How patriotic is Mugabe?

via How patriotic is Mugabe? – The Zimbabwe Independent June 2, 2015 by Dumisani Muleya

WITH political turmoil in Zanu PF over President Robert Mugabe’s volatile succession and the damage it is inflicting on his deeply divided party, as well as attendant ominous threats to national stability persisting, one cannot not help but ask whether Mugabe is capable of reading looming signs of trouble and taking an early exit to spare the country unnecessary pain.

If Mugabe is the nationalist and patriot he often claims to be, he should now take a step back and reflect seriously on his rule and its consequences.

At some point — and now is the opportune time — he needs to look at the bigger picture and stop being driven by personal interest and self-preservation. He needs to think about his own country first for a change, not his political survival.

Further Mugabe must now ask himself: Is this the Zimbabwe he envisioned and wanted when he joined the liberation struggle and when he was in jail for a decade and later at the frontline in Mozambique?

If he is truly a patriot as he would have us believe he must take stock of his rule and ask whether his protracted reign has improved his country and the people’s lot.

That Mugabe is a nationalist is not in doubt — he really believes Zimbabwe is a superior country, without question, but whether or not he is a patriot is questionable.

It is important not to confuse nationalism with patriotism, although they are not mutually exclusive.

Undeniably Mugabe sacrificed at lot, together with other nationalists, to fight for Zimbabwe’s liberation even though he never misses an opportunity to wax lyrical about his often exaggerated heroics of the past.

However, after that his 35-year rule has been evidently devoid of patriotic content — that healthy pride in your country which oozes progressive loyalty and the desire to ensure its welfare and prosperity, as well as conditions for its citizens to thrive beyond vacuous symbolisms and rhetoric.

It can be argued Mugabe is as nationalistic as he is not patriotic and internationalist. How do you have a patriot who runs down his own country to such an appalling level without qualms? Not only does he lack patriot substance, but the idea that nations should cooperate because their common interests are more important than their differences seems to elude him.

He is caught and frozen in a time warp. He needs to break the Cold War paradigm and unchain his mind to become pragmatic and see the world as a dynamic arena with complex matrices to pursue his nation’s interest.

But what of his record?

Even if we postulate Mugabe started off very well before things went wrong at some point, we can’t avoid asking why then is he not quitting given his disastrous leadership, policy failures and corruption which have ruined the economy, impoverished the nation and driven millions of citizens to be economic refugees in hostile foreign lands?

Besides, given the grisly human rights abuses his regime perpetrated why doesn’t he for stability and progress’ sake tackle and close the ugly chapter before his long overdue departure?

Instead of sitting down to fix his succession and the broken country, Mugabe has been gallivanting all over the world. As thing stands, both his national and party succession conundrums are in murky territory.

He has no clear succession plan, and uncertainty looms over whether a stable transition will take place. There is nothing remotely predictable about what’s going to happen after Mugabe. Given Zanu PF’s simmering internal strife, this puts the nation’s stability and future at risk.

All the while the economy has been on a tailspin, with companies closing down on an industrial scale, while people are being retrenched en masse. This has fuelled unemployment, already at stratospheric levels, and grinding poverty. Because of all this Zimbabwe remains vulnerable to perilous shocks that might trigger political instability and violence whenever he eventually goes. Is this how true patriots behave?


  • comment-avatar
    Ndonga 7 years ago

    How patriotic is Mugabe? More correctly this should read, “How Greedy is Mugabe?”.
    Sacrificing a lot for the liberation of Zimbabwe! Mugabe was involved in the fight for our liberation only to gratify his insatiable greed for money, possessions and power.
    What a sad joke Mugabe has proved to be. I have to think again on my uncle’s many tales told to us children when he was a warden at the Kwe Kwe jail when Robert and his cohorts were housed there. And I use the word “housed” advisably.
    Well he and the rest of ZANU PF hierarchy were not in the actual Kwe Kwe jail itself, but in a series of one person self contained flatlets within the jail grounds. Robert lived like a king there, and was visited daily by Catholic nuns who were lecturers at the then University of Rhodesia. They tutored him during these visits on the contents of the syllabus that he had to follow to get one of his several degrees. Can you just imagine how “hard” it must have been for poor suffering Robert to have to study in such an poor environment.
    But the story that made us then kids role about with laughter was when our uncle told us of the physical fight that took place between Robert and Enos Nkala. This was when they accused each other of taking the lion’s share of the contents of a food parcel sent to their group by supporters in the USA. What really made Robert mad was that Enos Nkala commandeered all of the chocolate biscuits that were Robert’s favourite. Robert won the battle for possession of these and scurried to his flatlet to hide away his chocs for a later bed time snack…can you imagine a bed time snack with only yourself taking part?
    Well that was our Robert…he has never changed…always helping himself to the detriment of all others. How we have all suffered from this terrible character flaw of his. Nothing will change until he leaves us all to face his maker.
    God speed that day.