Friday, 6 September 2019

Zimbabwe: The Grand Despot of Africa departs


Nothing to weep for
For a long time, I referred to Robert Mugabe whose demise has been announced by his family as the Grand Despot of Africa, entrenched as Zimbabwe’s first post-independence leader, he never transformed from a liberation struggle fighter into a statesman. [BBC]
When he was kicked out of office by a coup in 2017, he had already overstayed his welcome, impoverished Zimbabwe, overseen pogroms against the Ndebele in Matabeleland before he set on white Zimbabweans, seizing lands which probably with better political skill and status could have improved the lot of the majority even as the farmers suffered some material loss.
The state of Zimbabwe is in today is the legacy of Robert Mugabe, gerontocrats still hold sway clueless about what needs to be done to turn the ship of state around.
A failed leadership
There is very little to celebrate about Robert Mugabe beyond leading Southern Rhodesia to the new Zimbabwe, the many who fell along the way as his insatiable quest of ultimate power with the vehicle of ZANU-PF kept Zimbabwe from rising from colonialism to great prosperity, just because one man and his cohort of henchmen had an entitlement to rule and any challenge to his throne was met with unmitigated violence.
Three decades into his rule, Robert Mugabe would still raise his fist like a guerrilla leader and rail against colonial powers that had long since left things in his care, his claims to the right of Zimbabweans to govern themselves arrogated solely to himself as he presided over a corrupt enterprise that led to his wife, Grace Mugabe being labelled The First Shopper of Africa as his fellow countrymen were left on the breadline.
Smith and Mugabe both bad
When I wrote a piece at the passing of Ian Smith, the last president of colonial-era Southern Rhodesia in 2007, I inferred that the only difference between Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe was their race, every other act, policy, idea and implementation was literally the same, they were evil men.
It is literally impossible to mourn Robert Mugabe who died at 95, I could easily have replaced their names in that piece, and it would have read the same.
In 2000, Ian Smith said, “We have never had such chaos and corruption in our country, what Zimbabweans are looking for is a bit of ordinary honesty and straightforwardness.” Sadly, not much has changed in 2019.
Another parable of the talents
He went on to say, “We had the highest standard of health and education and housing for our black people than any other country on the African continent; that was what Rhodesians did. I wonder if we shouldn't be given credit for doing that.” This is not to celebrate white oppression, but it was a foundation that could have been built upon to put Zimbabwe in the class of one of the most prosperous countries in Africa with its citizenry not having conditions in their country used against them when they seek to travel abroad.
Robert Mugabe was given a country of great potential and talent, and he took it like the servant who was given one talent in the parable Jesus told in the Bible and buried it in the ground of his atrocious abuse of power. History must not him judge better for the realities of his misdeeds.
As false eulogies sound all over Africa, we must never forget, “Zimbabwe will remember Mugabe for his unrepentant racist attitude and the killing of thousands of innocent people.” This was said of Ian Smith, it applies to Robert Mugabe too. The evil these men did cannot afford me the basic good of saying – Rest in peace.
Let the accounting begin.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Doing what I do for love


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In my thoughts
Even as some wondered others did ponder as to what it was that brought a smile, a glow and a joy to my face. The unintended consequence of travel, a break away from the norm almost decided on a whim when I considered the possibility of regret if I did not act.
As the last year closed, there was so much going on, meetings, travel for work, consultations in hospitals and not a few until I made the decision I will stick with those who have a history in my care and wellbeing than sitting with a doctor who put me off, at first sight, his bedside manner as gruff as his look, my mind was made up.
In my mind
After the procedure, I could not fly for at least a fortnight, meanwhile, I had persuaded my nurses that I should switch back to the medication I was on since May 2010, this after submitting a 47-page diary of side effects and discomforts that were anything but adding to my quality of life.
Then, I was in Germany for business when I thought about the idea of visiting South Africa for Christmas through the New Year. I had been contemplating this for months, then I booked my tickets and flew out on Christmas Eve to Johannesburg.
In my deeds
I last had a summery Christmas in India at the Taj Mahal in 2011. Out at the clubs was where it happened, a sighting I won’t have dared ventured approached me with a greeting and the rest is becoming something of a whirlwind romance.
The song says everything and soon we’ll be together again.
In my world only you make me do, for love what I would not do. [Bobby Caldwell - What You Won't Do For Love Lyrics]