The world, once again, is casting its eyes towards Zimbabwe, reflecting on the legacy of the man who ruled it for 37 years.
Our culture demands that we speak well of the dead, and some comrades have gone lyrical, heaping praise on late tyrant, factory fault of note, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, as a successful Revolutionary and Pan Africanist.
We are inspired by the book of Proverbs, which correctly says in proverbs 3:31: “Envy not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.” We also find, great inspiration from words of Chinese philosopher and politician of note, Confucius, who says, from his grave; “the beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name”.
Mugabe with the Queen of England with her husband
In giving practical expression to the above quoted injunctions, I have difficulties choosing and envying the legacy of one Robert Mugabe. It is actually a tragedy that Robert Mugabe, who would have been one of the best African revolutionaries turned out to be a factory fault, a brutal dictator who plunged his country into poverty as he trashed the economy, and will be remembered as one of Africa’s worst post colonial disasters, a pan africanist imposter.
A true Revolutionary and Pan Africanist acquire power to better society. But Mugabe’s reign was characterized by murder, bloodshed, torture, corruption, human rights abuses, persecution of political opponents, intimidation and vote-rigging on a grand scale.
A true Revolutionary and Pan Africanist must leave the material condition of society better than he found them. But despite Mugabe inheriting a very strong african economy from the colonialists, he collapsed it. Today, the country has no currency, 5 million Zimbabweans have fled the country and are now victims of xenophobia. No wonder he died in Singapore because nothing is left of Zimbabwe.
A true Revolutionary and a Pan Africanist must have a succession plan, groom and prepare second and third layers of leadership that carries the revolution forward. But Mugabe wanted to rule from the grave, wanted to sexually transmit leadership to his wife.
And above all, eloquently criticising the imperialists in fancy speeches while oppressing his own people the same way the colonialists did does not make Mugabe a Revolutionary and a Pan Africanist. There was no difference between Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe, apart from the colour of their skin.
Therefore, I shed no tears for factory faults. If I have tears, I will shed them for Zimbabweans. It will take time for them to recover from Mugabeism. Even in Zambia, we have not yet recovered from the dictatorship of Kenneth Kaunda.
Never, and never again, should Africa see the likes of Robert Mugabe in positions of power again.
By Yona Musukwa