A Great African
A South African author and activist has described President Robert Mugabe as the greatest African Statesman alive today because of his stance in restoring dignity to Africans through returning land and resource stolen by Europeans through colonialism.
In a recent paper titled “Mugabe hero of African Liberation”, Andile Mngxitama said President Mugabe’s policies to empower indigenous people would be appreciated in posterity.
Mngxitama is a writer and community activist and the editor of New Frank Talk and author of “Fools of Melville”.
“President Robert Mugabe is the greatest black statesman alive today in Africa. Greatness here must be evaluated on the criteria of whether the person who claims the position of leadership of his or her people against colonialism, apartheid and white rule has been able to guide the nation to greater liberation, dignity and independence.
“If we judged only on these criteria, not on the whims of popularity gained from affability and praise by Europe and the US, then Mugabe stands head and shoulders above the rest,” Mngxitama said.
He said President Mugabe had shown his visionary leadership in pursuing land reforms adding evidence showed that over 200 000 households and their dependents had benefited from the land redistribution exercise contrary to claims in Western media.
“The strategic vision has been the return of land.
The return of the land is a foundation to liberation in countries that suffered settler colonialism.
“Zimbabwe under the leadership of Mugabe and ZANU-PF has now resolved the land question. In other words, they have returned land to Zimbabweans. Before the 2000 land occupation movement, only about 6 000 white settlers owned about 80 percent of the land. They controlled and dominated the agricultural economy.
“Today, the picture is totally different, 245 000 blacks now own most of the land; add their families and the number is likely to be millions of beneficiaries.
“This is contrary to the lie that only Mugabe’s cronies received land. New evidence shows that those associated directly with the ruling party occupy less than 10 percent of the redistributed land,” he said.
Agricultural production of most crops has been on the rise in the past three years despite numerous challenges that include lack of long term funding and erratic rains.
Mngxitama criticised the land policies in South Africa, saying the willing-buyer-willing-seller model would not help indigenous peoples in that country to access land.
He said criticisms of former President Nelson Mandela made by President Mugabe in an interview with Dali Tambo of SABC were therefore accurate as the policies he adopted had not helped the plight of indigenous South Africans.
“…his comments on Nelson Mandela’s legacy need to be taken seriously. Today it can be said with a measure of confidence that Zimbabwe is the only liberated black nation in Sub-Saharan Africa. This liberation has been archived through a long and ongoing battle, with lots of mistakes on the way.
“Mugabe has been able to maintain strategic inflexibility with brilliant tactical manoeuvres.
“… when Mugabe says Mandela has been soft on whites at the expense of blacks he speaks a simple truth. He knows that the cost of liberation is condemnation. To be considered a saint in Western eyes is a curse black leaders should avoid like the plague.
“The media has been biased in reporting on Zimbabwe since the height of the crisis, when land was returned. There was total silence on the underlying causes, such as the fact that after almost 20 years of independence Zimbabwe was struggling to get both the UK and US to honour the Lancaster agreement, which bound the two countries to provide funding for land redistribution. Both countries reneged on the agreement.”
In the interview with Tambo, broadcast on SABC on June 2, President Mugabe said Former President Mandela, who has been feted by Europeans, had been soft with the whites.
“(Whites) will praise you only if you are doing things that please them.
“Mandela has gone a bit too far in doing good to the non-black communities, really in some cases at the expense of (blacks),” President Mugabe said.
“That’s being too saintly, too good, too much of a saint.”
Mngxitama said despite staying 11 years in prison during the liberation struggle President Mugabe remained steadfast in his fight against colonialism until Zimbabwe was liberated.
He said the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the West were a response to the decision by President Mugabe and his ZANU-PF government to reclaim ownership of the resources from the white minority.
Mnqxitama also slammed the South African media for their silence on how President Mugabe has effectively used the state as an instrument to transform the livelihoods of ordinary people.
“There is another shocking silence in the South African media, on how Mugabe and ZANU-PF are turning the state into an instrument of transformation through a brave and well-executed programme of mass empowerment and economic transformation – the indigenisation programme.
“Harare has done the impossible. They have summoned such companies as Anglo American to cede 51 percent of their shares to Zimbabweans. Which is allocated as follows: 10 percent of the equity goes to the community where the mining activity happens, another 10 percent goes to the workers and 10 percent goes to some BEE (Black Economic Empowerment)-type consortiums and the state takes 21 percent into a national fund. This model is superior to the South African BEE model and it benefits the people more,” he said.
“Zimbabwe has regained her soul. South Africa remains a racist anti-black reality with a beautiful constitution where blacks suffer humiliation every day.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say Mandela’s leadership style, characterised by accommodation with the oppressors, will be forgotten if not rejected within a generation.
“On the other hand, Mugabe is likely to be a figure of liberation for a long, long time.”