The early 1960s were the early years of revolutionary movements by the people of the then Southern Rhodesia against colonial rule. The revolutionary era saw the brutal assault, oppression, injustice, and unlawful detention of political activists. Those who pioneered the revolution promised people milk and honey through democracy, the rule of law and other elements of good governance on attaining independence in 1980.
Robert Mugabe, the present day major betrayer of the revolutionary ideals, was one of those nationalists who fought for the end of colonization in Zimbabwe.
Regrettably, Mugabe and his so called revolutionary party have over the past three decades failed to deliver even one of the promises they made to the majority of Zimbabwe despite the untamed propaganda that they always dish out to the people through state media. Every one who is interested in politics would at this point agree with me that Robert Mugabe is even worse than his predecessor Ian Douglas Smith and will be able to identify a true and a bogus revolutionary between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mugabe is one politician who has turned from a hero to a villain because of his failure on the political front coupled with confusing economic policies which saw the country being reduced to one of the worst economies in the world. The emergence of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as the most powerful, influential and visionary Democratic Party was Mugabe’s acid test on his party’s purported democratic values.
Mugabe has inherited and even expounded on the repressive, oppressive and undemocratic style of ruling imposed by Ian Smith on the black majority. The last decade saw fierce oppression, assassination attempts, arrests on baseless allegations and prosecutions being leveled against Morgan Tsvangirai and his followers by Robert Mugabe and his losing Zanu PF party in an attempt to avoid the existence of real and democratic change.
What Mugabe is failing to take into account is the fact that the political gimmicks and tactics he is using were used by some politicians in the past and ended in tragedy hence they are now exposed. Mugabe, just like what Smith did, is now banking on his oppressive administration machinery in the name of the security forces and the judiciary to oppress revolutionary movements through banning MDC rallies, arresting and prosecuting party officials in a desperate attempt to avoid real change.
Mugabe is unnecessarily rewinding the sad memories of the liberation struggle through the so called exhumations and chimurenga files using the public media –The Herald and ZBC, in an attempt to regain lost glory. The events of June 2008 leave many people wondering whether the exhumed bodies are indeed a result of British brutality of the 1970s or Zanu PF brutality of June 2008. The ageing politician does not seem to understand the meaning of the term “reconciliation” which he signed with the British at Lancaster house in 1979.
He is still preaching the brutality of the British to date as if they never sat down and agreed to set aside past political differences. The extent to which Mugabe and his party are preaching about the brutality of the British appears as if Zimbabwe is the only country that was under British colonial rule. Many former British colonies are working harmoniously with other countries and their economies are flourishing. Zanu PF and Mugabe want to use the past as justification for their failed policies.
The general majority outcry over anarchy, political and judicial injustice, unfair land distribution and autocratic governments leveled against Smith regime are still evident in the Mugabe regime. SO it is new wine in old bottles. Having realized that he has lost grip on the political front to Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe is left with no option than to introduce terror to gain fear and not support.
The difference between Mugabe and other dictators who have existed like Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini is that Hitler and Mussolini introduced some economic relief and stability when they forcefully came to power but Mugabe destroyed the social, economic and political stratum of the nation.
When Ian Smith lost the general elections of 1980 he stepped down but when Mugabe lost the 2008 elections he refused to step down and instead introduced a terror campaign against the MDC in order to cling to power.
When Mugabe assumed power in 1980 he promised democracy and majority rule only to surprise the people of Zimbabwe when he refused to step down after losing in a democratically conducted election. Robert Mugabe is not even alarmed by events elsewhere in Africa where political demagogues are being deposed by the powerful will of the people.
What has happened to those greedy and deceitful politicians who failed to respect the principle of democracy in Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya? Zanu PF’s foreign policy has proved to be the worst in Africa judging by the number of enemies than friends on the global stage Mugabe has, which has transformed Zimbabwe’s economy from being one of the best to one of the worst in Africa.
Robert Mugabe is failing to learn that the life of a dictator always ends in misery and there is no way he can escape that miserable end to his disastrous political career. I think most people who understand politics will agree with me that whilst the Smith governance left a lot to be desired he was never a dictator as he stepped down after he was defeated by Mugabe.
On the economic front, Mugabe destroyed what was built by Smith mainly through uninformed economic decisions. One of the chief causes of the French revolution of 1789 was the extravagance of the royal family which consequently led to economic problems and the subsequent uprising of the French people against Lois XVI and his wife Queen Marie Antoinette.
The same story is happening in Tunisia now where the dethroned leader Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali is accused of being greedy and accumulating wealth for himself and his wife at the expense of the nation. His wife even took 15 tones of gold from the central bank before fleeing. Just last year, the ageing Zanu PF leader flew 80 aides to the UN general assembly using state funds, a figure too huge to justify.
The land reform is another thorny issue which exposed Mugabe’s intransigence and saw the illegal land grabs and subsequent redistribution to his loyalists and relatives. In 1997 Mugabe dished out money to purported war veterans and the DRC war participants resulting in printing of excess currency which consequently led to hyper – inflation.
Mugabe is citing silly issues as reasons for failure to manage the economy. He is making a lot of noise about the restrictive measures on himself and his loyalists for human rights abuses as being the cause of the economic melt down.
Now hanging on a thin thread of propaganda through the state media, the ailing Mugabe knows his revolution rhetoric no longer has any takers not knowing that propaganda is the language of the politically vanquished. The wind of change is blowing in Africa, and Zimbabwe is no exception.
Rueben Madzivo an independent writer he can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org