Having begun this series with a profile of darling-of-the-progressive-left, Margaret Sanger, we now turn to the inimitable Robert Mugabe, long-standing president of Zimbabwe. Although he is now 93, and close to receiving his heavenly reward, Mugabe’s tireless energy and desire to continuously improve his country show no sign of abating. It is hard to believe that he has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, shortly after it gained independence and ceased to be called Rhodesia.
“The only white man you can trust is a dead white man”, Robert Mugabe
With the benefit of hindsight, Mugabe’s presidential career can be seen as two distinct phases. In the first phase, he worked hard to win the trust of 20,000 white Zimbabweans, including 4,500 white commercial farmers who owned much of Zimbabwe’s fertile land. Perhaps naively, he saw these people as important to the stability and well-being of the country’s economy. He promised them protection and ensured their property rights. Although the whites were a distinct minority, they nonetheless ruthlessly exploited the overwhelming black majority, preventing the country from advancing, as happens in so many African countries today.
The second phase of Mugabe’s presidency was about liberating his country from the tyranny of The White Man, as we detail below; however, before he could do this, Mugabe had internal issues to resolve first. In 1982 Mugabe sent his North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade to the ZAPU stronghold of Matabeleland to try to reason with them. Alas, the negotiations failed to bear fruit and Mugabe’s soldiers were forced to take up arms. Over five years, 20,000 Ndebele civilians were neutralised, which, although necessary, gave Mugabe a heavy-heart. The racist West referred hysterically to this episode as “political genocide”. In 1987 Mugabe switched tactics, inviting ZAPU to be merged with the ruling ZANU-PF. This unified the country at last and, to popular acclaim, Mugabe reluctantly accepted to become the ruling president.
“I am still the Hitler of the time. This Hitler has only one objective: justice for his people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their rights over their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be Hitler tenfold. Ten times, that is what we stand for”, RoBERT MUGABE
We now come to the second phase of Mugabe’s presidency. For many years, native Zimbabweans had grown restless as white farmers indulged in luxury, refusing to share the wealth of the land, and being wasteful with the use of their resources. Eventually, Mugabe gave in to the people’s constant calls for a referendum to demand that the powers of the president be expanded, including the power to seize white land. Against all odds, Mugabe won the referendum and was swift in implementing the will of the people. His ‘war veterans’ – battle-worn men in their teens and early twenties – liberated the country’s farms from the white oppressors.
“The land is ours. It’s not European and we have taken it, we have given it to the rightful people… Those of white extraction who happen to be in the country and are farming are welcome to do so, but they must do so on the basis of equality.“, Robert Mugabe
The rest as they say is history. The lion now lies down with the lamb, and ordinary Zimbabwean families have food on their plate. Zimbabwe’s economy has had its ups and downs in the past decade or so, but the GDP figures do not lie. In the late 1990’s, the country’s economy had a GDP of only tens of billions of Zimbabwean dollars; by around 2007, the economy had expanded enormously with GDP counted in the many hundreds of trillions of Zimbabwean Dollars, a rate of growth not seen since pre-second world war Germany. Looking at the economic powerhouse Germany is today, we can only imagine how prosperous Zimbabwe will become if Mugabe continues to rule.