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Mugabe, power and the burden of history


Robert Mugabe / AFP PHOTO / Jekesai Njikizana

What goes around comes around. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The peaceful altercation of power from President Robert Mugabe by the Zimbabwean army few days ago should be softly, softly threaded and with cautious optimism. It is increasingly becoming a new normal in Africa to welcoming despotic leaders using popular uprising to usurp power from corrupt government only to become worse than their predecessors. The Nigerian Machiavelli, Babangida and the dark-evil-goggled Abacha are readily examples in this unfolding dispensation in a landlocked Southern Africa. Africa is fast consolidating uncivilised political experiment. As Harare becomes agog with jubilation, the expectant people of Zimbabwe who enthusiastically came out on Sunday, November 17, 2017 to support the Zimbabwean army should be cautious to avoid more of the same in their country.

Even though, some African countries are copycats of the western democratic norms. These western countries including the United States and Britain-that used to be the laboratories of democracy are fast becoming the laughing stock of the global community. The aching Brexit through referendum and the divisive and taunting 2016 elections in America are changing the political equations of these two powerful and rich countries.

Meanwhile, it would have been so graceful for Africa to use the unraveling events in the West to put the continent of Africa on the path of development and self-discovery, but it will not happen because of the nauseating repetitious history of African countries. The ugly history of African continent has been a collection and baggage of self-inflicted problems; and the collective failures of her leaders and the citizens. These avoidable problems of Africa was dated back to the expedition of the first colonial masters who forcefully took what was African rightful possessions. The complacency of our forefathers coupled with their primitiveness and ignorance paved ways for the rape of Africa and colonialism.


The egregious lifestyles, religiosity, selfishness and the hedonism of its current leaders, and the complacency of its citizens are paving ways for corruption and neocolonialism. African leaders have sold their birthright with pittance, an albatross that continues to dodge and define the African political values, and the negative nuances of her political elite.

Mugabe came to power in the 80s and he was purportedly viewed and expected to liberate the people of Zimbabwe. A revolutionary leader and astute politician, he confiscated the Zimbabwean lands from the White usurpers who had denied the people of Zimbabwe of their lands. He was seen as the father of Zimbabwe. He was a recalcitrant leader and very defiant of the western countries for their hypocrisy, selfish interests and divide and rule tactics towards the African countries. Mugabe has no modicum of respect for the neocolonialism of Africa by the West.

Mugabe was seen as a liberator of the African people, and an African renaissance and a true representation of the African struggles for African emancipation. As time went on, Mugabe became belligerent towards his people and the West. He started to lose the trust and confidence of his people. He began to perpetuate his reign in office at the detriment of his people. Ordinary Zimbabweans became pulverized by poverty and squalor. An average pauperized Zimbabwean citizen lives under less than one dollar a day. The country has etched to becoming a failed state.

The last straw that broke and severed Mugabe’s power, respect and support was the sinister moves to conscript his spouse, Grace Mugabe as the next president of Zimbabwe. ZANU-PF party members were enraged by the President’s defiant and reckless moves. A vote of no confidence has removed the aged man. The Zimbabwe African National Union was a party of which Mugabe was the first Prime Minister. It merged with African People’s Union, and retaining the name ZANU-PF and became the President from 1988. Previously held elections in Zimbabwe were seen as charade to consolidate and perpetuate the reign of Mugabe.


With ruination, Mugabe played into the noxious hands of the monstrous Western media who have seen nothing good coming out of Africa. Mugabe would have been African emancipator, but just Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Mugabe squandered those opportunities to change the political paradigm of Africa. In juxtaposition, Obasanjo had the unique opportunity to reconstruct a destroyed Nigeria in 1999 when he assumed mantle of leadership, but he lost it all when he consolidated a do-or-die-affair politics through alleged manipulation to perpetuate his reign in office. Africa is a menace to itself and to its citizens. Mugabe is a witty man whose witticism and constructive use of profane language, with every sense of clowning has made this writer to christen him as a ribcraker. Mugabe is a droller who provokes every sense of seriousness with dry amusement. He is also comically being viewed by the author of this piece as the Commander-in-Chief of African comedy. Mugabe is an interlocutor in the house of humor and commotion. His sense of humor will be greatly missed in the circle of comedy and amongst the African Diaspora.

Moreover, the Zimbabwean new leader should see this new development in Zimbabwe as a great opportunity to reinforce and forge a new path for peace, prosperity and good governance in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwean economy has been in quagmire for too long. The citizens have been at the receiving end with negative impacts. The new leader must begin a peaceful transition to true democracy. The new helmsman should realize the dictum that says: “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Zimbabwean army should avoid the pitfalls that are associated with corruption and power. The Zimbabwean government must be commended for its peaceful disposition and respect for the nonagenarian man. Mugabe must be made to go home and rest at his twilight age. The tumultuous applause and the overwhelming support of the people of Zimbabwe that welcomed the government should encourage it to set up a government of reconciliation, reconstruction and unity. All stakeholders in Zimbabwe must be allowed to participate in national discourse to return Zimbabwe to true democracy and prosperity.

Balogun wrote from Arizona, United States of America.

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