Robert Mugabe was one of us! A people’s obituary

‘Every man has got a right to decide his own destiny,
And in this judgment there is no partiality;
So arms in arms, with arms, we’ll fight this struggle’
Bob Marley, Zimbabwe.

Freedom has a price, which is why many prefer the safety of bondage. But if Mugabe was still alive, I’d tell him: ‘Brother you’re right, you’re right, you’re right, you’re so right!’ A fighter has fallen, but the fight goes on! He did the hardest, the land is with the people now! The embargo too will be defeated soon. May you Rest in Peace Comrade. Thank you.

Robert Gabriel Mugabe lived a life of struggle. He relished a fight, of ideas and of politics, with wit and passion. He was exceptionally brilliant, well-read and vastly cultured. He made powerful enemies, for as he said himself, he wasn’t here to be a saint.

I will remember him for two achievements: For providing unrivaled education to his people, and reclaiming their land from white settlers, irreversibly! Retribution was brought to Zimbabwe for ousting the colonialist, and as a good founding father, he accepted to shoulder the blame of his people’s suffering. In the end, he was vomited by his own, perhaps they understood that he had to be sacrificed, for them to find reprieve, on that the jury is still out, but in the end, they will triumph.

If the French have their De Gaule, Americans their Washington, brits their Churchill and Ivoirians their Houphouët, none of them was a saint. Zimbabwean independence was attained through war and bloodshed, land reclaimed through austerity and isolation. Such were the prices to pay and Comrade Mugabe never stammered, as Nigeria’s Sonny Okosun would sing:

‘Freedom is our goal,
Africa is our home,
We have risen,
Fire in Soweto!’

 
Many African nations are yet to find a fighter who will lead them through the painful but necessary recovering of their country and of their dignity. Most politicians eschew the question, for they do not have what it takes. Comrade Mugabe faced it head-on, he came out bruised, but standing with a sword in hand, like King Shaka his predecessor!

Without Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe would still be called Rhodesia, a rich and prosperous colony. Where black families are made to work in their own farms and mines as slaves. Segregated, rationed, housed in ghettos and paid a pittance, standing in the welfare lines, wasting time in the unemployment lines. Rhodesia would maintain excellent relations with the west but Africans would be unwelcomed, or as Bob Marley would say: ‘soon we’ll find the real revolutionary, cause I don’t want my people to be contrary…’

The people of Rhodesia would be insulated from the battle of Cuito Cuanavale and the sacrifice of Cubans of Castro, the contributions of Tanzania of Nyerere in training the military resistance, that of Mozambique of Samora Machel in recruiting and arming political refugees, that of Ghana of Nkrumah in picketing and diplomatic pressure, and the ‘Mandela Tax’ paid by politicians and the people of Nigeria in funding the anti-apartheid movement. Rhodesians would never have known the contribution of the entire African continent in the liberation of its people.

Comrade Mugabe has turned the tables. Thanks to him, ‘we are not talking about revolution in sounds of whisper’, as Tracy Chapman would sing, ‘the Boer better run, run, run and run..’

And to those who criticize the senior comrade, I would refer them to a saying, by one of their leaders, perhaps the best: Theodore Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

An ancient Rwandan saying goes: ‘defeat is the only bad news!’ Your resting was no bad news to me for you accomplished your duty. Your time on earth was meaningful: You put up an incredible fight against strong, much stronger opponents; you prevailed!

You are the example that young Africans should emulate, you were a reincarnation of our ancestors, who believed the death was better than bondage. Your legend will live forever!

You fought the good fight, you dedicated your life to the cause of freedom. You rest today among conquerors, freedom fighters: Castro, Nyerere, Nkrumah, Samora, Sankara, Cabral, Lumumba, and Musinga; panthers in Wakanda!

Today we mourn, tomorrow we fight – as you have thought us!

Go in peace, go with God, fighter.

A luta continua!

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