If you ask me, now that the 93 year old Robert Mugabe has finally resigned as President of Zimbabwe, one could be forgiven for expecting things to improve for this once fabulous country; that there is now hope for Zimbabwe. However, my advise is don’t get your hopes up.
Indeed, I am totally, and unapologetically, quite pessimistic about the change in power. Why do you ask? I am pessimistic because the man, set to replace Mugabe, is 75 year old Emerson Mgnangagwa who has been an ‘apprentice’ of Mugabe ever since the 1970s. I fear that Zimbabwe has simply replaced one tyrant with another. I hope that I am wrong, but there are very few examples of good government anywhere in Africa and Zimbabwe’s political history has always been one of corruption, intimidation and murder.
But TAB! (That’s Africa, Baby.)
So will Emerson Mgnangagwa be the man to restore Zimbabwe to it’s former prosperity and peace? He says that is his goal and he has even released a statement, in which he said: “My desire is to join all Zimbabweans in a new era, where corruption, incompetence, dereliction of duty and laziness, social and cultural decadence is not tolerated.” These are fine words and, if true, could be just want the country needs. Indeed, recovery and restoration of Zimbabwe is important to all of Africa; especially when so many misguided politicians, in South Africa, want to emulate Mugabe’s tragic policy of stealing white land and murdering white South Africans. If Mgnangagwa is true to his word, the pay-off could be huge for all Africans. Only time will tell if the tragedy of Mugabe’s Zimbabwe has finally come to an end.
The real tragedy of Zimbabwe’s recent history is that Zimbabwe is a truly beautiful country, populated by a largely happy and welcoming people and with lots of natural beauty and resources to share. Zimbabwe was once the ‘bread basket’ of Southern Africa and not only fed itself, very well, but fed many other African nations, too. Zimbabwe had all the makings of a huge African success story, that is till the true nature of Mugabe’s reign came to light. If that statement sounds like it comes from someone who loves Zimbabwe, and who has been bitterly disappointed in the outcome of Mugabe’s rule, then you would be 100% correct. It has been my sincerest hope, for several decades now, that Zimbabwe would one day rid itself of the tyrant, and his henchmen, but a happy solution has proved very elusive.
So now that he has been forced to stand down, what will become of Robert Gabrielle Mugabe? Should he be allowed to live a peaceful retirement, either in Zimbabwe or elsewhere in the world where he has stashed his ill-begotten millions? Some recent news reports and articles have portrayed Mugabe as a freedom fighter who, after becoming president, has lost his way in recent years. The truth is much different as Mugabe is a murderous tyrant and he has been that way from the very beginning.
At the end of the Rhodesian era, when the white government of Ian Smith proposed a power sharing arrangement with black leaders, it was Mugabe and his ZANU party who objected to the first round of elections and, after convincing England and Australia to declare the results of the first election as tainted and invalid, Mugabe made sure that he did not lose the next round of elections; Mugabe’s strategy of rigging elections and intimidating voters began from this time. Mugabe’s election tactics seem to have always been based upon the quote, by his erstwhile sponsor Mao Zedong, that ‘power comes out of the barrel of a gun.’
Following his rigging of this first election, there were many years of friction between his ZANU party and the ZAPU party of Joshua Nkomo. While there were a number of reasons for this friction, at the heart of the matter was the fact that ZANU were primarily Shona and ZAPU were primarily Ndebele; it would seem that white African governments did not have the monopoly on racism.
When Mugabe finally decided to move against Nkomo’s ZAPU party, and Joshua Nkomo was forced to flee for his life, Mugabe also unleashed the North Korean trained Fifth Brigade against the people of Ndebeland in southern Zimbabwe. Estimates vary but between 20,000 and 40,000 Ndebeles were murdered by the Fifth Brigade. There are rumours of old gold mine shafts being stuffed with the dead bodies of those murdered by Mugabe’s henchmen. What is also worrying is that the new President, Emerson Mgnangagwa, was in charge of internal security at the time of this atrocity and it is hard to believe that he wouldn’t also have Ndebele blood on his hands.
While Zimbabwe did manage to prosper, between Independence and the 2000 Referendum, it was despite the corruption and greed of Mugabe and his henchmen. However, when the people voted against extending Mugabe’s power, in the 2000 Referendum, Mugabe then embarked upon the murder and intimidation that has been the hallmark of Zimbabwe ever since. These crimes against humanity have not been limited to the expulsion of while farmers and far more black Zimbabweans have suffered from Mugabe’s policies. Just as Hitler, in the closing stages of WWII, decided that the German people had failed him and did not deserve to live, Mugabe set out to punish the people of Zimbabwe for opposing his power grab. Indeed, Mugabe has described himself as as a ‘black Hitler’ which sounds more like a confession and not just an idle boast.
So should Mugabe be allowed to live in peace? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Mugabe should be held accountable for the mass murder that he inflicted upon the Ndebele people in the 1980s and for the murder, torture and theft perpetrated against both white and black Zimbabweans since 2000. Mugabe is nothing more than a criminal and should be treated as such. It is the responsibility of the world community to seek out justice for this monster and maybe that will be the only good outcome of this change of leadership – that Mugabe might now be held accountable.