Letter from America: Remembering Mugabe: The killer of dreams!

Remembering Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s leader (1980-2017) originated from the February Movement, the brainchild of my longtime friend Webster Shamu.

I want to give credit to SAPES TRUST and Brother Professor Ibbo Mandaza for allowing Zimbabweans to participate in a debate, entitled, Remembering Robert Mugabe.

Remembering Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s leader (1980-2017) originated from the February Movement, the brainchild of my longtime friend Webster Shamu.

Shamu, like Sister Fay Chung, saw the lighter and more forgivable side of Mugabe, a politician, a scholar, and a pan-Africanist.

I spent ten years studying the career of Mugabe, resulting in the book: Life and Times of Robert Mugabe (2018).

Coming from the Zipra side, I saw the worst side of Mugabe, his unforgiving and unforgivable side; in short a thoroughly destructive character, who inherited the jewel of Africa and turned it into the begging bowl and the laughingstock of the world.

 Brother Shamu and Sister Chung do not have to change their views. I do not have to agree with their surmise. Five blind men went to “see” an elephant at the zoo. One said it was a tail and another said that it was a wall.

The prosperity and the achievements of the years 1980-1990 were partly due to Dzingai Mutumbuka and Fay Chung’s initiatives in education.

The second part was due to Zimcord- a development initiative by the European countries, which, according to  Chung, probably brought in US$5 billion in investment.

She, however, admits that most of that money was spent on food initiatives during droughts.

Mugabe’s greatest achievement, which was the brainchild of  Mutumbuka and Chung was the ideology of “education with work” and the doubling of school enrolment within five years.

 As an African American, I must say at once that the idea was borrowed from the great black educator, Booker T. Washington.

Every child must leave school with some idea and skill, whether it be horticulture, building, carpentry of home economics. There were other genius ideas, like school tree planting days, which  had these ideas been followed, would by now (40 years later) have resulted in a reforestation of Zimbabwe.

The Zintech (expansion of teacher education) was sheer genius on their part. 

Thus, my sister Chung and Brother Mutumbuka, were able to double the school going population in five years.

I salute you.

However, Chung confesses that there were parts of the wheel which were not thought of. Job creation for the most educated population in Africa was not in Mugabe’s repertoire.

In any case, these great achievements were abandoned after the Willowvale scandals which saw Mutumbuka leave for the World Bank and Chung sent to other missions.

The dark side of Mugabe.

  Here we reject the proposition that Zimbabweans did not see the atrocities committed against the Ndebele people, or that they were unaware of Murambatsvina (2005) which displaced 600 000 urban settlers, or that the British and the white settlers who supported Mugabe through these events were ignorant.

 Mugabe was a hater. Unlike Joshua Nkomo, he hated folks, had no friends, and all those who imagined his friendship ended in a bad way.

Mugabe was a trickster, par excellence.

Everybody who was a witness (and kept quiet) to these atrocities believed that he himself (herself) was the favored one. That is the essence of all tricksters.

Very often, I was asked, when I protested in 1983-1984: “Why are you opening your mouth? You have everything that you need.”

I was director of National Monuments and Museums.

I was in a  Shu Shine Bus No 84 in September 1983 somewhere near Zvishavane on the Bulawayo side when police and soldiers asked all passengers with Ndebele names to leave the bus.  I have nightmares as to what happened to them.

Sister Chung says that Mugabe never defined what socialism means.

Now, with hindsight, knowing that Bona Mugabe (his daughter) has 22 grab farms explains the nature of these phony Marxists. In one of my letters to the Sunday Mail, I called them Mercedes Benz Marxists (1983).

Today Zimbabwe’s  Gold Mafia have houses and bank accounts in Dubai.

Mugabe normalised the idea of ideological thievery.

Such a misfortune befell, Mutumwa Mawere, one of the most brilliant entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe, who, if he had been given a chance, could have become our own Elon Musk.

Employing 4 000 workers at Zvishavane Mines, the demands from Zanu PF were unbearable. Jealous of Mawere, government put him on a “specified persons list.”  A town of 60 000 inhabitants died with Mawere’s dream.

A Muslim butcher closed his business because on every national festival, Zanu PF operatives came and selected the amount of beef portions they wanted.

Those who were allowed to perpetrate this lawlessness, assuming that they were friends of Mugabe, did not fare well either.

White farmer and president of the Commercial Farmers Union, Guy Watson Smith, woke up one day to find neighboring white farmer Allan Dunn calling for help after a severe beating from war veterans. Dunn died soon after.

Smith had been assured by General Solomon Mujuru about his own safety.

Barely six months later (2002) Smith found himself locked out of his 1 400-hectare farm.

He was given 24 hours to leave with goods that he could carry in his lorry. He looked at  547 zebra and cattle, 600 wild animals, three water reservoirs and storage buildings that he had built over 20 years. Mujuru sold his goods and cattle for US$700 000.

When Smith’s aunt, Ms. Lilly, who was staying with them heard about the 24-hour notice, she fell sick and died.

But all those who supported Mugabe came to a bad end. The General is supposed to have died from a cigarette fire. Enos Nkala, an early disciple of Mugabe, died a bitter man. Morris Nyagumbo, ebullient and happy, died from fertilizer poison. Mugabe himself, was shamefully dethroned and died in lonely exile.

Nature does execute its own justice.

Dispossession, beatings, property seizures, closure of commercial establishments, introduction of worthless money, all became everyday occurrences. By 2020, as many as 3 million people had out-migrated.

What more proof does one need that Mugabe killed our dreams.

  • (Ken Mufuka is the author of : Life and Times of Robert Mugabe: A dream betrayed (2028) with Cyril Zenda. The book is available from Innov Bookstores in Harare and kenmufukabooks.com abroad.)


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