The late Former President of Zimbabwe
Former President of Zimbabwe, the man who led the liberation war which led to the eventual independence of Rhodesia and the name change to Zimbabwe has succumbed to death.
It is yet another reality of the inevitability of man’s mortality their statuses in life notwithstanding.
Many remarks can be passed about Robert Gabriel Mugabe, good and bad, in fact very bad although the negatives of a dead man are hardly uttered.
Having led his country to independence and showing signs of having wonderful things up his sleeves for his people, the free education being one of them alongside the redefinition of land ownership, he soon changed his political garb for a dictator’s.
The freshly minted dictator became an embodiment of controversy as he applied the tenets of the rulebook of dictatorship with almost religiosity.
But perhaps what earned him the disdain of his people and the comity of the civilized world was his preference of violence and even murder to ward off dissent.
Having inherited a country which for a long time was the pride of southern Africa and perhaps the continent as a whole, Zimbabwe went down the cliff with such terrific speed it was not difficult to see what dictatorship and bad governance can do to a previously prosperous country.
The farms which Zimbabweans forcefully usurped from their white owners with Robert Mugabe leading the charge did not meet their expectations. The bumper harvests it would appear went with the ownership change, wild shrubs taking over the previously beautiful farms.
The full-fledged dictator who could not care a hoot about public opinion emboldened the so-called Veterans, fighters of the liberation war, to descend upon those who dared to call the bluff of the President. To support the Veterans to brutalise their anti-Mugabe compatriots were the deadly elements who were trained in North Korea on the modalities of human rights abuses, something they did to perfection.
Thousands of Zimbabweans lost their lives as part of a campaign to protect the now gone Robert Gabriel Mugabe who was infallible.
Dictatorship does not pay because eventually being human he would succumb to death or even become so frail at the helm that senility set in. Even those who adored him found it necessary to strip him of power, something they subtly did.
Starting with positive intentions but soon descending to the abyss of dictatorship and ending the way Robert Mugabe did is a sad footnote of history.
Rather than an omnibus celebration of his life it is unfortunate that for some Zimbabweans and non-citizens alike living outside the jurisdiction of this country it is a moment which can only remind them of the dark days of his dictatorship. They justifiably rejoiced when he was no longer the President and today even if they are unable to do so after his death this segment of Zimbabweans can simply murmur ‘good riddance’. Of course we cannot chastise them.
He would be remembered for his acerbic tongue, iron-fist and generally not well-thought policies which eventually became his Achilles Heels.
Will his ilk and especially the man who has ascended the helm in Harare learn anything from the story of Robert Mugabe?
It is good for politicians to know when to say adieu to power. One of the sayings of our people is ‘it is best to leave when the music is at its highest pitch.’