks” in Mugabe’s party might fancy having their own one or two extramarital affairs as measuring up to the expectations of their leader.
If there were younger leaders in the party fashioning their own lives on the example set by their party leader, it should not alarm the leader himself.
But there must surely be — among the government and party leaders — men and women who are frightened out of their wits of the trend in the party for what some have called “loose behaviour” among so-called leaders.
Previously, many leaders tended to blame any licentiousness among party members to have originated with the unruly behaviour of some ex-combatants.
Most the former fighters have curbed their unruly behaviour.
Unfortunately for the party in general, the dawn of unruliness among many party leaders seems to have led to a licentiousness that surely must have seeped down to the lower levels of the party.
Some of the language used by the leaders themselves, to excoriate each other, was viciously uncouth, to the extent that it seems to have become “the proper language” of the party.
If this language is not curbed, Zanu PF could soon sink into the gutter, physically too.