(117): Robert Mugabe: A Brief Obituary
The death of Robert Mugabe marks the end of an era in the history of Africa. He’s, perhaps, the last of his kind on this wealthy but poorly governed continent. Most of his contemporaries were long gone and, some, even forgotten. However, Mugabe will be remembered forever. His name and that of his country, Zimbabwe, are somewhat synonymous.
I am convinced that the deceased meant well for his country and Africa at large. Doubtless, he overstayed his welcome and, of course, he was brutal in his handling of opposition and the white farmers. All could be forgiven, though. Many African leaders of his generation were no less harsh and autocratic. His, nonetheless, stood out because he doggedly fought the West and their imperialistic ideologies and policies. He also lasted in power way longer than the lots.
Mugabe, Julius Nyerere (Tanzania), Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya), Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), Nelson Mandela (South Africa), among other post-independence African leaders stood against the colonial brutes. Beside Nkrumah and Nyerere, the rest of them used force to liberate their people. Save Mandela, they all tried to ban opposition and declared their countries as one-party states. And other similarities, including their imprisonment, of course. Don't blame Pa Mugabe alone.
Zimbabwe was once highly productive and prosperous. Several sanctions pulled the country's economy down. The ageing Mugabe then lost control, and people, particularly his authoritative wife, Grace exploited the situation. But why now the impoverished nation still doesn't fare well years after Mugabe's ouster?
As a Nigerian and a passionate student of African Studies, I mourn the death of Mugabe. I wish we had a unifying, sturdy and educated leader like him in Nigeria who, however, was/is more democratic than him. We don't. All our founding fathers were ethnic and sectional. We all wish them well in the world beyond, though. Adieu!