Opinion: Come on give Mugabe a break!
With the media frenzy that surrounds the imminent resignation of comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe, let’s not forget some of the positive elements to his legacy that cannot be denied.
In my view, Mugabe’s past violations should be overlooked, if that’s at all possible, and he should be proclaimed “Robert Baba Vorudzi Urwu Mugabe” – “Robert Father of Nation Mugabe”. There should be an official ceremony where his name can be officially changed to, “Baba Robert Zimbabwe” and he can be given full immunity from prosecution as it relates to the affairs of the state and take the position of ceremonial Head of State until he returns to his maker.
Now before you burst a brain cell at someone daring to suggest that Mugabe should be honoured in this way, count me firmly among those who believe that there is no choice but for him to step aside!!
However, what was admirable about Mugabe was the anti-imperialist position of Zanu PF and the his shotgun diplomacy on the road to independence. There are without doubt good points of his legacy: founding of ZPF against the Rhodesian regime, he led armed struggle, negotiated Lancaster House Accords in 70s and 80s, implemented universal health care and introduced land reforms. He also abolished the IMF loans that were a disaster for the country and led a crack-down on corruption in 2004 which led to people being jailed.
So where did it go wrong?
Well, he was too heavy-handed over the land reforms and alienated his former colonial masters. After first appearing to be a Mandela type-figure at the beginning of his presidency, he slowly turned into an Idi Amin – an eccentric nut job and overstayed his welcome! His unwillingness to democratise society or accept genuine opposition made him deaf, dumb and blind to the demands of his own people. Not to mentioned his despicable treatment of those who dare to opposed him.
Nevertheless, let bygones be bygones, the country now needs a youthful, vibrant leadership. It needs political education to provide participative democracy, whilst paying homage for the pioneer of the nation.
Like analyst Nefra Freeman, Institute of policy studies in Washington who appeared on TRT World last night, I agree it is difficult to see anyone able to provide what the country needs just now, though the country has a high literacy rate.
For Allah’s sake, the media has done a good job over the years of making people think the white farmers are needed to boost the economy, but in truth Zimbabweans do appear to have the political and the education acumen to slowly turn things around and to make a success of their own country.