Monday, December 8, 2008

In 1979, Bob Marley and the Wailers released their album "Survival". With songs like "So Much trouble in The World" and "Africa Unite", the album was a powerful statement on black power and Pan-African unity. But one song from that album became a force, so much so that it became an unofficial national anthem and was used to celebrate the independence Blacks achieved in then-Rhodesia. That song is "Zimbabwe".

In it, Bob Marley sang "Africans a liberate Zimbabwe", meaning that Africans, in solidarity, achieved an independent Zimbabwe. However, as hundreds now die, and a cholera epidemic looms, I wonder if this worsening humanitarian situation will finally compel Africans to once again unite to liberate Zimbabwe, but this time from Robert Mugabe.

As an African, I can confidently say that we Africans, unfortunately, have a high tolerance for revered 'elders' and especially the despotic kind. Mugabe represents the problem with this attitude. Mugabe, once a respected leader is now at the helm of a Zimbabwe falling apart, and he seems either oblivious or uncaring about the people and nation he 'fought' for. He manages to do this with little confrontation or challenge from the majority of other African heads of state. And, while this failure continues, people die, and neighboring nations are threatened by the influx of refugees.

However, Mugabe is just one of many African leaders who have squandered the trust of their people and made decisions that led to the people's ruin instead. It is now clear that Mugabe's choice to destroy democracy in Zimbabwe, attack his opposition, transform a productive nation into a country of poor citizens fleeing to neighbor nations and ignore the reality that cholera is killing Zimbabweans is a crime against the people of Zimbabwe. That crime was committed by nobody other than Robert Gabriel Mugabe, who in a weird coincidence is named after the Christian Archangel Gabriel. This continuing crime creates problems for Southern Africa and reinforces that Zimbabweans, like many Africans, still, in the 21st century, have no say in their daily life and are at the mercy of their elders, leaders, rulers and in some cases on the continent, mere thugs.

So, will Africans, in unison, liberate Zimbabwe once again, or will we choose to wait for the West to help us 'solve' another of the continent's many problems? Ordinarily, one would say that "the choice is yours", but in Africa's case, it just is not the simple.

Related Articles of Interest:
- Nigeria, Mugabe & The ICC
- 'Soiled Hands' & Strategy":What Nigeria Says About Democracy
- Yar'Adua, Mugabe & The "Rule of Law"

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nana yaa bartels said...
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Femi B said...

Blame my insensitivity but i think these countries in Southern Part of Africa are too passive.i.e all of them with so much delayed independence and the loss of their culture to the "oyinbo" people... I mean most of them are lucky they still have their language but in terms of culture...all is gone. I guess that was what Mugabe was fighting against back in the day...but dude... I mean 28 years and no successful coup?, no "coffee poison"? no "indian prostitutes?" ,"no cardiac arrests"? haba i don't promote violence and evil but what happened to the babalawos if all else have failed?lol

wellsbaba said...

hey...u no dey give up!I'm back now....4good...sista do ur thing

Nigerian Drama Queen said...

Zimbabwe is truly one of the sadder African stories of the decade. I mean, in the early 1990s, Zimbabwe was a psuedo-African paradise: malaria free, well-maintained infrastructure and a growing black middle class...
I didnt even know that it was possible for inflation to reach nine million percent! Crazyyyy

But you know what I find extremely interesting? There has been barely any hoopla/direct intervention in Zimbabwe because she lacks the two exports (oil and international terrorism) that the world's powers are interested in...

clnmike said...

Mugabe was a real disappointment.

Rita said...

I guess I never saw it from this point of view...Many a times I ask myself the question like "...or will we choose to wait for the West to help us 'solve' another of the continent's problems?" I look forward to the answer.

Dojaa said...

Africans cannot liberate a grasshopper if it were stuck on a blade of grass....greed has made that impossible.

Anonymous said...

I am not so sure I'd be quick to say Africans do not liberate themselves from so called revered elders, especially the "despotic ones" as you put it. I think several things going on: 1) To Africans, Mugabe is family. They have the Western leaders trying to tell them how to deal with family. It is sort of the intruder coming in; 2) Mugabe does have a track record of fighting for his nation until now. That memory is not easily forgotten, certainly not by Africans; 3) What Africans fail to see, however, is that people do change. The person you knew changes based on environment, food and other socio-environmental/psychological factors. Mugabe of the past is no longer Mugabe of the present. As such, instead of trying to continuously talk sense to him, a decisive action must be taken because thousands are dying and we are clearly at an impasse or breakdown in communcation. Agreeing to do things and even signing agreements to that effect as he has does not translate into action. So, indeed I too join and say "Mugabe must go."

BTW, isn't it interesting that in insisting that White Zimbabwe's give up lands they were farming for Black Zimbabweans, Mugabe did not appear to set up the right training and structure for success by Black Zimbabweans? I.e. What was the equipment and level of sophistication used by White Zimbabweans? Were the Blacks trained? Were they able to meet production output in a timely fashion like the Whites? I am saying this in light of inflation in the country and ultimately the state of the country now.

N.I.M.M.O said...

Pity Mugabe.

He's a hostage to his own history. His own myth. The myth of the Liberator. The African Strong Man who liberated his people from Colonialism.

Now he must perpetuate the myth even if nobody but himself still believes it. He must live the myth. Even if it kills him. Even if it kills Zimbabwe.

He's a hostage to a group of greedy old men who make up his inner circle. Men who believe they own the land because they 'fought' for it. Even if Mugabe wants to leave, he cannot because he's beholden to those old men who were his comrades in the struggle.

Hangers-on and Parasites, I call them.

Mugabe reminds me in a way to Baroka in Wole Soyinka's play 'The Lion & The Jewel' in that he feels the need to prove his 'manliness' every time and in every discussion/ situation. He feels the need to be in 'control', even with inflation that has long spiraled out of control.

Pity Zimbabwe.

Hostage to a cabal that sucked her dry and like fastidious parasites have refused to let go even after they have sucked everything in her. Once Africa's Food Basket, now Africa's Basket Case.

Pity Zimbabweans.

Hostage to their own history. Beholden to a cabal who have long forgotten what it means to be responsible to them. I hope they are not waiting for a generation to die out before a Liberator who knows not Mugabe will rise from among them, because then the cycle will only repeat itself.

Anonymous said...

From Our Own Correspondent - Ian Mills Reporting from Harare - Tuesday, February 10, 1998 Published at 19:23 GMT

Mr Mugabe's political style has all the appearances of having its roots in African tribal culture, where the chief makes all the decisions and only the reckless answer back. His more severe critics maintain that he is dictatorial and at the same time remote and aloof. They say that this puts him out of touch with reality.

Against this background one could perhaps be excused for feeling anxious about what the future holds for Zimbabwe.
A lot of African so-called leaders were enraged by this news report in 98 and people still scream outrage when the white press point out the obvious. Mr Mugabe's political style has all the appearances of having its roots in African tribal culture, where the chief makes all the decisions and only the reckless answer back.
Enough already about "Africa's problems must be solved by Africans" even as South Africa seemed to be slowly rotting away. We should support any force that will help us do away with mad dogs. Africom comes to mind. And before anyone should go hot headed, please give your alternative.

N.I.M.M.O said...

@FemiB: I once had those same thoughts too. I mean why can't they come and borrow some of our NDA graduates here to show them how it's done. how much does it take to plan and execute a coup?

But then in a way, Nigeria is partly responsible for Mugabe and what is happening in Zimbabwe today. Obasanjo, as Nigeria's HoS in 1979 was instrumental in Mugabe becoming President in 1980 as against Joshua Nkomo who was considered 'too moderate'.

If you think Southern Africans are rather soft on despots and 28 years was a bloody long time, what of Togo where Gnassingbe Eyadema ruled for 33 years? Or Cote d'Ivoire with Houphet Boigny? And those were in West Africa.

In short, just pity Africa.

Anonymous said...

Sad situation... it seems like it is too late now... It will take 10 or more years to fix the issues in Zimbabwe, I dunno!

Africa ain't fixing jack, but I know Naija will try to do Big Brother and attempt something... The Ideal thing to do is to get Mugabe out of there and send troops in to Zimbabwe to start rebuilding the country. Then select an interim government and hold an election 6 years later. Just like America did in Iraq... Mugabe is evil, how can he sit there and witness the country that he is the leader of print a 200 Million Dollar (Zimbabwe) note worth only $28 (US)...
He is going Mad... they need to get rid of the dude and take over the country since no one has successfully overthrown his government...
The question is, Who will Fund the Intervention?... It will cost a truck load of money

io said...

ZIMBABWE! i av thot of the FemiB solution for a few african leaders at different times. but then again who would replace him after that had been carried out? he has extinguished every light that could possibly replace his darkness.

joicee said...

Sorry.. I have to be pessimistic on this one....Mugabe will be holding on to power until the death.

This is a man that wined and dined with the queen of England and other major dignitaries, they were all friends and then all of a sudden Mugabe embarks on a plan ...his illfated Land distribution...taking the land from the whites and giving it to the natives but somewhere in all this something went wrong...

Tempers flew and he become ostracised by the west. But the thing is Mugabe is so selfish that he is not even thinking of his people and the torture that he put them through for years now.

Right now there is an article on the bbc website where Mugabe is called a 21th century hitler by a south african clergyman...and there are calls for him to step down by the Archbishop of york...me thinks the story has just begun

Sorry for the long post

Dee said...

I was just reading the news headlines now and there’s one on Zimbabwe that quotes Mugabe as saying “Zimbabwe is Mine” and "I will never, never, never surrender"

He’s beginning to sound like a kid that won’t let go of a toy that is broken beyond repair.
It is so so sad! On top of the terrible humanitarian situation, cholera is festering. Trust me, cholera just won’t go away.

His mentality is beginning to be kinda reminiscent of the Abacha days. One wonders if his end would be like the aforementioned, where a cloud of suspicion still surrounds the story.

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