Will Mugabe be toast with Trump next?

US President Donald Trump is on a five country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. (Andrew Harnik, AP)
US President Donald Trump is on a five country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. (Andrew Harnik, AP)

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe seems to have sealed his own fate.

He got rid of his loyal vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, in order to clear the way for his wife, Grace, to become the president in waiting. By doing so, he pushed the side of the presidential bubble he has lived in for nearly forty years too hard and it burst.

He and his family are now under house arrest. The best-case scenario is that he now resigns and new national elections are held. In the meantime, there could be an interim government of national unity.

On the other side of the world, US President Donald Trump has another kind of problem. With the bursting of the Harvey Weinstein bubble in Hollywood, powerful people can no longer expect serial abuse of young women to be kept secret or be overlooked in some way.

The needle of ethical conduct has created such huge momentum in the re-perception of what is proper and what is not that it is destroying reputations and careers all over the place.

If the Weinstein bubble had burst at the same time last year, it is extremely likely that Trump would have had to bow out of the presidential race after his conversation in a caravan had been revealed. He used such disgusting language about women and how power could make them do anything, that I cannot repeat his exact words. I would have to use asterisks.

He now faces a huge dilemma. He is sitting on the fence about the possible removal of Roy Moore as an Alabama Senate nominee in the forthcoming special election in December. Moore has been accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with teenage girls when he was assistant district attorney in his early 30s.

If Trump backs the removal of Moore, who fervently denies the allegations, people will ask the same about him. He says all the women who came forward with the same accusation during the presidential election were lying; as does Moore. Trump's only response can be that he knows he is telling the truth about his past behaviour whereas he cannot be so certain about Moore. That seems to be a very flimsy answer in light of his recorded comments in the caravan.

If he does not back the removal of Moore, that speaks for itself. So either way he is caught in a trap.

Once a flag goes up changing the game – in this case where the border lies between the acceptable and unacceptable treatment of women by men – the game is over for many of the players who were playing according to the previous rules. Trump falls into that category according to his own words.

Bill Clinton, if he were president today, would certainly now be impeached by Congress and have to resign for his behaviour towards Monica Lewinsky, amongst others. Trump may face the same consequences and, rather like Nixon with the Watergate tapes, wish he had never been recorded saying what he did.

Who will be the next piece of toast as a result of straying outside the conventional rules of the political game or being found guilty of sexual misconduct, or both? Mugabe and Trump may be leading the race for the toaster, but there are surely others on the way. Keep your eyes wide open like the fox.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

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