Mugabe’s UN rumbling — pot calling the kettle black


That the United Nations, especially some of its key arms such as the Security Council need reform, is not debatable. In fact, such reform is long overdue. For starters, having only one of the five permanent Security Council members exercising their power of veto and deciding for everybody on crucial world matters is not only archaic but preposterous. The world has moved on and so must the UN.

In the past, many were offended when Russia or China, two of the permanent members that enjoy the obnoxious privilege, blocked an important resolution simply because it was against the nefarious interests of some of their partners in political crime and iniquity. President Robert Mugabe’s regime and other tyrants around the world have benefitted immensely from this structural defect of the world body on a number of occasions. For this and many other reasons, the UN must be reformed.

However, the “standing ovation and rousing applause” Mugabe reportedly received at the African Union (AU) Summit might have different interpretations. Reading the correct speech is worth celebrating these days! When President Mugabe opens his mouth to condemn US President Barack Obama for “poverty and inferiority of black people living in places such as Harlem in New York, where education and health care are inferior”, one wonders if Mugabe flew directly from some secret State House in the Antarctica and landed at the AU Summit.


Is he the same leader who has presided over the legendary destruction of Zimbabwe’s health delivery system, which has reduced our hospitals to places of death? When last did he ever bother to visit hospitals such as Harare Central Hospital, United Bulawayo Hospital, Parirenyatwa, Mpilo not talking about Masvingo or Chitungwiza Central Hospital? How many hospitals still have basics such as bandages, pain killers, cough medicine or drip? What is the state of most of our schools today compared to the 1980s? Can anybody be proud of such a record? What kind of achievement is this?

Which high-density suburb in Zimbabwe today has regular running water, electricity and garbage collection? Is the president really proud of this? Isn’t it clear to you, Mr. President, that you have turned the whole of Zimbabwe into a monumental Harlem? How many parents in Zimbabwe today can afford to send their children to school? How many educated and skilled young Zimbabweans continue to roam the streets of our ghost cities, not because they are lazy, but because you and your cabal have destroyed their hope and made the jewel of Africa worse than Harlem?

Yes, President, you are very correct when you say “Africans are also human, not ghosts”. However, our biggest problem is that Africans are decent humans seemingly led by ghost presidents who think that power is everything! Did you listen when UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon advised “you should not use legal loopholes or undemocratic constitutional changes to cling to power?”

“Black people were shot in the streets and nobody seems to talk about it, but today instead they still want to talk about us”. How many black people were shot and killed at Chiadzwa under your watch? What happened to Itai Dzamara, nearly a year ago and yet nobody from your government seems to care despite a court ruling? How many black people in 2008 had their houses torched, limbs amputated, women raped, children abused and their men killed? What was their crime other than exercising their right to vote, the very same right you were claiming to be fighting for, which we knew then as “one man one vote?” How many black people had their houses bulldozed to rubble just a few days ago along your most familiar route when you visit Zimbabwe, the Airport Road?

As a teacher from the old school, I have no doubt that you taught many of your students “charity begins at home”. Indeed, it does. You should also remember “He who comes to equity must come with clean hands”. Given that you have already proclaimed your place amongst angels when you are finally called, I’m sure you will also recall some biblical verse “anyone who has no sin in their life should step forward and cast the first stone”.

Now let me remind you of things back home that need your urgent attention before you start fixing the world or rumbling about injustices of the United Nations;
In March 2013, the historic Constitution written by Zimbabweans was adopted, for the first time. A lot of effort and resources went into that noble exercise.
Nearly three years down the line, the Constitution largely remains on paper. Your government is busy cherry-picking what to implement and what not to. As a result, judges at the Constitutional Court have been turned into busy bees by a flood of cases that could have been easily avoided through full implementation of the national Constitution.

Soon, there will be challenges in court or on the streets regarding electoral reforms, something that is fully addressed by the Constitution, which you and your government refuse or resist to implement. How many times have Zimbabweans called for security sector and media reforms to the extent that they even put these into the Constitution? What have you done about it? Nothing!

President, you and your government need to deliver the promises of 2013 most importantly the 2,2 million jobs, you must pay our civil servants on time, every time, you must stop recruiting soldiers at a time when serving soldiers have literally nothing to do in the barracks to the extent that most of them now work one month on and another off, ironically, on full pay.

You must stop abusing our desperate school-leavers through the resuscitated scheme called National Youth Service, which is nothing, but another disguised preparation for a repeat of political violence, come 2018.

You must attend to the toxic succession issue once and for all. This is the biggest elephant in the room that continues to stall national development as those eyeing the throne focus on nothing but your imminent departure. They have been waiting for too long and some of them are getting too old while still on the queue and understandably are impatient.

Given these few examples, what morale ground do you stand on telling the world that the United Nations is treating Africans unfairly? If you want to complain about the injustices of the United Nations, you must come clean yourself. Your hands are dirty, very dirty.

There are many families that will never know where their beloved ones lie, because of the injustices of your government. Many families have never met their beloved ones for years, in some cases decades, that you forced into exile.

There are several families that no longer know what it means to have three meals a day, at times not even one, because of your gross economic mismanagement.
While it is unAfrican, inhumane and unchristian to pray for your death, the majority of Zimbabweans are certainly praying for your departure, at least from the highest office, so that our potentially great nation can have a fresh start, a new direction.

Indeed, the UN must reform and treat everybody including Africans fairly and equally but Lucifer can never be the right “prophet” to stand on the podium and pontificate about salvation. Yours is a forlorn attempt, Gushungo, a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black!

● Moses Chamboko is a pro-democracy activist and interim secretary general for Zimbabweans United for Democracy (Zunde). You may contact him at or