Robert Gabriel MUGABE (21/02/1924 – 06/09/2019) Zimbabwean Statesman.
We are on one evening of august 2008 a few months I set feet in what would definitely be my second motherland, Guyana. I am sitting in a hangout spot somewhere in Mahaicony, I am enjoying my favourite caribbean beer, Carib; by my right side is an educated man, an agronomist and veterinarian who turned into local entrepreneurship, Mr Sealey. On my left sitting is a friend of mine, Mr Clinton, who just came from his military detachment. Mr Sealey brings up a discussion topic on leadership in Africa. From his point of view, Africa is entirely corrupt at level where some descendants of slaves would be proud to be brought into the Caribbean. For example, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, “a dictator who made his country’s economy collapse”.
For sometimes I had appreciated discussions with Mr Sealey and found him highly informed on almost any topic of public interest, locally, regionally and internationally. The topic about Robert MUGABE of Zimbabwe made my first discovery. In fact Mr Sealey was dead wrong, or should I say, had been misinformed, or ill-informed, or both. Today, 11 years after, I am sure Mugabe is gone still believed to be the worst beast Africa has been unlucky to have. But why?
Our heroes, their cowards
The end of colonization in Africa was and still is an uneasy task. On one hand, the colonizers couldn’t imagine their way of life after losing what they had built for years, supremacy. On the other hand, Africans had been mentally worked up until they really believed they couldn’t make it out alone, without their former masters. It was the job of the leaders to forge the way forward and to initiate the masses toward that new way of thinking and acting. In many countries, independence was fought for before bringing the colonizers at the negotiation table. Such was the case of Zimbabwe. The former Rhodesia got independent in 1980, twenty years after most of central African countries! And that independence came as a result of blood and sweat of children of Zimbabwe who knew the worth of their nation. MUGABE was among them and came out as a winner. As to those who lost, they never accepted it. While Zimbabweans saw Mugabe as a hero, the former masters portrayed him as a coward.
Mugabe’s most radical approach to land reform cost him a lot. In fact, he realized that the majority of his people had no arable land for even their subsistence while the former masters had millions of acres for exploitation. For him, the independence meant much more than presidency and a government. For having redistributed lands among the ordinary Zimbabweans, Mugabe was called all kinds of names. A big debate has been engaged over whether Mugabe should or shouldn’t have carried out such a reform. Either way, Mugabe would remain the same, not necessarily whom you read in the western media and propaganda outlets, because who we call our heroes might seem their cowards. Mr Sealey agreed with me and another round was ordered.
Uncle Bob is gone. May his soul rest in peace.