How did such a thing come to pass? How? For 37 years, one man held Zimbabwe in the palm of his hand and simply refused to let go. For 37 years, the children of Zimbabwe knew no other but the somnolent face of President Robert Mugabe, the 93-year-old fox, the maximum ruler who was determined to sit tight till the end, after which his much-hated wife Grace will take over. But there was a twist in the tale.
For 37 years he kicked and tossed Zimbabwe about like football, while God watched from the spectator stand. On Monday, God finally emerged as the referee, showing Mugabe the red card. Now, it’s all over. Thank God Almighty, Zimbabwe is free again, free to start all over again with the overthrow of this modern day Adam and Eve from this Edenic food basket of Africa now turned into a wasteland. In April 2008, when there was an election crisis involving Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, I wrote a piece which is still relevant. Happy reading!
Z is the last letter of the alphabet. It might as well be the worst. Because Z stands for zany, another word for absurdity of ludicrous proportions.
Z stands for zombie. Z stands for zero. And Z stands for Zimbabwe, the land where a political drama of the absurd is unfolding, the type the legendary singer and political commentator Fela Anikulapo-Kuti would call demon-cracy—demonstration of craziness.
In Zimbabwe, the demon has taken over and what you have is a democracy of zombies, a democracy of the living dead where Zimbabweans are held prisoners under the demonic grip of the old fox Robert Mugabe. The Mugabe who refuses to accept the reality of the expiry date on his political label. The Mugabe who refuses to listen to the sounds of his political death knell. The unsportsmanlike Mugabe who finds it hard to taste the bitter pill of defeat. Mugabe, the veteran fighter finally put down on the canvas, but wouldn’t allow the referee to raise the hand of his conqueror. Instead, he is asking for another fight, he is asking for a rerun of an election whose result he very well knows but would not release.
In Zimbabwe, “the curfew tolls the knell of parting day.” In Zimbabwe, yesterday’s hero is today’s villain who has transformed into a sit-tight tyrant. In Zimbabwe, hope has been eclipsed by the clouds of hopelessness and looming anarchy.
Zimbabwe is the only country on earth where the government in power is accusing the opposition of rigging an election and falsifying figures. It has not happened anywhere else. Zimbabwe’s political plight has bizarre echoes of Nigeria’s June 12 election charade, except that the results were announced before the annulment. And unlike June 12, there is no slightest hint of “stepping aside” on the part of Mugabe who has held on to power for nearly three decades. And he still wants more years in power.
April is the cruelest month as T.S. Eliot was wont to say. For the people of Zimbabwe, this is an “April Fool” of an election. What was the point in asking people to vote when the votes would not reflect their desires and aspirations? Why would the soldiers of Zimbabwe say they would not accept Morgan Tsvangirai, the suspected winner of the unannounced election as their commander in chief? It all smacks of June 12!
From hindsight, Mugabe is what Nigeria would probably have had, if the twisted third term agenda of the Obasanjo era had been perpetrated. Then after third term, there would have been fourth term, then fifth term, then sixth term, until we enter the next world. Thank God for the heroes of our democracy who fought to free our country from the morass of another Zimbabwe ruled by a Mugabe of Nigeria.
Zimbabwe’s tragic story is straight out of George Orwell’s fabled satirical novel, Animal Farm where animals led by pigs staged a revolt and overthrew Mr. Jones, the white farmer and attempted an egalitarian animal republic where “all animals are equal” but some animals ended up being equal than the others.
Today, Zimbabwe is far worse than the old order that used to be called Rhodesia. Zimbabwe, a country with great potentials, a country that used to be the bread basket of South Africa is today the land of hunger with inflation spiraling high to the skies. Today, Zimbabwe is a land of ‘billionaires’ whose wealth is in worthless pieces of papers called Zimbabwean dollars. To buy ordinary bread, you need 50 million Zimbabwean dollars and you need to queue for hours. Mugabe has messed up his country, yet he would rather die in the rot than quit office. The pictures we see today in Zimbabwe are pictures of emptiness. Pictures of hopelessness and despair. Pictures of the ugliness of tyranny. Pictures of zombification of Zimbabweans.
A zombie cannot shout, unless you ask it to shout. A zombie cannot complain, unless you ask it to complain. A zombie cannot fight, unless you ask it to fight. A zombie cannot even cry for freedom, unless you ask it to cry. Zimbabwe under Mugabe has become a land of zombies as Fela will sing in his satiric militant song Zombie.
Talking about music, Zimbabwe used to be a beautiful melody, a beacon of hope once eulogized in songs by the likes of Bob Marley (Zimbabwe) and Stevie Wonder (Jamming). It was Marley who sang that each country has the right to determine its own destiny. Zimbabweans have voted to reject Mugabe but Mugabe has refused to listen to the voice of God and the voice of the people. He prefers to die instead of abdicating power.
In those halcyon days of the liberation movement, Zimbabwe under black rule was expected to usher in peace, progress and prosperity. Zimbabwe could have been another China or India today, if its potentials had been properly managed by a visionary and selfless leader. Mugabe came like rain, with a lot of promise but scorched the land with hunger and famine. He brought fear. He brought suffering. He brought backwardness. Now, he wants to plunge Zimbabwe into civil war and chaos. It’s either he is in control or nobody else.
Z is the last alphabet. Mugabe truly wants to drag Zimbabwe to the last alphabet, to zero, to Ground Zero. Like spectators, the world is just sitting down and watching this horror movie. But the truth is, only Zimbabwe can save itself. It’s up to Zimbabwe to wake up from the secret cult of zombism and free itself from this Animal Farm. Zimbabwe, free yourself now from this expired freedom fighter called Mugabe! (Press Clips, 2008)
From Obiano to Obiayes!
Bravo to all my friends in Anambra State for a successful election. The people have spoken and it’s a BIG Yes for Obiano! That’s the beauty and the majesty of democracy. Let’s hope that the governor will take this victory as a motivation to work harder for the peace, progress and prosperity of Anambra State and its good people.