Robert Mugabe came perilously close to a moment of critical self-realization when he acknowledged that an economic meltdown, massive emigration and widespread malnutrition have turned Zimbabwe into an international "laughing stock". A quarter of Zimbabweans have fled the country, and of the remaining eight million people, nearly half will be requiring food aid in the coming year.
Shockingly, Mugabe even made what may have been his first ever public conciliatory remarks about his bitter political enemies, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Anyone who's read what Mugabe's had to say about the MDC and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the past must have been shellshocked when Mugabe said
We have become the laughing stock because of hunger. We all need to eat, whether you are Zanu-PF or MDC. Let's unite.- Robert Mugabe
Mugabe calling for unity with the MDC? Based on his previous attitude towards the MDC, you get the sense that Mugabe would rather unite with a prostate tumor. It would be foolish to say that Robert Mugabe is unaware of Zimbabwe's miseries, but a statement calling for unity between ZANU-PF and the MDC suggests that, perhaps, he's also finally seeing the light at the end of the political tunnel. He has acknowledged that Zimbabwe's social and economic problems are, for once, of greater concern than whether or not ZANU-PF and Robert Mugabe are in power forever. Could this statement further suggest his readiness to depart from the political scene?
Mugabe's acknowledgment of Zimbabwe's problems stopped short of an admission of guilt, however. While quick to take credit for everything that had gone right in Zimbabwe, Mugabe and ZANU-PF have forever been unable to take the blame when their harebrained schemes have backfired.