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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • The lies my President told me
    Tanonoka Joseph Whande
    August 26, 2013

    One more time, Robert Mugabe finds himself the centre of attention after “winning” an election.

    One more time, Mugabe cherishes being on the pedestal, hurling insults at imaginary foes at home and abroad but, at the same time, offering some form of reconciliation as if he means it.

    His speeches no longer mean anything because, after 34 years of listening to utter trash from this man, we have become such experienced listeners that we know how easy it is for Mugabe to lie.

    Mugabe has climbed on his high pedestal and is spouting a lot of nonsense about the great things that he and his government are going to do for Zimbabwe.

    We should be excited about this. After 34 years of failing to just improve on what we inherited from the colonial government, Mugabe suddenly has ideas that he wants to implement to get Zimbabwe back where it once was.

    I listened to his gruesome inauguration speech which, in essence, was not much different, in terms of agenda, hope and expectations, from the speech he gave after being elected Prime Minister in 1980.

    This is the much hailed speech in which he lied about “beating swords into ploughshares” and in which he lied about reconciliation.

    Said Mugabe at that time: “While my Government welcomes the mandate it has been freely given and is determined to honour it to the letter, it also accepts that the fulfillment of the tasks imposed by the mandate are only possible with the confidence, goodwill and co-operation of all of you…But you have to assist us by being patient and peaceful.”

    Can anyone tell me if Zimbabweans were never at any time patient and peaceful? Did the people ever beat up the government or it is Mugabe’s government that teargassed, maimed and beat up people?

    Hardly three years into independence, Zimbabweans woke up to find themselves in the midst of armed conflict between the government and a section of disgruntled citizens.

    It took Zimbabweans 20 years to finally send a message to Mugabe that they no longer believed in him and were not going to jump and do as he wished anymore.

    Thus, in 2000, Mugabe tried to sneak past the people a constitution tailor made for his own personal survival. And a national referendum was called to either accept or reject the proposed constitution.

    By 54.7 percent to 45.3 percent of votes, Zimbabweans rejected the constitution and Mugabe took it personally because, for the first time, the people had voted him down – something he did not expect.

    It was made worse by the fact that a fledgling political party, the Movement for Democratic Change, had been launched hardly five months earlier on September 11th, 1999.

    The MDC campaigned hard for the rejection of the proposed constitution and that triggered the coming out of the hibernating devil in Robert Mugabe.

    Just as much as he had been surprised by a rebuff from the nation, Mugabe, once again, surprised all and sundry when he took the microphone and gave a speech, reminiscent of his first speech as Prime minister on April 17, 1980.

    He was graceful in defeat and told the nation that he would abide by the will of the people.

    Of course, he did not.

    Just like the lies he had told in his 1980 speech, a few days after the humbling speech, the first farm was invaded by the Svosve community of Mashonaland East Province. A day or two later, a couple of farms were invaded in Masvingo Province and, like they say, the rest is history. The trend continues to this day.

    Since the first year of independence, we cannot forget the brutality with which the nation was governed; we cannot forget the thousands of unnecessary deaths.

    We cannot forget Entumbane and the resultant Gukurahundi.

    Never can we forget those who were abducted only for their decomposing bodies to be found in some bushes.

    Never can we forget those who disappeared and thrown into disused mine shafts.

    We cannot forget those who were killed for participating in electioneering just because they were suspected of supporting political parties of their choice.

    And for this SADC gives Robert Mugabe a standing ovation!

    It is a shame that while other African leaders are making genuine efforts to improve their nations, we have an aged dictator who has fallen out of step with trends of humanity.

    Many African presidents can never dream of emulating Zimbabwe’s approach to indigenisation or land reform.

    I dare the overly enthusiastic Jakaya Kikwete to try it; even Jacob Zuma, Uhuru Kenyatta and all those presidents who cheer Mugabe on while he is wreaking havoc on the nation and on his own people.

    Why is it necessary for Mugabe to kill a farmer so as to “repossess” the farm; a farm or immovable property which could simply be acquired by the stroke of a pen?

    There is no doubt that Zimbabwe, just like all countries in the world, requires land reform but Mugabe’s land reform programme was not ignited by genuine necessity to redistribute the land and benefit the people.

    After all, he, at that time, had had about 20 years to sort out a clear programme to redistribute the land, Lancaster House Constitution not withstanding.

    Farm invasions were set off as revenge after the humiliating defeat of the proposed constitution and that explains the brutality with which it is being executed.

    And while we are at it, if Mugabe denies you a 20kg bag of maize meal, what makes you think he will resettle you on a fertile compulsorily acquired farm? He won’t because those farms and properties are for his associates and relatives not for the so-called ordinary Zimbabwean.

    So much for land reform.

    His speech on Thursday was a shameful attempt to rekindle lost glory when the world believed in this man; when everyone wanted to give us a chance to prove ourselves. The problem, however, was that in 1980, we did not know Mugabe and believed him when he extended the hand of reconciliation to the white community and to political opponents.

    Said Mugabe on Thursday: “With the elections now behind us, we can now focus on rebuilding our nation which has been ravaged by illegal sanctions imposed on us by the West. If yesterday the pretext for imposing those sanctions was to do with a deficit of democracy here, today we ask those culprit nations what their excuse is now?”

    What a pathetic old goat!

    He wants to focus on rebuilding the nation but does not acknowledge who destroyed the nation in the first place.

    Secondly, what is “illegal sanctions”? Illegal to who? If Mugabe refuses to trade with a country somewhere, why should that be “illegal”, even if the reasons proffered are silly? Who decides illegality and based on whose law?

    At least Mugabe is aware of one thing: deficit of democracy. He should also be aware that the same deficit of democracy he is talking about is the reason those targeted sanctions were imposed in the first place.

    The heart of the matter is that the reason there is so much acrimony in Zimbabwe is because something is terribly wrong. Zanu-PF became too self-centered to be fair to our citizens and the last elections were just another milestone in the continuing misery of Zimbabweans coming from its own leaders.

    And, by the way, has anyone seen Morgan Tsvangirai? Is it really the right time to go into retreat? Shouldn’t he be assuring his followers and telling them to hang in there while the party leadership is doing this or that?

    Leadership qualities emerge when a leader finds himself in a hopeless situation…he has to think on his feet, act fast while encouraging his followers to continue moving or to take a tactical retreat. He is there with them and the followers never have to guess what should be happening.

    And we were asked to choose between Mugabe and Tsvangirai? God have mercy!

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