Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born on 21st February 1924 within the then Zimbabwe. His mother was an educator while his father, who was a carpenter, disappeared mysteriously when Mugabe was ten years aged.
He served as an educator before turning into a fierce critic of colonialism and white minority rule. A reason that he would be jailed for ten years. After emerging from prison in 1974, he led ZANU, a gaggle of liberationists into a revolutionary bush war that culminated in the independence of Zimbabwe, which was then named Zimbabwe in 1980.
He served as prime minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987 then as president from 1987 to 2017 when he was ousted during a coup. He died on 6th September 2019 during a hospital in Singapore. News of his death was reported widely around the world, with the Media predictably divided into different factions in terms of which Image of Mugabe they chose to color.
BBC reported that his status as a hero of the independence movement was overshadowed by the corruption and human rights abuses, which marred his time in power, which his economic policies caused the collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy.
CNN reported that his legacy was built by violence and oppression, while ABC news repeatedly mentioned him as a dictator.
In Africa, televisions were very respectful and offered their condolences to the people of Zimbabwe. TheThe pictures that were painted expose the forces that confront the people of Africa, ultimately influencing the politics and, therefore, the way of life on the continent.
The legacy of Mugabe has been extensively debated throughout the planet, with some people concentrating on what went wrong during his administration while others targeting his activism for the empowerment of black people with several of them arising with phrases like “the west won’t tell us the way to remember him.”
In light of this, an honest analyst will dig deeper into this debate so as to seek out out the type of individuals that fall on either side and what forces from within the continent and from without, all representing different interests on the African continent, have shaped their perspectives.
More scrutiny will make one realize that folks on an equivalent side of the talk may comply with vilifying or glorify him. Still, their perspectives haven’t been formed due to similar experiences or interests.
In this debate on the legacy of Mugabe, submissions are from 6 categories of individuals, namely: the western world, the eastern world, “the progressive Africans,” the Pan Africans, the African hypocrites, and therefore the commoner within the villages and streets of Zimbabwe.
Mugabe’s relationship with the Western world may be a very complicated romance. Initially, he was loathed by the British before 1965 for agitating for independence of Zimbabwe from the grip of colonialists, which led to his arrest and imprisonment by the colonial government in 1964.
The romance would later take a replacement twist in 1965 when Smith, the white prime minister of Zimbabwe, declared independence by issuing a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) without the consent of England. Britain was furious, saying the act treasonous, even going as far as mooting the thought of military intervention. British argued that they didn’t want to grant independence to a colony, with a majority of the population (blacks) not able to take over leadership of a newly independent country.
They, however, ended up turning to Robert Mugabe, who was in prison also as other liberationists. When he emerged from prison in 1974, he had the goodwill of the British to fight against Ian Smith’s racist government, which he defeated in 1979, resulting in the declaration of independence in 1980. At now, Mugabe was hailed within the same vein as Mandela by the western world who turned a blind eye when he cracked down on dissent within the Ndebele land where it’s reported that between 2000 and 20000 people were killed.
Michigan state university (1990), University of Massachusetts (1986), and University of Edinburgh (1994), all awarded him with honorary degrees of laws. At the height of this romance in 1994, he was given a state banquet in Buckingham Palace, where her majesty queen Elizabeth bestowed upon him an honorary knight commander of the bathtub, which entitled him to use the letters KCB.
This romance turned bitter in 2000 when he decided to implement land reforms as agreed within the Lancaster house agreement of 1979 between Mugabe’s ZANU and, therefore, the British. Mugabe argued that the willing buyer willing seller policy had not worked, because whites weren’t ready to abandoning of the land, prompting him to ask his supporters and veterans of the liberation war to occupy the white-owned farms by force without compensation, in what Mugabe termed as correcting a historical wrong where blacks were to require back what originally belonged to them. For this decision, Mugabe paid a critical price.
The western world condemned him as a dictator and African despot. They went ahead to strip him off of his knighthood and revoked all honorary degrees conferred on him by western universities. They also sponsored his enemies, to whom he vowed never to offer the leadership of Zimbabwe. The west issued a travel ban against him to most of the western world.
Worst of all was the economic sanctions that were imposed on him, his family, critical members of his party, and significant Zimbabwean businesses, which plunged Zimbabwe’s economy into a crisis to the extent that at one-point inflation peaked at 79.6 billion you bored with 2008.
When Mugabe was faraway from power during a coup of 2017, celebrations within the western world would only later be eclipsed by those following his death in 2019 where many whites came up with phrases like “another dictator has bitten the dust,” “may his soul rest in hell,” “he died 95 years too late” and lots of other despicable statements.
In the end, the western world painted a picture of his legacy that comes from the attitude of the bitterness of being betrayed by their former lover, who instead chose to fight for the interests of black people in the least costs.
The second group that has been debating his legacy are those labeled the progressive Africans by the western world. These black Africans genuinely mean well for Africa. They’re very educated and boast fluency within the languages of the man, which they speak with incredible pride while laughing at anyone who makes one mistake while speaking an equivalent expression.
They passionately follow what happens within the western world with great admiration. They dream of each day once they can visit the united kingdom, US, France, etc. they modify their haircuts, dressing styles, walking styles, and sometimes their accents to match those within the western world.
They form NGO’s and solicit for funds from the western world through lies that they’re trying to assist their people while the reality is that they have money to spend on mimicking life within the world of the west like basking on beaches, dancing in nightclubs, and buying expensive wines to toast in expensive celebrations, while wearing costly artificial buttocks imported from the western world.
One by one, they’re starting to accept the LGBT agenda because the western world has done. Due to their education, they qualify to occupy government jobs where they engage in massive corruption, which they then blame on their leaders then engage in political activism to get rid of them.
These “progressive Africans” mean well in their opinions, but in fact, they’re during a deep psychological state like most of the people on the continent. Their ancestors were stripped of all dignity by centuries of slavery and later colonialism, which ultimately disrupted their order of life.
“The progressive African” therefore inherited no influential culture from his forefathers and has consequently adopted the one he was given by the western world, whose identity he tries such a lot to represent. They need no place for other Africans who seek to deepen original African values and consider them as retrogressive. This category, too, has predictably vilified Mugabe as a backward dictator and racist who destroyed Zimbabwe.
The third category that has weighed in on the talk is that the African hypocrites. These have operated at the very best levels of our society and thus understand these forces alright. They need access to information which most others cannot access. They need to read files about slavery and colonialism, which have previously been classified.
They have been involved in high-level meetings and signed documents to ratify protocols and economic policies that are exploitative to the African continent. They understand the agendas behind wars on the continent and who is behind this agenda. They feel sorry, but their personal ambitions heavily compromise them.
They are high-level officials in our governments. A number of them are heads of state, while most are opposition politicians, prominent journalists, and senior members of Civil Society Organizations. The leaders of the country during this category like better to play it cool and avoid angering what Mugabe termed “the self-appointed prefects of our time” lest they commit political suicide like Mugabe.
The opposition politicians want to profit from the political and economic clout of the west, meaning that they need to tread their paths carefully. This third category is exceptionally bright and can do anything to stay themselves in good standing with those at the highest of “the world political food chain.”
This has prompted this category to react differently, counting on their interests. Most opposition politicians who always court the west have vilified Mugabe just to stay themselves within the good books of the western world.
Most prominent journalists and senior members of the Civil Society Organizations have cleverly refused to state their side, by only highlighting his positives and negatives and leaving it at that, while a couple of hypocritical heads of state who wish to play it cool have mostly offered their condolences because it is in African culture, and refused to launch deep into the talk.
The fourth group that has weighed in on the talk are the Pan Africans. These are a rare breed in modern Africa. Their ideology has been chocked by dangerous weeds, namely “the progressive Africans” and, therefore, the “hypocrites” who still betray their people. Nevertheless, the Pan Africanists have tried to be vocal during this debate, especially on social media, with only a few managing to urge their views aired by prominent media houses.
Heads of state who dwell this category might not be as vicious or nearly as radical because of the late Robert Mugabe. Still, they released statements glorifying him, with some attending the official government burial function on 14th September 2019.
Pan Africanism may be a rare quality among the latest opposition politicians. This is often why Julius Malema, the leader of Economic Freedom Fighters, a party in South Africa may be a rare pearl that has got to be treasured by all black South Africans who are still seeking for true independence.
During this month, when two significant events have much tested the strength of the spirit of Pan Africanism, Malema scored 100% on both occasions. The first event was the xenophobic attacks of black South Africans on their fellow blacks from other African countries.
Mr. Malema reacted brilliantly by calling a news conference and uttered the following words to fellow black Africans: “find it in your hearts to forgive us. We are sorry. We are ashamed. Forgive us. We come from a traumatic past and that we are still struggling to seek out ourselves. The oppressors, who control our minds, are those who have instilled in us the hatred of our brothers and sisters. they need to tell us we are better than the remainder of the continent.”
The second event was the death of Robert Mugabe. His response to the present was him and his party organizing a memorial service in honor of the fallen revolutionary. At the ceremony, Malema declared thus:
“for goodbye, we’ve been told by the man who we should always and will not celebrate. Murderers like former president de Klerk are honored and given Nobel Prizes while we are told that we should always not celebrate our black revolutionaries like Robert Mugabe… they will keep their de Klerk, we’ll keep our Mugabe.”
This category has defended Robert Mugabe as a revolutionary icon, founding father of Zimbabwe and Pan Africanist within the mold of Samora Machel, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Kaunda, and Mandela.
The Eastern world, too, led by China and Russia also weighed in on the talk. They sent their envoys to attend the official burial in Harare. They were filled with praises for Robert Mugabe. The Image they painted was that of a hero. This is often because Mugabe was an enemy of the western world, which automatically made him a lover and ally of the Eastern world.
The last category that weighed in on the talk is that the folk within the villages of Zimbabwe and people on the streets of its towns. These people are sincere. They are doing not claim to understand tons about what happens within the secret halls where those with power reside and make decisions, but they need opinions too.
They are mostly concerned about their daily needs like food, shelter, water, electricity, etc. and therefore, the second half of Mugabe’s reign, these were briefly supplied. They are doing not care about the complications that their leader must have had to affect due to sanctions or anything. For them, their needs must be met.
In the debate, most of them chose to be honest that they suffered tons during the depression. A number of their people died of hunger and preventable diseases in their thousands, which led to a decline in their anticipation. As is an African tradition, however, they never spoke ill of the dead and instead were quick to supply their condolences.
As the above analysis shows, the real legacy of Robert Gabriel Mugabe has been to show these forces of interests that always influence affairs on the continent. Africans must make an accurate diagnosis of those forces to return up with a precise prescription that will secure the longer term of Africa with a nation whose identity and success is decided by Pan African forces and not the effects of people from anywhere else.
In this great debate, however, those who will ultimately win aren’t those who are right but those who are audible and persuasive enough.
Analysis by Nyarthur.