15 July, 2008

Of Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwe was a once well-governed state that, thanks to President Robert Mugabe's ruthless greed for power and wealth, now teeters on the brink of failure. Robert Mugabe is undoubtedly a bully and an autocrat; at times - a brutal dictator. There is no doubt too, that he has caused immense suffering and misery for his people. He has ruled for too long; and, even with his hairs dyed and a wife half his age, he is too old. Once respected, admired and revered by many Africans, Mugabe is now making a fool of himself. Why couldn't he have learnt from his age mate Nelson Mandela and retired with dignity? At his age and after all that he did for Zimbabwe's liberation, he could have given up leading Zimbabwe long ago, and could actually have been even more powerful and more respected and admired.

Very sadly and unfortunately, most African leaders never learnt from Mr. Mandela; in spite of all the reverence and adulation that Mandela now has, world wide, African leaders still have the same tendency: to cling to power at what ever cost. Even if it leads to their own self destruction. It would have been fine if the African leaders clinging to power indefinitely, would develop their countries and their people as the Chinese leadership has done; in China too, its leaders stay in power for ages; but they serve. They truly serve their people and have fast moved their country forward.

As for Western countries and leaders criticizing Mr. Mugabe and coming out very strongly against him - I find that hypocritical and only done so with the aim of serving their own interests. Didn't the same Britain not knighted Mugabe when he seemed to be playing to their tune? Didn't the same Western powers not support oppressive Ian Smith and his Rhodesia against those fighting for Zimbabwe's freedom? And weren't they the ones who not staunchly supported apartheid South Africa?

If Mugabe, like the late Mobutu, was serving British or American interests, they would have blindly and strongly supported him. They won't have raised a voice or a finger against him. After all, they never say much about other African leaders who are no better than Mugabe. Some more cruel and brutal than Zimbabwe, like those in Equatorial Guinea - which has been 'independent' much longer than Zimbabwe (since 1968) and has since been ruled by only two men from the same family - is very rarely adversely mentioned by the same Western countries and leadership; oil ensures that nothing much is said about Equatorial Guinea.

It would be most helpful and kinder if Western countries left Africa alone to solve its problems; African leaders and the African Union are much better placed than external powers to deal with Zimbabwe and Mugabe. Not the hypocritical Western leaders whose main interest is to keep Africa locked and enslaved into an earnings logjam on the international market, which keeps her poor when she sells to others, and poor when she buys from them; an international market that ensures that Africa remains an exporter of cheap cash crops and minerals and an importer of expensive products produced from the same products from Africa.

Photo from: judicial -inc.biz

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