By Tendai Chabvuta | Follow his Blog |
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is gone. A lot of mixed emotions from many and rightly so because the man was an embodiment of all that was good and all that was evil. Opinions about his service to Africa, the world and Zimbabwe differ with such polarizing feelings its perplexing.
The MDC and Nelson Chamisa are at their tethers not knowing how to respond to his death. In one breath they say he is a hero, in one they lament his rule. ZANU PF and Emmerson Mnangagwa reportedly are all about capturing his legacy so that they can defend theirs and for them the best thing to do is have them bury and prevail over his funeral at the Heroes Acre.
Debates and controversy rage about where old Bob is supposed to be laid to rest. I have my issues with Robert Gabriel Mugabe and I will lay it out. Mugabe wants to be controversial, divisive and unruly even in death. It will not happen and he cannot be allowed to do that. One thing that is very clear though is that to begin unraveling him, his remains must be interred at his Heroes Acre that he built with his comrades and foisted on Zimbabweans.
Why Zimbabweans and Africa think Mugabe is their hero?
(i) Armed struggle against racist colonialism
Robert Gabriel Mugabe fought a long mental and physical battle with the racist British colonial empire alongside his fellow comrades in ZANLA and ZIPRA. That cannot be taken away from him. This part of his history makes endeared to Zimbabweans and most Africans.
This part of the history makes Mugabe endeared to most Africans. They see their own struggles through Mugabe. Look at Sam Nujoma, Thabo Mbeki, Julius Malema, Somalis, Yoweri Museveni and many other Africans. But we see through them and their hypocrisy. Theirs is not just empty veneration for the man. They had and have their own bones to chew with colonialists and evoking Mugabe raises sentiments. It is not really about Zimbabwe or Mugabe anymore.
Up to now i find it difficult to reconcile and accept that these racist white British colonialists could keep Mugabe and some of his colleagues in prison for so long. They even had the nerve to prevent him from attending his first son’s funeral. Allegations run high as well that they tortured and castrated him. Some of these things are unforgivable and so when people rally behind Mugabe people will understand where we are coming from.
(ii) Land repossession
Robert Gabriel Mugabe went after white people and confiscated much prized land from them in Zimbabwe. If you ask me, I would say this was one of the best things that ever happened to Africa. This was a revolution of gigantic proportions.
People want to talk about the violence that engulfed the whole land reform process and how chaotic it was. But come on, there isn’t a revolution that has ever been clean and without violence of sorts. The land had to be repossessed and we can discuss until Mugabe comes back to life about how the process was to be carried out.
To have gone to war and not taken the land would have been a real betrayal of the armed and liberation struggle. Let’s not lie to each other and give the land repossession exercise any other names like reform blab la, it was repossession period! Mugabe prevailed over it, and if one doesn’t like it then well that’s a story for another day.
(iii) Progressive Domestic social policies after independence
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is lauded for introducing free education in Zimbabwe soon after independence. The likes of Lovemore Madhuku have gone to town about it arguing that without him it would not have been possible for his parents to send him to school.
Massive education of the black child happened in Zimbabwe and the results are there for everyone to see in Zimbabwe. Mugabe was an intellectual and understood the need for mass education. Zimbabweans love him for this and Africa follows suit.
(iv) Mugabe dared to speak against the white race
Mugabe dared to speak against the West (read white people) in ways that no one could ever imagine. After Thomas Sankara, Samora Machel and Kwame Nkrumah not many African leaders knew so how much to prod the white race in the right place so as to put them in their places and stop meddling in Africa’s affairs. Mugabe knew eloquently how to do this by touching on subjects considered sensitive by the white race – homosexuality, land and other related matters.
As it was and still is, most Africans would rather believe that they homosexuality in all its forms is a white man’s problem but they will not dare speak out for fear of being whipped into line by donors and being deemed not politically correct.
Mugabe did it for them and for that they revered and still adore him. Mugabe is that guy who had the guts to tell Tony Blair and all the English to keep their England and he would keep his Zimbabwe. That made a lot of people who had beefs with the white man to be happy as they had found a spokesman for their own issues.
Mugabe misunderstood his position and thought Zimbabwe’s was his mother’s backyard
There are so many other instances that Mugabe’s actions could have been deemed heroic by Zimbabweans and most Africans. However, what must be made clear in all these heroic matters listed above is that Robert Gabriel Mugabe should have known that public service as the Prime Minister or President of Zimbabwe did not give him carte blanch rights to pillage and abuse Zimbabweans because he had fought the liberation struggle etc.
In fact, if that is his argument, you then hear today most young people saying that Mugabe is not the only person who fought in the liberation struggle and must not distort history in that manner. In fact the jest these days is that if these liberation heroes want to punish Zimbabweans because they fought in the liberation war then they can as well go and tie the country back and the youths will go to fight again.
The story that is sold to us is that Mugabe was benevolent and he provided education, health facilities etc. in his early days. It is as if he was doing Zimbabwe a favor and yet people forget that the Prime Ministership or the Presidency is a job with clear deliverables. He had to work and produce results and I refuse this argument that he tried. What does that even mean – he tried?
This is exactly what people like Desmond Tutu, Pius Ncube, Hugh Masekela, Oliver Mtukudzi, John Sentamu refused to accept about Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s role in Zimbabwe’s post independent state. Mugabe wanted to take people for a ride and behave as if Zimbabwe was his personal or mother’s playground. That could never be and that must be debunked through and through.
Mugabe plundered and destroyed Zimbabwe and nothing can atone for that
Rampant and state sanctioned Corruption soon after independence
What needs to be understood is that Robert Gabriel Mugabe was a megalomaniac who would do anything to retain power. Stories are told about how he wittingly and ruthlessly decimated his opponents during the liberation struggle. What is important to note is the way he then rewarded those who were loyal to him during his tenure as Prime Minister.
Stories are told of rampant theft of state resources, the Willowgate Scandal comes to mind. Questioned about the rampant corruption Mugabe reportedly would note that he would deal with the truants and even at times had the nerve to question who in his group had not stolen something from the state before.
Reports of his nephews and his close associates pillaging state coffers are known. The airport road scandal, the funds from the extension of the Harare Airport, the Beitbridge Road dualization project are just small projects where it is known his close family members were involved.
Mugabe failed to chastise them because it served his interests. The buck stopped right at his door and he should have acted but he chose to pay a blind eye to the detriment of Zimbabweans. And he is supposed to remain a hero for Zimbabwe?
Mugabe sanctioned state sponsored violence in every election through state security officials
Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s bootlickers and his ZANU PF people want to paint a different narrative and argue that Mugabe is not the one who perpetrated state sanctioned violence in Zimbabwe.
Do they know or have they ever had of Command Responsibility? Mugabe was the Head of Government when Gukurahundi happened. Mugabe prevailed over all the elections from 1985 to the bloody 2008 elections, Murambatsvina, and many other bloody episodes of violence where CIOs, the military, police and rogue ZANU PF supporters killed Zimbabweans unimpeded and with such massive impunity. Records of his speeches are there to see on how he encouraged all this. I know family friends who left Zimbabwe traumatized I know people that have died and have left orphans.
If at all, people want to argue otherwise, what we know for sure is that the violence happened under his watch and if one goes through the narratives from most victims from all the epochs of violence, it is clear to note that the perpetrators mostly used his name. Mugabe is the one to blame for the violence that has engulfed Zimbabwe for all these years. He could have stopped it, but he didn’t because it served his purposes of hanging on to power for so long.
Mugabe stayed for too long on the dance floor and he became boring
Robert Gabriel Mugabe was a bore in the end. He was literally sleeping on the job. Reading wrong speeches planted or otherwise is none of our business. The man could not sustain being a President anymore but he trudged on buoyed by his rancorous wife and his acerbic G40. When he was deposed in November 2017, he certainly got what he deserved.
So why is there conflict about Mugabe in death?
There is no conflict whatsoever in my mind about Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s legacy. The Mugabe I know and have grown up knowing is a violent, selfish, and egoistic man who cared only about his grandiose lifestyle in Malaysia and Singapore.
People will ask and try to ramp up his post-independence achievements. But I argue that that was part of his job. Is he supposed to be judged as if he was doing Zimbabwe a favor. He had to work and produce results and that is exactly what he did for the first few years but the real man came out sooner rather than later and he was a disaster for Zimbabwe for 37 years.
Political correctness – the blight of the Zimbabwean and the African
Chamisa and the MDC should have stayed put
Mugabe was a divisive man in life and now even in his death his wily divisive and cantankerous self continues its ugly head on Zimbabweans. But why? And then what we see is all sorts of political correctness from corridors and sectors that must not even be losing sleep about this man’s death.
The MDC is scampering around wanting to tell us about hunhu, culture and all sorts of nonsense all to appear politically correct. Nelson Chamisa and his party should have stayed mum about all this. This business of jumping onto ZANU PF shenanigans disguised as national matters must stop.
It happened at the time of the coup and it is still happening today. Let ZANU PF itself into smithereens and not be moved an inch. Mugabe endorsing the MDC and Chamisa for the Presidency is not something to gloat about.
It is ill advised and childish. Mugabe was trying to spite Mnangagwa and Chamisa jumps onto it as if Mugabe’s endorsement would change his world for him. A slap on the wrist of MDC faithful if you ask me. Africanness, hunhu and all superstitious nonsense can go with Mugabe to his grave – who cares? So everyone is scampering around arguing that the dead must be respected.
Of course it is what the “elders” said so we are told. But so what, this is the same kind of nonsense that allows little girls to be raped by uncles, small boys to be sodomized by their kith and kin, and families are told to shut up and forever be because of the need to preserve families.
Mugabe prevailed over a ruthless machinery of rape, murder, disappearances and all that. What Africaness, hunhu and any other hocus pocus do people want to talk about. There was nothing African, humanness about his rule, so why should people be put into a herd to mourn him.
The worst thing is to guilt trip people and talk about Africanness. The craziest hogwash ever!
Superstitions meant to scare Zimbabweans – Go away all of you and your superstitions
So all of a sudden there were dark clouds because Mugabe had died. All of a sudden a whole tent was blown off the ground because of strong winds and people like Jonathan Moyo want to scare the hell out of Zimbabweans that it is an omen about how Mugabe’s funeral is being handled. I would say STOP, and In fact tell him to shut up. People have gone to school enough to understand meteorology and weather reports. Zimbabweans must not be scared. The dark clouds and the winds are all-natural phenomena as is the death of Mugabe. Nothing to be scared of.
Mugabe’s spirit will rise – So what?
Mugabe’s nephew was writing on social media arguing that Mugabe’s spirit and the Gushungo clan would wreak havoc on those who tried to force him to be buried at the Heroes Acre. So now Mugabe and his Gushungo clan have a monopoly on what the Gods and all the other spirits of Zimbabweans who have been killed under his name can do?
It can as well be said that the behavior of Mugabe’s children is a sign of the spirits of those who died in his name and that even his death is because of that because for all we know he was going to reach ZANA but with all that money and specialized he still went down.
Maybe his deposition by his friends and his juniors were the spirits of all those he tormented before. We cannot be bogged down in such rigmarole and nonsense. Mugabe is gone and he is finished. No superstitious nonsense will and should scare any Zimbabwean anymore.
This kind of behavior is what has killed Zimbabwe. People are busy building technology apps, have technology driven solutions to problems and we still want to focus on superstitions and all that. The Mugabe family and his cronies as well as the rest of ZANU F has fed Zimbabwe this nonsense for a long time and it needs to stop with Mugabe’s death. Please Robert, just go and spare us! And you, who have been left behind, go and thrown your bones and nonsense somewhere else.
The Big question – where should Robert Mugabe be buried?
Robert Gabriel Mugabe built his Heroes Acre in Harare. It was meant to be a place where his friends and colleagues would be interred. He had a grave set aside for him next to his first wife Sally. He even forced his acolytes such as Edgar Tekere to be buried there even against their wishes.
In his last days, it is reported that he noted he wanted to be buried in his village KwaZvimba. What nonsense! In a normal world it would make sense but in today’s Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe must be buried at the Heroes Acre. Many of the thieves, corrupt politicians and his other cantankerous comrades lie there. He deserves to be there with them.
Secondly Mugabe cannot be allowed to have the last laugh on the whole country by playing Zimbabweans even in his death. This is a ZANU PF contest which we are being forced to partake in. Burying him at the Heroes Acre is of course a win for ED and the army ruling Zimbabwe. Having him interred at his rural home gives a victory to Mugabe. Mugabe cannot be allowed to continue wreaking havoc even in death.
The farce that the dead’s spirit will have bad omens on the living and the country is just but a farce. The old man must just be buried at the Heroes Acre, a place he built for him and the likes of his ilk. Now what, you want to give us another reason to be cursing all the time we go past Zvimba?
The place called the Heroes Acre is a closely guarded place anyway and if he goes there it will help us forget about him. The MDC and Chamisa are busy running around even getting to add their voices about where Mugabe should be buried because for them it would be a victory and poke in the eye to ED and ZANU PF. Nonsensical stuff really – do they not have more important things to do in the MDC?
Robert Gabriel Mugabe built his HEROES ACRE, he must lie in it!