via Mugabe’s 35 yr rule an indictment, Makoni – NewZimbabwe 24/05/2015
AS THE continent celebrates Africa Day this Monday, the spotlight, especially among Zimbabweans, falls straight on the country’s long serving leader President Robert Mugabe.
At a ripe age of 91, President Mugabe still clings on to power.
This is in spite of there being several years after his liberation war contemporaries and fellow founding leaders on the resource rich continent relinquished power to younger and more energetic leaders with renewed vision for their nations.
The Zimbabwean strongman witnessed the formation of the predecessor Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963 and would later become leader of the once prosperous southern African country 17 years on.
But despite posturing as a pan-Africanist cut from the old cloth of Ghana’s Kwameh Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Mugabe is in fact viewed as a burden to his country, once hyped as the jewel of Africa later turned a laughing stock.
Despite transferring white owned land, the mainstay of the economy, into the hands of its native black population, the story of Zimbabwe is that of poverty, corruption, rights abuses, poll theft and hard to reverse economic distress.
Former aide to Mugabe and now opposition Mavambo/Kusile leader Simba Makoni says the nonagenarian’s continued old on power 35 years since 1980 is an affront to the founding fathers’ cause for a prosperous and truly united Africa.
“Since 1963 and today 35 years after Zimbabwe’s independence he is still there; it’s an indictment,” Makoni said in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com on the eve of Africa Day.
“As you know, he is not delivering any value to Zimbabwe, he is not delivering any value to Africa; so what is he still doing there apart from lining up his pockets and feeding his ego?”
The former SADC executive secretary said the current socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe was a bad example of what Nkrumah and others aspired for when they brought heads together and pledged a united Africa.
“We are at the bottom of the rung towards the vision of the founding fathers of the African vision,” he said.
“We are scoring badly in all areas. Our human rights record is very bad including our social cohesion and unity, the very things which the founding fathers of Africa were promoting.”
Speaking soon after becoming AU chair early this year, President Mugabe made a commitment to restore the pan African spirit pioneered by his peers.
But Makoni saw nothing beyond rhetoric from his former boss.
“In fact, we don’t have a united Zimbabwe, so how can we aspire for a united Africa. Our people are suffering, the economy has collapsed, the poverty among the people is worse than it was two decades ago,” he said.
On the overall picture in Africa, Makoni said a lot still needs to be done to attain an improved situation.
“The scorecard shows some improvement on both the human rights observance and promotion in a few countries, some economic progress, broadly more peace and stability but we remain a continent in crisis particularly a crisis of leadership.
“This is why l would give, overall, not a celebratory scorecard, we commemorate but we remain with a lot to do to realise the vision of our founding fathers.”
Similarly, Rugare Gumbo, another Mugabe liberation war contemporary now turned fierce critic, said African societies, Zimbabwe included, needed to embark on a democratic revolution to realise full independence.
“We need national democratic revolution to transform our societies from the current oppression that is to deepen the democratic tenets in our countries, in our nations, in our systems so that the systems are responsive to the needs of the people,” Gumbo said.
He added: “What we are confronted with right now are leaders who don’t care about the people, they talk rhetorically about empowerment, indigenisation, this and that, but on the ground people are poorer than ever before.”