Mugabe: The art of building and destroying

Talk of greatness and boldness in fighting off enemies that leave their lands to another man’s place to subjugate him, you easily remember Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

The strong man that battled the white supremacists, colonial masters and robbers to drop their enslavement of the people of Zimbabwe in the 1989 Lancaster House Agreement and later assumed self rule on April 18, 1980 was the last of the original great Africans who valued dignity and uncompromisingly struggled to fight off the intruders.

Capitalizing on the gains of the Scramble and Partition for Africa in Berlin, in 1888, a certain slave master, Cecil Rhodes, sought and got the fiat of his imperialist rulers in England to subjugate the place called Zimbabwe today. It lies south of the River Zambezi and they called it Southern Rhodesia and Zambia to the north of the river was dubbed Northern Rhodesia.

But when the chips were down, Mugabe and his co-fighters including Canaan Banana who ruled alongside him at independence and Joshua Nkomo leader of the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU-PF) and later an opposition to Mugabe’s Zimbabwe Africa Nationalists Union (ZANU-PF) carried the day.

It was just a matter of time before Mugabe proved that whereas he struggled to pull his people free from subjugation, he was just the replacement of the system he fought against and a subjugation himself who later also subjugated not only Zimbabwe, but himself.

It is heart rending that the same man who came to power amid ovation and thunderous jubilation, 37 years after, was coerced to relinquish power and the same jubilation greeted his exit as it did his entry. What Zimbabwe actually did that last Tuesday was rejoicing over their second liberation. The first was from Cecil Rhodes and the Queen of England, and the second this week, from a homegrown colonizer, Mugabe.

Shamefully, Mugabe for the avarice for power made himself a terrible example of a man that built a structure, admired its beauty, benefitted from its existence, and deliberately, used the other hand of his to tear it down.

Mugabe succeeded in tearing himself down from his great height.

In a book I wrote last year, I had argued that a country like Zimbabwe, the second generation independent state of Africa was an economic stillbirth for the fact that the West, using their IMF and World Bank (WB) had commenced railroading all of us into their market economy from 1979. When Zimbabwe was born, without allowing it a foothold, a foundation of structure as a baby, they coerced and bullied even Zimbabwe at birth to drop government-aided welfarism and jump on the market economy bandwagon.

From genesis, the country inherited no economy, possessed none and at last in year 2000, Mugabe, fighting a just war angered the West more by commencing the massive takeover of Zimbabwe farmlands, 80% of which was owned by the whites who were 20% of the population. Because they saw that as affront on their birthright to lord it over Zimbabwe, nay the black race, they all rolled out fully from London and Washington to choke life out of Zimbabwe. Some years ago, it was confirmed that the country had no economy and its currency so worthless that all foreign currencies imaginable became legal tender in Zimbabwe. Mugabe so confused himself that he even printed some single currency notes of 10,000,000 Zimbabwe dollars.

Matters came to a head in 2009 when Mugabe, rigmaroling in his self-imposed quasi lunacy, suspended the national currency and adopted a multiple currency format that currencies of at least 10 countries became legal tender – From the Australian Dollar to Japanese Yen; Chinese Yuan to Indian Rupee; South African Rand to Botswana Pula; US Dollar to the Euro and even the UK Pound Sterling.

To worsen the plight of his country and his people, Mugabe, the destroyer, as he later became, turned a maximum ruler who plundered the resources of his country in the company of his cult members or government officials. While the entire country rolled downhill in crushing penury, Mugabe and his ilk, and including family members basked in avarice, opulence and profligacy.

The last of the shame was a hatched plan for him to hand over power to his wife, Grace, who had persuaded her husband to sack his deputy, Mnangagwa. Mugabe had done that same years earlier when Morgan Tsangirai, the opposition leader who contested election against him was brutalized and labeled a treasonable felon.

So Mugabe carried on confused until the water got into his nose this week

I can say Mugabe was a right man born the wrong time. He came with the genuine intention of the liberators that actualized their dreams of African freedom in the 1950s and 1960s. But when he came with the mind of the great forebears, he was entangled in the megalomania and misrule of the plunderers and brigands that robbed power from the founding fathers in almost all countries of Africa. So Mugabe took their ideology of destruction and lack of value and self worth for Africa identity. That way, the builder turned the bulldozer that demolished what he had built. That is the pitiable story of Mugabe’s transfiguration from the saint to the villain.

When Mugabe fell from the lofty height of the leader, he rather mistook himself for the future.  Instead of grooming the future for Zimbabwe he plunged into the error of forgetting that nobody is ever the future, and that great leaders rather cultivate and nurture the future and that way, they remain in power forever as they transfer the office enriched with their leadership qualities to others after them.

Today, he is gone leaving Zimbabwe in tatters – no economy, no focus, no leadership, no direction of where to go, and this scenario would create an amalgam of confusion from the white minority still sulking over ‘their farmlands’, the West still angling to fully destroy Zimbabwe, power struggles within and the mending of an economy that was totally eroded. So where Zimbabwe goes from here is better imagined.

Unfortunately, this happened in the generation when African countries on their own are weak and on their knees gasping for breath. On the day Zimbabwe’s Independence was celebrated, President Shehu Shagari of Nigeria who witnessed the event pledged and gave the new country $15m assistance from Nigeria, including training experts for the country. Now, things have fallen apart in several ways and all African countries have become slaves of the IMF and World Bank and also seething in their internal decay from corrupt governments. 

You’d rather imagine where Zimbabwe would be now that destroyer Mugabe is forced out. Only tenacity and a resolve to suffer together and build their tomorrow would save Zimbabwe. And while the people of that country would be willing to do that, the economic imperialists should be asked to kindly leave Zimbabwe alone. Let them stay their hands from giving them enslaving handouts called IMF and World Bank loans that further impoverish the people.

Unfortunately, no African leader would take a cue from the disgrace of Mugabe and do something different. In some countries like Cameroon, Uganda etc. some other traitors still parade as leaders.

How I wish they would learn a lesson from the disgraced of Mugabe whose wife is actually Grace.