Weep not for Robert Gabriel Mugabe. He does not need our tears in Africa for he has done his bit. Whether the coup plotters set up a puppet leadership or directly run Zimbabwe, will not change the legacy of this African warrior who spent a decade in White prisons and took to armed struggle to restore our dignity as human beings.
Shed no tears for Mugabe, the uncompromising fighter for justice who demanded that the resources of Zimbabwe and Africa be for us, not the parasites of the “international community”. He sang of freedom, fought that Africa be sovereign and stood at his duty post; a committed African soldier.
Until he led the people to uproot the White Supremacists who boasted that they will be in power for a thousand years, the Blackman counted for nothing in Zimbabwe. Right in our continent, we were priced less than the cow of the White farmer. When the ZANU-PF took over, our people knew what free education is. They knew they could go to the hospital and be treated free. They realised that electricity is not for the oppressors alone. No, weep not for the comrade who acquired seven degrees not because it was his hobby; but there in the White Man’s prison, he had to engage his mind and prepare for a future when independence will come.
Mugabe deserves our praise for insisting that Britain kept to its part of the Lancaster House Agreements by providing funds with which to buy out the Whites who stole our lands. He does not deserve condemnation for leading our people to take back our lands. No, Mugabe did not say the white farmers should be deprived of farms, but insist they can neither be absentee farmers, nor take the chunk. How can we criticise him for insisting on core African values like the rejection of same-sex marriage which will make our ancestors turn in their graves?
The liberation struggle in Southern Africa, was not so must about fighting racism, but a struggle between those who had taken the land, and the landless; it was a fight for decolonisation and social justice. For this, Zimbabweans, unlike our brothers and sisters in South Africa and Namibia, are truly free. Crime is very low in Zimbabwe and very high in South Africa because in the former, the people own the economy but in the latter, they are alienated from their resources and economy.
Years of sabotage, crippling sanctions by the West and drought has taken its toll on Zimbabwe, but how do we blame Mugabe for that? The hirelings and their masters in the West who have shouted themselves hoarse that Zimbabwe under Mugabe was not a democracy, have not shown proof. Mugabe has never seized the ballot nor imposed his will; he has always won the democratic elections, not so much because he is Mugabe, but because he speaks the language of the people and his commitment to them has never been in doubt. On the other hand, the people could distinguish between patriots and puppets who seek to crowd the electoral space with World Bank and IMF jargons and programmes like market forces, trade liberalisation and a sectarian globalisation.
In the 2002 Presidential elections, they cried foul. But I was there. I witnessed one of the freest elections; but the West which was also there, choose to disregard the truth and decided that the elections cannot free. Six years later, they again cried foul and the ZANU-PF led by Mugabe decided in the overall interest of the country to share power with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, even when it knew what they represent.
At the end, the MDC factions in the Unity Government exposed themselves, so in 2013, it was easy for the ZANU-PF to rout them at the polls. This time, the MDC did not even have the strength to challenge the victory in court or ask for another power-sharing arrangement. Having failed so miserably and for so long to win the ballot, the only hope of the opposition getting to power, or the West regaining the initiative in Zimbabwe and recolonising it economically, is through a coup d’etat.
The coup generals, exhibited rare wisdom, when they claimed their coup is not a coup but that they are “only targeting criminals” around Mugabe. So since when have generals become detectives, and judges, who without trial, pronounced political leaders “criminals”?
For 29 years, I lived under military dictatorship in Nigeria. As an adult, I analysed different coups and military regimes in Africa. As a witness to history, I know that military rule is almost, always, a tragedy of unquantifiable proportions. I have read statements by the MDC and some political leaders in Zimbabwe calling on the coup plotters to establish “democracy”. I laugh; how do you ask a man to give you what he does not have? What “democracy” can people who subvert the democratic process and the constitution give?
I pity these politicians for while they may come to power on the back of the military, they may, like a man who rides on a tiger’s back, end up in its belly. Those in Zimbabwean who are egging on the military top brass remind me of the African cow which was happy when being shipped to Europe, only to return as corned beef.
Except for African countries like South Africa and Nigeria that have rejected the unconstitutional seizure of power, the European Union and many countries in the West, rather than reject the coup, are urging for “restraint”. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said his country – which colonised Zimbabwe, created the conditions for racist rule and nurtured that evil system – is “appealing for everybody to refrain from violence” What is a military coup if not the violent overthrow of government? What they are doing is asking Zimbabweans not to resist the violence of the generals.
These people who claim to be champions of democracy, are ready to accommodate, if not encourage the seizure of power in African countries. This is their legacy; seizure of our wealth, enslavement of our people and removal of leaders perceived to be independent or pro-people. That was what they did to Patrice Lumumba in the Congo whom they summarily executed.
So did their fathers do to Muhammed Mossadeg in Iran, Jacobo Arbenz in Guatamala, Salvador Allende in Chile, and the best leader Africa has produced, Kwame Nkrumah, in Ghana. Personally, I thought Mugabe should have handed the mantle to younger leaders long ago, but neither age, nor being in power for long is an impeachable or treasonable offence. This itself will not rub Mugabe of his enviable part in African history. Viva Africa!