NewsDay comment: Africa unaware of Mugabe’s duplicity

via NewsDay comment: Africa unaware of Mugabe’s duplicity – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 4, 2015

Zimbabwean weddings are a wonder to most aliens. They are surprised families of the newly-married couples invite everyone including enemies to celebrate the occasion. During the festivities, everyone forgets their little grudges and partakes of the abundant food and drink.

This hospitality does not end at weddings. When the family of the sworn enemy is starving because it did not get a good harvest, food will be provided. Often the offending family will be given enough food to last until the next harvest upon which they would pay back.

They also allow a bit of “thieving”. If one is starving and happens by another’s field, he or she is allowed to “steal” just enough food to fill up. What is forbidden is for him or her to take away anything.

The world is now aware of the word “Ubuntu” although a lot in the West wrongly think it was invented by Nelson Mandela. “I am because you are” has always been part of the African outlook. Tanzania’s founding father the late Julius Nyerere wrote extensively about this.

Many present-day African leaders talk about it at international forums touting it as the bedrock of their political philosophies. But they don’t practice it.

In Zimbabwe, the contradiction is now stark. While President Robert Mugabe was being unanimously elected to the chairmanship of the African Union and stood on the pedestal to pronounce his vision for Africa, an Africa in which natural resources would be exploited for the benefit of indigenous people, back home the practice in his party was the exact opposite. Reports from around the provinces (see NewsDay lead story yesterday) show that his party supporters were denying their rivals food aid.

The ruling Zanu PF party has used food as a political weapon to coerce people to support it. This goes back to the days even before the emergence of the stiff opposition at the turn of the millennium. Then, the denial of food aid was aimed at all those deemed to be supporters of the opposition parties, particularly the MDC.

But this practice has now expanded to include even members of Zanu PF itself thought to support former Vice-President Joice Mujuru. Not that anybody should shed a tear for these poor reprobates; often they were perpetrators of this practice when they held the reins of power.

What should daunt the imagination of even the most loyal supporter of Mugabe is why the President is silent about this when he preaches, and is admired on the continent for, his supposedly pro-people pronouncements. When one speaks about a Presidential Input Scheme, one would think this noble idea is above party politics. The President of a country is for everyone including those who do not vote for him.

Many Zimbabweans are surprised at the admiration Mugabe garners wherever he goes in Africa. It is now patently clear these Africans who cheer are not aware of the little things he allows to happen to his own people which disgust them. These things most of the time go against the people’s cultural beliefs. One of these is that in no circumstance should anyone be denied food. Ubuntu does not allow it.


  • comment-avatar
    Tinomunamataishe 7 years ago

    I reckon they know about those things Mugabe has done and continues to do but they simply don’t care.

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    Simba Masimba 7 years ago

    The problem is most of these African countries are under the same or worse leadership such that they tend to like or admire lies they hear from each one of themselves , besides, what will they expect to get from a perenial failure like mugabe. He is everything dictators need, self praising, practising opposite from what he preach, dictator of all times, self centered and arrogant.

  • comment-avatar

    I don’t know about giving food to your enemies or inviting them to feast at your wedding. I don’t think that is done. What I do know is that African people would never sell water to anyone and would invite a passing stranger for a meal if he is stranded. Zimbabweans were known for their generosity and during my day when hiking you would never be asked to pay money. When it came to charity work and donations for the poor the white Africans were more forth coming.Black Africans in my area would help each other clearing fields for crops and harvesting crops during the harvest period. It was a scratch each others back scenario and every body benefited. Now it is each man for himself. During the meal meal ques would anybody ever give up a few bags of meal because they maybe had many? No. They would carry it home for resale and exploit those who had nothing. Selfishness has become a culture in Zimbabwe and our selfish leaders have made it worse. When we get leaders who care about their people then only can we get back to being who we were. Now it is dog eat dog.