OPINION - ROBERT MUGABE, PRESIDENT OF ZIMBABWE
By Jerry Okungu in Nairobi, Kenya
As an African who grew up during the struggle for liberation of many modern states in Africa, it may not be easy for me to discuss Robert Mugabe in the context of his current political inclination and his relationship with powerful western nations like the United States of America and Britain.
If Idid that I would be missing the point and missing out on the big picture all together.
For starters, which Mugabe are we talking about here? Mugabe the freedom fighter, the statesman of his earlier years as a renowned articulate African spokesman or an ageing and ailing Mugabe who rediscovered his revolutionary streak to revolt against neocolonialism in his twilight years?
Let us look at the old and much maligned Mugabe in the context of Tony Blair and George Bush, his most outspoken critics. What do the duo criticize him for? That he has disenfranchised white farmers in Zimbabwe by repossessing tracks and tracks of their land for redistribution to black Zimbabweans. The other charge is that Mugade is an undemocratic tyrant who has repeatedly rigged the elections against the more 'credible' opponents in the eyes of the Western powers.
Let us take the first accusation that he has grabbed white men's farms and given them to his fellow freedom fighters. If my memory does not fail me, the struggle for liberation in Zimbabwe, like Kenya and other British colonies in Africa before it was a struggle to liberate the native and get back land forcibly acquired by the colonial master.
Africans in Zimbabwe, like in Kenya hated the fact that they had to squat in their own ancestral lands just because some white foreigners with guns came and displaced them and turned into farm slaves for a daily loaf of bread.
This colonial strong man mentality did not manifest itself in Africa alone. Indigenous Americans, commonly referred to as the Red Indians, the Asian Sub Continent and the Aborigines of Australia suffered the same fate.
The John Wayne Macho Man syndrome that drove the colonialist to massacre and burn rebellious villagers in the name of new order and new wealth exploitation.
If Mugabe finally forced Ian Smith out of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence(UDI) of Southern Rhdesia and finally forced the then toothless British government to come to the negotiating table, the mere fact that he did not get everything he wanted was no excuse to stop pursuing the ultimate goal for which millions of Zimbbweans lost their lives in the firsat place
In Kenya, the land issue was so lethal that it forced the British government to lend Jomo Kenyatta cash so that Kenyatta could buy White farms for distribution to the landless peasants. For Zimbawe not even this token arrangement was made.
On the issue of Mugabe being branded a tyrant, who is not a tyrant in this day and age? Haven't the Israelis been killing Palestinians in their own homeland for nearly sixty years? Didn't George Bush and Tony Blair lie to the world that Saddam had weapons of Mass Destruction and used terror and firepower to massacre thousands of Iraqis?
Who rigged the elections in Florida in 2000? Was it not George Bush and his Governor brother? A day after the bombing of the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon was a blaze with remnants of the previous event, who was dining out a Saudi Diplomat and Osama Bin Laden's cousin on the veranda's of the White House?
Mugabe may be a tyrant and a despot, but where white tyranny has passed by, nothing is left standing! Better the devil you know, than the angel you are not sure of. Jerry Okungu
- Executive director of Infotrack, marketing and media consultants - Nairobi, Kenya.Comment below and/or discuss this article at: Club Afrika Forums