Elliot Ziwira Senior Writer
Because of his stance on the land issue, and the need to empower his people, not merely by giving them an electoral voice, but through equitable distribution of the means of production, former President Robert Mugabe was vilified and demonised as a madman, daring the all too powerful West; playing witness, prosecutor, attorney, judge and God, all at the same time.
Notwithstanding his foibles, which is wont of humanity, the revolutionary icon’s dream has always been unity, prosperity and peace for his people as it is this that consolidates economic freedoms enshrined in the struggle that liberated this sod of soil we call Zimbabwe.
When brickbats were thrown his way, and Western gangs waylaid him for his beliefs, and imposed sanctions on the Motherland, Mugabe defied the odds, and ascended to the African Union (AU) throne, much to the chagrin of his detractors; and, indeed the enemies of all the people of colour.
Robert Mugabe could speak, and tread where everyone else dared not, for fear of angering Big Brother, whom they knew to think only of himself and his progenies. Africa needed someone like him, and the continent could redeem itself with such minded Pan-Africanists.
The whipping boys snare that Africa contends with polarised global politics, will not snap as long as revolutionary voices as epitomised by Mugabe are gagged, either through death, threats or fear.
As we reflect on his momentous assumption of the AU reins in 2015 against all odds, we remain mindful that when the wheel of fortune turns in favour of God’s people, the devil always finds ways of throwing spanners in its spokes. It is not difficult to tell that Mother Fortune is nigh, or to discern her charming smile, as it is always reflected on the devil and his incarnates’ frowning faces.
That there were so many ruckuses on the homestretch to the revolutionary son of the soil’s assumption of the AU bridles then, was indicative of a turn of fortunes in Zimbabwe’s favour and Africa’s pride as a sovereign continent. That the brouhaha intensified in smear campaigns to downplay the significance of the Chairmanship from the usual corner of detractors under the tutelage of the United States of America, her progenies and mouthpieces in Zimbabwe and elsewhere, did not only vindicate Zimbabwe’s trajectory enshrined in its socio-economic blueprint, ZIM-ASSET and mirrored in the AU’s Agenda 2063, but clearly sounded the panic knell in the erstwhile imperialistic world.
If it really was a mere ceremonial title, why would the colonially ensconced world make so much noise about former President Mugabe’s appointment to the extent of sponsoring malcontents to draw attention from his hugely popular presence in Zambia, to officiate, as the SADC Chair, at President Edgar Lungu’s inauguration following his victory in the January 20, 2015 by-elections? Was it not a case of a conceited lady of fashion, who ogles about a beautiful and expensive dress on display, and when it is bought and donned by a friend it suddenly becomes ugly and old-fashioned?
The shameless nudity of the Zambia circus to discredit the African revolutionary icon’s presence was in the recalcitrant reportage it received from the private media in Zimbabwe, South Africa and other retrogressive outlets, and not in the host country itself. However, the gargantuan applause, which reverberated in the inauguration venue when the African Union Chair-in-waiting gracefully strode in, could really not have come from mercenary political turncoats.
That really was the voice of Africa; the voice of the oppressed, subjugated, raped and displaced, welcoming the champion of their struggle; the ultimate hero in their dreams of economic freedom and empowerment, and it was this that the sponsored gang decided not to hear or see.
It is true that if a well-wisher or pretender disguised as a friend, pays the bride price for your wife, and is more than 70 percent responsible for her upkeep and that of your children, he calls the tune. Would you really faulty her if she succumbs to his carnal desires or would it be possible for your children to untangle themselves from his labyrinthine snare? But if your wife decides to throw caution to the wind and tell him to take his glossed help to hell to protect her pride and your manly ego, would you also faulty her, considering that she might also be throwing a lifeline to the dungeons? Would that also not consummate your resolve to fend for her and your children without outside interference?
That is the unenviable predicament which Africa finds herself in, and had to decide at whatever cost at the 24th Ordinary Session of its grouping. The AU budget is disturbingly sponsored to the tune of 72 percent by cooperating partners, of which the US and her cronies contribute 60 percent, leaving members to meet the remaining 28 percent. Such a situation is unsustainable for any independent family as it robs it of its sovereignty and gags its voice. The bulk of Malawi’s budget is donor funded, and as a result of that her policies are devoid of the wishes of the Malawian people.
Riding on the wave of such a crest, Zimbabwe’s, and, indeed, Africa’s detractors sought to derail the continent’s train to prosperity through realisation of the true value of her resources, as embodied in Mugabe’s policies and ideological philosophy.
It is rather hypocritical for the West to revoke the issue of the illegal embargo imposed on the Motherland, which is unleashing untold suffering on the poverty-stricken majority, and at the same time disowning the same.
Notwithstanding the predicament of scoffing at glossed aid, the continent’s Heads of State decided to elect their trusted, tested and experienced revolutionary, Robert Mugabe, to steer the African ship to glory. The West may vilify him, demonise him or even crucify him and rubbish whatever he stood for, but the statesman remains an icon and a hero to Africa.
His actions, desires and words were reflective of what the continent yearns for, but have for long pretended not to; for fear of irking Big Brother, who holds the carrot stick. History recorded and recalls, for history is stubborn, that there could never be another Robert Mugabe; one who could tell the African story with fearless conviction, and the alien gangsters from where the sun sets were frettingly aware of it.
That Africa is endowed with vast mineral resources is as true as the fact that the colonial world was developed through their pillage; but sadly the continent remains poor and lies prostrate on the ground as the imperialists rape her willy-nilly.
Western hegemony, which seeks to continue the subjugation of the once physically and emotionally colonised, should be seen as it is — a sugar-coated devil.
Land has always been a people’s pride, and it remains so, because without ownership of it development continues to recede to the horizon. It is the womb to aquatic, mineral, agricultural and other natural resources, which makes it criminal to wish away any struggles for the repossession or simply possession of the land.
History has it on record that colonisation reduced the legitimate owners of the land to subsistent croppers, who barely exist beyond the tag of peasantry, on barren land; with the minority, whose belief in the superiority of their race is legendary, occupying vast tracts of arable land.
In Zimbabwe for instance, colonial laws saw to it that 70 percent of the land belonged to about 4 000 white progenies, and only 30 percent was to be shared among the 13 million blacks, who ironically are the legitimate owners.
In South Africa, 84 percent of the land is still in the hands of the beneficiaries of apartheid, with only 13 percent controlled by the government on behalf of the black majority whose population is more than 50 million, and 1 percent is not clearly accounted for.
It is against this backdrop that Robert Mugabe decided to shame the West in its backyard, especially the British government for reneging on their promise pertaining to the land issue as enshrined in the Lancaster House Agreement, calling the agreement a mere piece of paper, yet there are a lot of such pieces of paper the deceitful hypocrites want Africa to respect; the Pact Colonial between France and the 14 Francophone African countries immediately comes to the fore.
The heinous pact requires the African countries which were formerly colonised by France, to deposit 65 percent of their foreign currency reserves in the French Treasury. The hard to accept fact that these countries have no individual monetary policies as everything is pinned on the CFA franc points to the baneful nature of neo-colonialism, which the continent collectively lambasts as reflected through Mugabe’s appointment to be the face of the struggle for total emancipation and empowerment of the African people.
In his acceptance speech as the AU Chair, the outspoken son of the soil aptly said: “African resources should belong to Africans and no one else. Except those we invite as friends, friends we shall have, yes, but imperialists and colonialists, no. Africa is for Africans, let us sing.”
It is this hard talk that the revolutionary icon, whose values are respected the continent over, as the driving force behind the formation of the Organisation of African Unit (OAU), the predecessor to the AU, that he also chaired between June 2, 1997 and June 8, 1998, which he was vilified for; it is this same talk that he was revered and loved for, and it is, indeed, this candid talk that he used to address Africa’s unfair treatment at world platforms like the United Nations.
Africa has come of age, and gone are the days it is given multiple voices to represent it. The exportation of raw minerals or any other resources should be done away with-value addition and beneficiation should be the new norm.
Whoever wants to trade with Africa should be prepared to meet the continent’s terms, because there is no freedom without ownership of the means of production; impoverished democracy is not what is yearned for, but a better standard of living for the majority in a world where diseases are not manufactured to decimate presumed inferior races; where the mouth always precedes action; where every human being is given a chance regardless of race, creed or nationality; where the so called global village is not hijacked by thieving gangs; where wars are not manufactured to create anarchy and chaos as a way of plundering others’ ancestral resources; where the power of mighty is checked to ungag the voices of the feeble and vulnerable, mutilated, displaced and molested in full view of all and sundry over generations of stoic submission; where the word “terrorism” is not used selectively and where every soul’s dreams are respected.
Such a world is what Africa needs as is manifested in the revolutionary grandmaster and seasoned statesman, whom the West choose to hate, Robert Mugabe, to carry the gargantuan basket of her children’s dreams and aspirations. And when the African story is told there are men, whose names will recur from generation to generation, and one such man is Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
Though he stumbled here and there, like all well-meaning runners, indeed, like all of us, he ran his race well, and set milestones that go a long way in redefining the continent’s aspirations.
Africa has lost one of its strong pillars, and no matter what alien gangsters from where the sun sets say, Robert Mugabe’s legacy for the totality of Independence for the Motherland, and the African continent, as enshrined in the reclamation of land by its rightful owners, lives on.
Go well son of the soil!