Okello Oculi’s (piece) entitled:MUGABE SHAMES TSVANGIRAI AND WESTERN BACKERS in the Daily Trust of Friday, 09 August 2013 was more of a heat rather than the illuminating light on the worsening democratic process in Zimbabwe. The shame of the Zimbabwe is not “TSVANGIRAI AND WESTERN BACKERS”. Africa’s shame is reading for the 7th time that one Robert of 18th April 1980 has succeeded Mugabe (read; Robert Mugabe) in August 2013, (33 years after) as the President of a country of 13.7 million people.
Yours comradely together with other African compatriots stormed the British Consulate in 1979 in an ABU students mass action demanding for the immediate independence of Zimbabwe and British respect for the popular votes for ZANU led by Robert Mugabe against colonial oppressors led by the late Ian Smith and his Western backers. We did participate in that singular historic legitimate protest for the liberation of Zimbabwean peoples not for an enthronement of a Mugabedom led by a “King-Kong” Mugabe. Even for an unelected monarch 33years is a long reign! 33years of sorrow, tears and blood under the reign of Mugabe is even a double jeopady.
Mugabe is the real shame of the continent for leaving Zimbabwe with political no-choice like Morgan Tsvangirai who is half his age having presided over the political and virtual demise of veritable contenders and great names like Joshua Nkomo, Herbert Chitepo, Josiah Tongogara, Ndabaningi Sithole, Abel Muzorewa, Edgar Tekere, Byron Hove, Margaret Dongo etc. I am surprised that my teacher, Okello Oculi who taught us the virtues of objectivity in social inquiry explained Mugabe’s woes in terms of some conspiracy theories nurtured by the West. It was not Africa that knighted Robert Mugabe in the 90s but Mrs Thatcher’s UK for implementing Structural Adjustment Programme(SAP) which pushed Zimbabwean millions into poverty under the spell of neo-liberal policies of devaluation, downsizing and subsidy removal favoured by the West. It was a regime of Mugabe’s imposed sanctions against his own people by his Western backers. And that was well before the politically motivated and self perpetuating strategy of land reforms. By the way who
perpetrated the atrocities in the Matebele land in the 90s with the notorious brutality of the North Korean Fifth Brigade and of course with his Western backers?
Of course it was Mugabe who shamed the continent killing opposition members and bullying them into submission rather than engaging them for political consensus.
What should worry us is that independent African states courted sanctions not to make a case against sanctions for bad political behaviour such as serial Mugabe’s brigandage. It is delightful from Okello’s account that President Obasanjo was not an observer after all but an active participant in a process characterised by permanent ethnic majorities, voter fatigue and voter apathy and limited political choices. But assuming President Obasanjo’s claim that the election was “fairly fair” was true, was the outcome that permanently produces Mugabe as a permanent winner in country of over 13 million people fair?
Indeed we are all diminished to be beginner-witnesses to Zimbabwe’s story periodically alternates between some trilling comedy and scaring tragedy or both, tragi-comedy. Yours sincerely thought I had gotten it right when I proclaimed Mugabe as history following 29th March 2008 polls in which the opposition won as many as 105 seats in the 210-seat parliament, leaving ZANU-PF with 93 seats. Watching the 89year old President casting his votes again in an apparent no- contest election (opposition was I’ll prepared ), it was clear that as far as Mugabe was concerned, it was not yet the end of history as we knew it with great statesmen of honour such as Nelson Mandela, President Sam Nujoma of Namibia and President Kennet Kaunda who
knew when to bow out when the political ovation was loud. As a matter of fact, as far as Robert Mugabe is concerned, it is the beginning of history of sheer profanity and brigandage for which he’s fully prepared. He is even audacious to declare himself as the best from the continent just as Idi Amin once self awarded himself the conqueror of the West. But history has it to the discredit of the duo that they oppressed their respective peoples than they irritated the West.
Nobody has ever polarized the Africa continent than Mugabe . It was either for (in support of the land reform) or against Zimbabwe (for free and fair elections). No thanks to the combined forces of Tony Blair/ George Bush who concealed their racist uncritical support for few white land owners opposing land reform while remaining hard on politics of free and fair elections. But today Tony Blair/ George Bush had left the scene, leaving Mugabe in political isolation. Former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, the global surviving moral force, once aptly described the unfolding events in Harare as manifestation of tragic leadership failure. Nothing could be more perceptive. Mandela did not elaborate on this but we can imagine that with respect to Zimbabwe, failure of leadership is not peculiar to Robert Mugabe which is crystal clear anyway. The ambiguity, complicity and duplicity of Africa Union to Zimbabwe underscores failed leadership at continental level. The ambiguity of the likes of Obasanjo is clearly understandable. With all its imperfections, Zimbabwe elections are certainly better than Nigeria’s elections under Obasanjo.
Issa Aremu mni