It must have been perplexing for President Mugabe to read of the Taoiseach’s resignation so soon after he had won another five years in office.
In Zimbabwe the man in charge makes the rules and if they are found to limit his power he can change them. In Ireland the Leader pays lip service to upholding the rules while using everything in his power to get round them. What the heads of both countries have in common is the desire to retain their jobs whatever the circumstances they find themselves in.
Their motivation is simple. They believe it is good for their people that they remain at the helm. Of this they are quite certain. Their people may not be so sure! Any accumulation of assets that accrue to them in the course of their duties are understood to be to assist them in their task of governance – a modest recompense for their vision and enterprise.
The levers of power may be sharper in Zimbabwe with an army and police force on call. In Ireland the available resources are rather less potent consisting of the incumbent’s native wit and a bevy of lawyers.
Of course our Leaders are, to a greater or lesser extent, a reflection of ourselves. It is us who put them there. Our votes kept them in office. At election times there may have been some unorthodox methods used but we end up with a reflection of what we are like.
We want to control others while remaining outside such restraints ourselves. Laws are put in place to take into account these failings. Much human activity is taken up, not with complying but by looking for ways to avoid the law. We need a better moral compass.
One has been provided: For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. What St Paul is saying in his letter to the church at Rome is that through faith in Christ’s death for our sins we can do what no law can make us do – live a new life. This power to live as we ought is available to Mugabe, Ahern, you and me. And it starts with a simple prayer for forgiveness, a request to be changed and to have Jesus as my Leader for life.