An African Prayer For Mugabe

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[Africa News: Commentary]

I woke up this morning feeling nasty, and I couldn’t put my hand on what made me to feel that way. 

There were two things that bothered me, first that I had not written the article titled, “Anderson Cooper, 'You’re a Liair,' Africans are Screaming.”

I also remembered that I was itching to find out what the two top African Union diplomats in the US thought of what was going on in Zimbabwe, especially the withdrawal of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai from the June 27 presidential run-off. 

Listen, I was certain I wasn’t going to get any meaningful answers, but still I decided to give them both a call.  First I called the AU UN office in Manhattan, and was told that Ambassador Lila was out of town.  She was traveling in Africa, then I called the AU office in Washington DC, and Ambassador Amani was also in Africa. 

In a case like this, there is really no need to attempt to talk with lower officials, they would give you the run-around about the Ambassador being the only one who could possibly give you the right answer.  Even the Ambassadors themselves will tell you that the best thing might be to call Addis Ababa, that some times I wonder why are they here anyway. 

I have written so much about Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe that I feel nauseated reading my own writings. I don’t feel like hearing about Mugabe, I feel the same way as Kenya’s Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, who described him as an eye-sore on the continent. 

I remember the article I wrote in 2001 about Mugabe and White Farmers which was quoted and quoted ad nausem, in which I made the point that 99.9% of Africans in the continent agreed with his land distribution policy.  In hindsight, was I right? Yes. 

But that doesn’t mean that I believe Mugabe should stay in office for life, and I stated this in an article I also wrote in Gamji online and which also appeared in the African Sun Times of March 21-27, 2002.  The first three paragraphs of that article are more appropriate at this time than ever, and they express my feelings now. Here it is:

When those of us who became of age in the late 1950s and early 1960s remember the great joy and happiness we all experienced at the victory that Africa was going to win over our imperialist Europe and colonialists, we are now shedding tears that Africa has been dealt the worst hand at the rulers who we thought would rescue us from that intolerable knowledge of being a slave to another human being. The late 1950s and early 1960s were a time of joyous exuberance for us as Africans.  It was the time of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria, Leopold Senghor of Senegal, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya and of course Julius Nyerere of Tanzania.

We cheered heartily when we heard Nkrumah tell us that Africa could not be free when one African was still under bondage.  Today, Africa is still under bondage, but not from the imperialist and colonialist Europe, but rather at the hands of other Africans.

I have shed tears for mother Africa; in fact, I have literally shed tears for Robert Gabriel Mugabe of Zimbabwe, a hero of the Republic of Zimbabwe (former Rhodesia), who would rather tarnish his image in the pursuit of unbriddled power and ambition. 

It is therefore with great sadness that hundreds of millions of Africans who had come to include Robert Mugabe among the heroes of Africa, are unfortunately left with no choice than to say a requiem for Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

That was six years ago when I wrote that article, and Mugabe was 78 at that time, he is 84 now and we are still talking about the same man and the same issues. 

In the March 29 elections, Mugabe and his party Zanu-PF lost their majority in parliament, and after more than a month of utter silence on the presidential election results, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission finally announced that Mugabe was second to Morgan Tsvangirai the opposition leader in the presidential poll, but that Tsvangirai didn’t win the required 50+1 to clinch the presidency outright.  Since then, Mugabe has unleashed a rain of terror on the opposition, with Mugabe’s government sanctioned thugs and militias killing 87 opposition members, according to Tsvangirai and the opposition party’s secretary-general in leg irons during his last court appearance for ‘treason’, for saying that the opposition had won the March 29 presidential elections.

I remember the same scenario that is occurring now happening the same way in 2002, except this time Mugabe has vowed not to relinquish power even if the electorate votes him out, he would go to war over being rejected by his people, and that only God could remove him. 

In 2002, I remember writing the following:

It is inconceiable to most of us that at 78, Robert Mugabe would be so driven with the trappings of power that he would lie, cheat, and subject millions of Zimbabweans to a far worse condition than they were subjected to under white rule.  Unfortunately, Mr. Mugabe is not unique in this department, as he is merely a reflection of other African leaders who have decided to give him succour than tell him in no unmistable terms that what he was trying to do, what he did and what he continues to do, are totally unacceptable in the so-called 21st Century African Renaissance. If Mugabe felt that he was so beloved by his people, the right thing to do was to offer the unconditional opportunity to express themselves by allowing everybody entitled to vote to vote freely according to their choice.  Unfortunately, Mugabe did everything to see that he stole the recently concluded election in Zimbabwe.

The shame and sadness I feel is that if there is a God, he should grant Mugabe his wishes and remove him.  That should be every African’s prayer for Mugabe.  Africans have endured enough, but Zimbabweans have suffered more. 

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