By Nomusa Garikai- There is overwhelming evidence out there to show Nelson Madiba Mandela was a visionary leader his greatest legacy to South Africa is a stable democratic system of government.
On the other hand, Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the very epitome of a cursed leader; corrupt, incompetent and a murderous tyrant; whose legacy is the Banana Republic of Zimbabwe. The two leaders are poles apart, it is hard to see how anyone could ever confuse them. John Kamau not only confused the two but even has the murderous tyrant, Mugabe, as a hero!
“Forget what you may have read in Western press about the late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Forget the propaganda and Western hate. Forgive the excesses of his rule – human rights abuse and extremes that could run from Cairo to Timbuktu. But on land policy, Mugabe was right. Yet he was vilified for that,” wrote Kamau.
“Had he done nothing on the white-owned farms and left them intact, he would be ranked by Western media alongside Nelson Mandela.”
This is just the renting of a village idiot arguing that people must forget the danger to life posed by swimming in a dam teaming with hungry crocodiles and focus on benefit of the cooling swim! Of course, it is foolish!
Robert Mugabe cared about absolute power and the influence and wealth it brought him. In his search for absolute power he did not hesitate to ride roughshod over the ordinary people, denying them their basic freedoms and rights including the right to a meaningful say in the governance of the country and even the right to life.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been in decline ever since 1980 when the country gained her independence. Today, a staggering 49% of Zimbabweans are living in abject poverty and living alongside them are the country’s filthy rich ruling elite and their cronies.
The worldwide corona virus pandemic has hit Zimbabwe very hard as it found the nation in economic ruins and its health care service collapsed after decades of gross mismanagement, rampant corruption and rank lawlessness that had seen the country regarded a pariah state and shunned by investors. To rub salt into the open wounds of the impoverished majority the thieving ruling elite have been looting corona virus donations.
“Auditors noted systematic abuse of funds, including how fake names, identity documents and mobile phone numbers were used in the grant looting scheme in which $890 million may have been stolen,” reported New Zimbabwe the other day.
“The audit was funded by World Bank (WB) and it focused mainly on how Covid-19 relief funds were disbursed, management of quarantine centres and isolation centres, among other issues.”
This is not an isolated incident; a few weeks ago, the Auditor General reported that only 1% of the cash and materials donated to help victims of the 2019 Cyclone Ida reached the intended, the rest was looted or otherwise wasted.
The people of Zimbabwe have watched the country go to the dogs and were helpless to stop the rot because Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies have rigged the elections starting with the 1980 elections. Zimbabwe is a de facto one-party, Zanu PF, dictatorship. Mugabe has murdered over 30 000 Zimbabweans in his 37 years in power to establish and retain the dictatorship.
Mugabe was finally booted out of office following a palace coup in 2017 and his former henchman, Emmerson Mnangagwa took over. Zimbabwe is still a Banana Republic, a pariah state, or be it under new management.
The Mugabe ethos of seeking absolute power and demand the lion’s share of the nation’s wealth is born out of the belief that as the nation’s liberation heroes he and his cronies are entitled to whatever they wish. Sadly, this ethos has permeated from the top right down to the bottom; even the village head is as keen as mustard to demonstrate their loyalty to Zanu PF and, in return, wield their power and authority as befitting the tyrant.
Uprooting the Zanu PF dictatorship mentality will take generation if at all it is ever accomplished. The country has far too many tyrants and dictators who having tasted power are addicted to it and will not want to give it up.
“Mandela failed to address the land inequity in South Africa, even when goodwill was on his side. Mugabe decided to give it a shot,” continued Kamau.
“In his lifetime, especially at the tail-end of his rule, Mugabe was the most maligned president in Africa for doing what was right, on land, for his people.”
Even if one was to follow Kamau’s advice and ignore all Mugabe’s economic, social and political shortcomings and focus on the land issue; Mugabe’s handling of the issue is a total disaster.
Mugabe did not embark on his land redistribution until 2000, 20 years after the country’s independence. Up until then, Zimbabwe produced enough food to not only feed her people but to be the breadbasket of the region and earned a fortune from such cash crops as tobacco. It is no exaggeration to say the agricultural sector was the engine of Zimbabwe’s booming economy.
Within a few years of Mugabe starting his land redistribution, the country’s agricultural production collapsed and with it the economy. Zimbabwe has lost the breadbasket of the region accolade to gain mocking basket case of a failed state, depending on donated food aid. in society.
Whilst other nation have turned deserts into blooming orchards, we in Zimbabwe are starving in a land which for all intent and purposes is the Biblical Garden of Eden; a damning testimonial in failed national leadership!
The reason why Mugabe started his land redistribution 20 years after independence is obvious; by then he was running out of loot to dish out to his ever demanding and wasteful cronies and the only other resource of value left was land. He knew giving away the land to his cronies would damage the agricultural production and with it the economy because his cronies would be wasteful, as with everything else. He still went ahead regardless because all he cared about is retaining his cronies’ loyalty and with-it political power.
Robert Mugabe was a corrupt, incompetent, vote rigging and ruthless and murderous tyrant and, which is often forgotten, a consummate racist. Everything Mugabe did or said was calculated to prove that blacks are not inferior to whites and so one can only imagine how he must have felt when a few years after independence his promise of mass prosperity, “Gutsa ruzhinji!” as he called it, was slowly but surely turning into mass poverty.
The total economic collapse following the farm seizures in 2000 to 2008 turned Zimbabwe into a failed Banana Republic and confirmed Mugabe’s position as just another corrupt, incompetent and murderous African dictator. Mugabe’s response was to blame the west for all Zimbabwe’s misfortune.
Mugabe’s vitriolic anti-white diatribe became the high point at the UN General Assembly and all international forums in which he was given half a chance to speak. He had a ready-made audience in all Pan-African blacks who had a grievance against the whites dated back to the days of slavery!
Mugabe’s anti-white rhetoric was shadow boxing, particularly blaming the west for Zimbabwe’s economic collapse when it was as clear as day that mismanagement and corruption were the real causes.
The seizure of the former white owned farms was accompanied by gratuitous violence against the white farmers to please his naïve and gullible Pan-Africanists. They did not notice or did not care that the gratuitous violence against the white farmers was a prelude to violence against all Zanu PF’s critics and political opponents who were all accused of siding with the whites and the west in opposing the party’s land redistribution.
As far as Mugabe and his Zanu PF regime was concerned all those demanding free, fair and credible elections and meaningful democratic change were seeking one thing and one thing only regime change so they can reverse Zanu PF’s land redistribution. Of course, it is nonsense that Zimbabwe only one issue on the national agenda – land.
As it happened, Zanu PF’s land redistribution was a disaster for the nation for it triggered the collapse of the agricultural sector and with it the economy and since the country is a dictatorship in which whatever Zanu PF’s ruling elite decree is law, the nation was stuck with the failed system.
Nelson Mandela gave South Africa a healthy and functioning democracy; the nation has successfully held free, fair and credible elections; and so if the majority of South Africans are not happy with the nation’s land policies or any other issue, they can vote for leaders with alternative policies.
If Nelson Mandela had tackled the country’s thorny land issue and came up with a perfect solution but left the country’s a weak and feeble political system in which corrupt, incompetent and murderous tyrants ruled the roost, then the chances are they would have reversed Mandela’s good policies by now. And so, securing a healthy and functional democratic system of government for SA was a wise decision befitting of the visionary leader.
It pays in the end to get the best in the beginning, especially when it comes to national leaders who legacy for good or bad will last for generation; this is clearly something the naïve, gullible and myopic African nationalists and their fanatical followers have never ever understood!
“On land, Mugabe walked path other African leaders would not!” Yes, but look where he landed Zimbabwe!