Mugabe is wrong messenger delivering the right message
Posted by CM on June 21, 2007
by Kipkoech Komugor
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbawe was in Kenya recently to attend the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Summit which, as expected he (mis)used as a platform to rail at his traditional enemies Britain, America and all things white, hence imperial and undesirable.
All his admirers could do was punctuate President Mugabe’s amazing delivery in flawless English (!) with a hysterical “Right on, comrade!? The hysterics came from not a few colleagues of Mugabe’s, some of whom cannot be caught dead saying or doing the things Mugabe says and does.
It may sound odd, but Mugabe is a hero of sorts in some quarters, especially in very many State Houses in the wretched continent and other Third World nations. And it is not difficult to figure out why. Mugabe speaks for many a frustrated President or Prime Minister who, for being cursed with a yellow gut, cannot stand up to John Bull and Uncle Sam, the two nightmares of every leader of a puny African country that depends on every trickle that comes from the two bullies’ financial tap.
If for a moment one takes their mind off Morgan Tsvangirai’s horribly swollen face and focuses on Comrade Bob’s ranting, they might catch a whiff of sense somewhere in there. There are quite a few legitimate arguments that Mugabe tries to put across every time he chances upon an international forum like the Nairobi one. The standard reaction from his Western detractors, though, is to affect an air of boredom or horror and dismiss him as just another madman on the global marketplace who must never be listened to by people who still have all their cranial bolts and nuts on.
There was nothing new in what Mugabe said in Nairobi. It was not like he dropped a bombshell to the effect that Britain, America and all the other filthy rich nations of the West do not love us with all their hearts and soul. For we have known that for a long time, and not just because Comrade Bob’s age-mate, Uncle Dan (ex-President arap Moi), never wasted an opportunity to remind us that Mwafrika akuna mutu napenda wewe ( no one
loves you poor African) when he was still calling the shots around here.
Since shortly after the “flag independence,” we have known that every cent that our former colonial masters drop in our alms bowl is not an act of Christian charity but an investment that must accrue many times over. The Western powers are concerned about their interests- the interests of their taxpayers back home, the profits of their multinationals, the state of their armouries and their position on the world stage. All the
rest of us are seen as just but mere building blocks in their quest to build a set of stairs that reaches utopia.
It is the way of the world. It may not be fair but who said the world is a fair place? The desperate search for happiness and the ideal will early always involve stepping on another person’s shoulders to reach the goodies up there. It was the philosophy that informed slavery and colonialism. It is the philosophy that informs current wars and economic policies like the free market.
In the recent years, the Western powers have been padding our long-suffering shoulders with such tricks as “development aid” and “grants” which we eventually repay through the nose.
As Mugabe was in Nairobi ranting under the lights, every household in Zimbabwe was suffering a 20- yes twenty – hour power rationing. Zimbabweans get to experience the magic of electricity for only four hours a day. Inflation has just hit a ridiculously new height. At 3,714 per cent rate by the end of April, Zimbabwe is having an inflation rate
that sounds like the figure of a monthly wage of a lowly paid labourer in this country. Prices of some commodities have risen by more than 100 per cent in just a month. In the past year, prices increased 36-fold. It is a basket case if I ever heard of one.
One would have sympathised with the aging president and his long-suffering people if Big Bad Britain and her sidekicks alone were responsible for the big joke that Zimbabwe has turned into. The other real trouble with Zimbabwe apart from Tony Blair and Whitehall is no doubt Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
Deliberately shutting our eyes to the role that Mugabe has played in the current sorry state of Zimbabwe would be to excuse the acts of all the bumbling tyrants who have been helping the West ruin this continent for years. Many of the dictators conspired with the West to rob the continent blind and the global powers-that-be left them alone to do whatever they wished for being such good boys. Mugabe was just part of his group of good boys until he supposedly stumbled on some sense and realised the injustice of a tiny part of the population owning virtually all the land in Zimbabwe.
No matter what Mugabe says in mitigation, it can’t take away the stench of mismanagement and dictatorship that he has visited on his once proud country. It is people like Mugabe who keep “confirming” the colonialist’s assertion that the native can’t rule a 30-family manyatta.
It is people like Mugabe who must never be trusted with the job of arguing Africa’s case. For every time he opens his mouth to speak, Morgan Tsvangirai’s swollen face, the horror of 20 hours of darkness and 3,000 per cent inflation rate get in the way. That Africa is dying for people who can bravely talk for her cannot be gainsaid. But Mugabe and his kind are not what we are looking for.
Both Mugabe and his Western detractors are wrong. Yet they all use the suffering of the people of this continent as an alibi for their crimes. While Mugabe is styling himself a martyr for the African cause, the West is pretending to be superman saving us from the acts of such bad guys as Mugabe. No wonder there is such a great split in opinion on who exactly is evil between the two antagonists.
Our salvation lies neither in Comrade Bob nor John Bull and his sidekick Uncle Sam. It lies in good leaders who know what really is good for this continent and citizens who have the sense to elect such leaders.
It is astonishing to that Mugabe still takes every opportunity to spout his rhetoric, seemingly totally oblivious to the reality that no matter how popular and or correct whatever point he is making, it is neutralised by the shameful state of the country he is presiding over.
Simply appearing anywhere as the president of a thriving, successful country, despite whatever odds he claims are standing in its way, would be a far more effective argument for his theories than any “flawless English” speechifying he could ever do. That his regime does not seem to realise this is further proof of just how far they are divorced from reality.