Of Mugabe And Mandela

By Ikenga Chronicles September 9, 2019

Of Mugabe And Mandela

Remi Oyeyemi

Robert Mugabe and Nelson Mandela represent two different approaches to liberation, freedom and leadership.

They are both freedom fighters who fought against racism and colonialism in their domains. Apartheid was not unknown to the two men and their fellow foot soldiers.

Their trajectories parted at the point where their peoples had to be empowered. The nature and the depth of empowerment availed their peoples at the very end differed very conspicuously.

But before going into that, the credit of the record of an African leader willingly leaving the office belongs to General Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo, not Nelson Mandela, as is being assumed in some quarters.

I agree that leadership should not be only about the leader. It has to be about the people and Mandela failed woefully in this aspect in his series of compromises that defeated the purposes of over a Century struggle. He left his people rudderless and abandoned them at the entrance into the negotiating room.

Compromise is a virtue. It should be cultivated. But it is only a virtue to the extent that it does not become a vicious lice sucking the blood off one’s brain.

When you compromise, the essence of what necessitated the need to come to the table ab initio should and must be protected at all costs. Mandela failed to do that.

During his 4 year Presidency, he was toothless, directionless and uninpiring. His economic policies sentenced his fellow South Africans, who were the real issue, into pangs of existence. Mandela’s failure is one of the major reasons for the manifesting anger of South Africans against their fellow Africans in recent attacks.

Now back to Robert Mugabe. What is being put forth seems to parrot the pouting of the imperialists and the greedy Western powers who were and are still upset that Mugabe had the guts to take back for his people, all the land that had been stolen away from them. That he dispossessed the racists and the thieves of their stolen landed properties could only be seen as “vengeance” by the vestiges of imperialism and their sponsors or masters.

For this, all the power of the Western media were deployed to demonize him and portray him as an undesirable leader of his people. Not only that they openly attacked him, undermine him and his policies and tried to strangulate his efforts and those of his Government.

But unfortunately for the West, his people stood by him because they understood where he was coming from. Even, during the Coup d’etat that removed him from office, he was treated with deference and dignity.

His people would overcome all these initial challenges. They would be extricated from the binds of the rapacious Western capitalists who see Africa as the land to be exploited.

If you are looking for the “merchants of poverty” in Africa, seek for the remnants of Apartheid, their Western enablers and their homebred collaborators.

For Mugabe, it was better to be hungry on your feet and have the inalienable freedom to seek your own food than to be on your knees being fed with crumbs in ignominy. Rise above the demonization of Mugabe by Western powers and their Press.

Mugabe, whether you like him or not, has put his people firmly in the control of their DESTINY without caring about whose ox is gored. This is where NELSON MANDELA failed and woefully too.

Compromise is good. But it is self defeating to compromise the ESSENCE of the struggle. What Mandela did was that he let down his people at the last minute in exchange for glorification and adulation by the West. He became commoditized and commercialized for his own personal benefit and at the expense of TRUE FREEDOM for his people.

Given the extant variables and the assessment of History, which we are all currently witnessing, Mandela’s contributions have been solomonic. It is a shame!