Robert Mugabe’s visit in Mauritius has sparked concerns among the traditionalist media on the legitimacy of democracy in Zimbabwe. First of all, there’s no such thing as a sustainable democracy in most African countries, let alone European countries. The growing tides of oligarchy and plutocracy have stultified the movement for socialism, giving precedence to callous capitalistic practices. Profits over human dignity, that’s the zeitgeist of this new era.
Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist since the proclamation of independence in 1980. Some of his nascent policies were highly humanitarian-from expanding healthcare and education to consolidating the economy. In recent years however, he prioritized the removal of white farmers to redistribute the land among the black Zimbabweans in an effort to boost black ownership, culminating into the US imposing sanctions on the country (yet another classic US move). These sanctions were geared towards annihilating Zimbabwe’s economy in the strange hope that they would finally embrace the white oligarchs. But Robert Mugabe didn’t yield to the oppressors. Instead his detractors launched a campaign to besmirch his rule and his legacy in Zimbabwe.
Those who are well versed in the history of colonization in Africa would know that violent land seizures were first triggered by the first European settlers in Zimbabwe, displacing 100 000 black people and phlegmatically claiming their lands. To say that Mugabe’s approach is misguided is to wilfully ignore the plight of the black people in Zimbabwe, whose resources were plundered relentlessly while their conditions worsened within their own country. Mugabe’s approval rating is 71% in his country, to say he’s not respected is a blatant lie.
Of course, most nationalistic leaders who dare to defy the US’s tightening grip on the world (the americanization of the world) suffer the same fate as Mugabe: they’re vilified in the international community, unreasonable sanctions are imposed on their countries to breed hate and resentment amongst the citizens and their legacy is tainted. But one should never forget the bloodshed the white Europeans caused in Africa lest we let the same thing happen again. The colonisers violated all existing human rights when they tried to claim Africa for themselves. When black leaders like Mandela and Mugabe clamoured for their countries’ independence, they were imprisoned and silenced. Why is it that the outrage isn’t about the colonisers’ atrocities but about the alleged ‘despotism’ of Mugabe?
The history of colonisation in Africa is a poignant one that leaves no room for equanimity, there’s nothing remotely positive about the bullying tactics the Europeans employed to suppress black resistance. In this era of mounting tensions between those wanting to establish a global rule and those resisting, let’s remind ourselves that the oppressors would never sympathise with our cause, let alone see us as sentient human beings.