Another one bites the dust – By Yllma Bekele
Robert Mugabe is on his way out. May be not. They say cats have nine lives. We have no idea which life this cat is on. For the sake of the people of Zimbabwe we hope it is the last one. Zimbabwe’s emergence as a country was not easy. The people of Zimbabwe paid a heavy price for their freedom from the dreaded British and their unruly subject Ian Smith. Mr. Mugabe was the first President. The year was 1980. The illustrious President has managed to turn the euphoria of hope and a bright future into hopelessness shame and another failed state. (more…)
Robert Mugabe is on his way out. May be not. They say cats have nine lives. We have no idea which life this cat is on. For the sake of the people of Zimbabwe we hope it is the last one. Zimbabwe’s emergence as a country was not easy. The people of Zimbabwe paid a heavy price for their freedom from the dreaded British and their unruly subject Ian Smith. Mr. Mugabe was the first President. The year was 1980. The illustrious President has managed to turn the euphoria of hope and a bright future into hopelessness shame and another failed state.
There were two liberation fronts fighting for majority rule and Independence from the British. ZAPU and ZANU. Joshua Nikomo was ZAPU’s leader while Mugabe was with ZANU. Two years after Independence Mr. Nikomo was ousted from his ministerial position and by 1987 his Party was merged with ZANU and became known us ZANU-PF. It has been a one-man show ever since. The tyrant felt he was indispensable and without his wise leadership things will fall apart.
It is a typical African story. Nothing spectacular about it. At the risk of boring you let us recount a few of these human curses bestowed upon us.
I) Idi Amin of Uganda 1971-1979. Specialized in removal of organs (bodies were found with genitals, eyes, livers, noses missing) and prisoners were forced to bludgeon each other to death with sledgehammers. (Body count about 300,000 lives)
II) Jean Bedel Bokassa of Central African Republic 1966-1979. Specialized in cannibalism and known for murder of Scholl age children for refusing to wear uniform manufactured in his factory. (Money count $125 Million)
III)Mengistu Hailemariam of Ethiopia 1974-1991. King of ‘Red Terror’ specialized in using ‘neighborhood committees (kebeles)’ to terrorize and murder over a million citizens. (Body count 1.5 Million lives)
IV) Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire 1965-1997. Specialized in what is known as ‘Kleptocracy’ where the distinction between state assets and his own was blurred. (Money count $4 Billion)
V) Charles Taylor of Liberia 1997-2003. Rain of death on Liberia and its neighbors. Specialized in ‘child solders’ and his personal fortune was greater than Liberia’s GNP. (Body count over 300,000 lives)
VI) Muammar Gaddafi of Libya 1969-. The puppeteer. His proud graduates included Foday Sankoh of Sierra Leone who specialized in hacking the arms and legs of civilians, Laurent Kabila of Congo master of the civil war responsible for the death of over 4 million people, and Charles Taylor of Liberia, at the moment being tried by the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague.
These are but a few of the various criminals who have littered the length and breathe of our continent. They all have a few things in common. All are ordinary people who emerged through the chaos of the moment. They learned early on the power of terror. They left behind a bankrupt, divided and psychologically scared Nation State. It will take generations to replace what they have squandered in a very short time.
Mr. Mugabe is one ordinary person when given the chance to rise up and shine disappointed a lot of people by his failure to inspire and lead. I guess what they say is true ‘either you have it or you don’t’ what ever ‘it’ is. He inherited a country blessed with mineral resources, rich soil and energetic people. It needed a lot of work. Colonialism is a brutal system. The white settlers were not a push over. They have the official support of South Africa and Portugal and the unofficial but tacit support of the West. They can afford to be intransigent. For Mr. Mugabe it was not a slam-dunk situation.
But isn’t it at a time like this a country needs a visionary leader? Didn’t Mr. Mugabe take the job? As a leader it was his job to inspire his people and build on the energy generated by the knowledge that they are master of their own destiny. ‘Effective leaders generate higher productivity, lower costs, and more opportunities than ineffective leaders. Effective leaders create results, attain goal, and realize vision, and other objectives more quickly and at a higher level of quality than ineffective leaders’. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leadership).
Mugabe was unable to rise up for the occasion. He mis-ruled for 28 long years. Today Zimbabwe, which was known as the breadbasket for Southern Africa, is starving. The economy is in ruins with inflation running 165%. No it is not a typo it really is 165%. One US dollar is 40 thousand Zimbabwe Dollar. It is a situation where price of goods changes by the hour. Mugabe was adapt at playing one ethnic group against another, he was good at the old divide and rule method, and wrote the book on ‘ballot stuffing’ and vote miscounting. Mugabe can boast of the best ‘security’ service and countrywide informant network. He is lethal in using his goons to harass the opposition and intimidate his opponents in broad daylight. He has no shame what so ever. His loyalists and supporters talk of him as a strong, cunning and very intelligent man. He can be all three but Zimbabwe has only seen his ugly side.
The Lyrics to Bob Morley’s song entitled ‘Zimbabwe’ written in 1978 goes..
Every man gotta right to decide his own destiny,
And in this judgement there is no partiality.
So arm in arms, with arms, we’ll fight this little struggle,
‘Cause that’s the only way we can overcome our little trouble.
To divide and rule could only tear us apart;
In everyman chest, mm – there beats a heart.
So soon we’ll find out who is the real revolutionaries;
And I don’t want my people to be tricked by mercenaries.
Natty trash it in-a Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe);
Mash it up in-a Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe);
Set it up in-a Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe);
Africans a-liberate Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe);
Africans a-liberate Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe);
Natty dub it in-a Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).
I am sure Bob Morley will be heart broken to see Zimbabwe where today blacks kill blacks, where Independence have brought more misery in the hands of fellow citizens and the population live in terror and abject misery. Mr. Mugabe instead of doing what is right and proper when he had the chance is now negotiating a safe exit. His foreign benefactors will wash their hands of him one by one. His fellow criminals are jumping of his fast sinking boat life vest or not. Even his wife and kids are out of the country. Mugabe is on a free fall. Will someone please remove the safety net! Let him fall in peace. Good riddance of bad rubbish.