Zimbabwe and the African Tragedy

The Verdict By Olusegun Adeniyi, Email: olusegun.adeniyi@thisdaylive.com

There is a temptation to hail the outcome of the ‘military coup’ in Zimbabwe that eventually led to the ouster of President Robert Mugabe as a triumph of popular will. That would be a myopic reading of the situation. While the resignation came amid popular discontent fuelled largely by the military and a faction of his own political party, there is an inconvenient truth that we should not shy away from: In Africa, power still does not belong to the people!

Meanwhile, for the generation who know only Mugabe the dictator, it may be necessary to highlight the fact that he did not start that way. He was at some point in history, an African hero. At the risk of his life, Mugabe had led a bloody guerrilla war against the white colonial rulers of Rhodesia (as his country was then called) who jailed him for 10 years over a “subversive speech” he made in 1964. When he was released a decade later, Mugabe did not relent as he merely crossed into the neighbouring Mozambique to continue his struggle. With independence in 1980, he was elected the first prime minister and six years later, the president.

Mugabe’s first decade in office was marked by improvement in the lives of the Zimbabweans and he was well regarded across the world as a good leader of his people. But the moment Mugabe became consumed by an overriding ambition to stay in power in perpetuity, the problem started. He became intolerant and repressive while his land reform policy was marred in controversy.It didn’t take long before the economy collapsed and with it the value of the national currency. Corruption became endemic and by the time he left office on Tuesday, more than 80 percent of his country’s young population were unemployed.

However, the genesis of the crisis of Zimbabwe can be traced to 1979 when the Lancaster House Accords agreed to an equitable compensation in the distribution of farmlands in the country that were held by the British.Even when there were justifications for the policy, the British government refused to fulfil its part of the bargain and acting in collaboration with other western powers, used the issue to bring down the economy of Zimbabwe and ultimately, Mugabe.

I recall that a few days before the March 2002 election, the then Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Francis Sengwe (a friend of our own ‘Comrade’ Kayode Komolafe) visited THISDAY and he explained how the land issue touches on the pride and sovereignty of his country. “There are a few white people who individually own plots of farmland as big as the size of Imo and Abia states combined. Where is the justice and equity in that? Our parents suffered in the hands of these people. My parents worked in a tobacco farm owned by a white man and we had nothing; in our own country. President Mugabe is only trying to correct some of these imbalances and the British would not allow him to have any peace.”

What the foregoing suggests is that amid the global euphoria that has greeted the ouster of Mugabe from power in Zimbabwe, it is important to remember the hypocrisy of the British government on the land issue. At the end of the day, whatever may be the other sins of Mugabe, it was the mismanaged land reform, not the fact that he stayed too long in power or that he was a dictator that accounted for the challenge of his last two decades in office fuelled largely from Britain. That of course does not excuse the fact that he overstayed his welcome and became a nuisance.

As it would happen, the more the international pressure visited on Mugabe on account of the land issue, the more he became desperate about regime protection at the expense of the welfare of his country of 16 million people. Yet throughout, he was enabled by a class of other leaders especially those regarded as war veterans, who believe it is their birthright to rule Zimbabwe because they fought for independence.

To understand this power game better, we may have to go back to recent elections when a very unpopular Mugabe faced the greatest challenges of his leadership. For instance, before the 2002 general elections, all the senior military commanders in the country declared they would serve under no president except Mugabe. In turn, Mugabe signed into law an Electoral Act which gave the armed forces a legal role in national elections for the first time in Zimbabwe’s history. Section 17 of the controversial legislation allowed the heads of the “service commissions”(defined in the Act as the army, air force, police and prison service) to second personnel to serve as “constituency election officers, deputy constituency elections officers, assistant constituency elections officers and polling officers”.

Six years later, the opposition was far stronger against Mugabe. Following a presidential election held on 29 March 2008 believed to have been won by Mr Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), it took more than a month for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to announce that while Tsvangirai may have secured 47.9% of the votes against Mugabe’s 43.2%, there was no outright winner hence a run-off was needed. But shortly before that poll, slated for 27 June, Mugabe vowed that he would never accept ‘traitors’ taking over power in Zimbabwe. “It shall never happen … as long as I am alive and those who fought for the country are alive; we are prepared to fight for our country and to go to war for it.”

In pursuit of that agenda, military commanders and Mugabe’s hirelings went on the offensive against opposition politicians and due to the violence, Tsvangirai announced on 22 June 2008 that he was withdrawing from the run-off because, as he said, the lives of his supporters were in danger. The election went ahead as scheduled and even though Mugabe’s (Zanu-PF) ruling party lost its majority in the House of Assembly for the first time (as the opposition won more seats) he still went on to secure 85.5 percent of the total votes cast to continue in office.

In all the foregoing perversions of democratic will, Mugabe always had behind him the military commanders who treated him like a god. The real challenge for Mugabe, however, came when it recently became obvious that his young and ambitious wife, Grace, was remote-controlling him in a not-so-subtle bid to move from ‘The Other Room’ to the presidency of Zimbabwe. Following the removal of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, army commander Constantino Chiwenga had warned that the military would act if purges against former war liberation fighters did not cease. But Mugabe was too drunk in love to listen and he paid the ultimate political price for that.

In the tragedy of Zimbabwe was an arrogance that bordered on entitlement, almost as if the country belongs to a few men on account that they fought for independence. It was that same entitlement that fed into the coup that eventually ousted Mugabe. If ‘The Crocodile’ had not been sacked and there were no surreptitious moves by Mugabe to make his wife succeed him, there would have been no coup. At the end, the military commanders and their political collaborators, led by the man who has now inherited power, merely used the people to achieve a predetermined end.

Now that he has, by a sleight of hand, become the main man in Zimbabwe, I believe it will serveMnangagwa well to lead the cult of personalities within the ZANU-PF to outgrow their sense of entitlement.The immediate challenge facing Zimbabwe today is that of ensuring good governance, providing jobs for the restless young citizens, deepening democracy and fostering national unity.

I wish ‘The Crocodile’ the best of luck as he assumes the mantle of leadership in Zimbabwe.

The Book of Jonathan

A day to the public presentation of my book, “Against The Run of Play: How an incumbent president was defeated in Nigeria” in April this year, I got a call from the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, who said someone had given him a copy and that he had read it. After the usual pleasantries, he asked, “but why did oga (President Jonathan) say that about Stella (Oduah)?”

Since I didn’t know how to respond to such question, I simply allowed Anyim to talk. He told me of how people within their circle were angry that Jonathan simply threw Oduah under the bus by using her removal as a justification for his fight against corruption.

Although I couldn’t understand the point Anyim was making considering that Oduah’s saga played out in the public glare and President Jonathan merely echoed an open secret, I can now see the bigger picture after readingBolaji Abdullahi’s very insightful book, “On a Platter of Gold: How Jonathan won and lost Nigeria”. In the book, Oduah gave a counter-narrative which presented the manner in which she left Jonathan’s cabinet as a product of negotiation between the two of them. Excerpts:

“Did Diezani ask you to sack me”, she asked the president.

“No, she did not”, a troubled Jonathan answered. “But I am confused. Tell me what I should do now.”

“Why don’t you just announce it, since we have got to this stage? But if I go now, you would not get the credit for it. May be you should just wait and announce it with the rest.”

By the account that followed, President Jonathan actually waited and added the name of Oduah among a list of other members of the federal executive council who were said to be leaving to seek other political offices. What makes Abdullahi’s book rather fascinating is that his former cabinet colleagues provided a lot of background information that enriched the narrative. But it is also a well-researched book with penetrating insights on the factors that combined both to throw up Jonathan from the obscurity of a teaching job to the pinnacle of power and to throw him down as the first incumbent president to be defeated in Nigeria.

Although Abdullahi was a minister under Jonathan for almost three years before he was removed on account of politics and he is currently the spokesman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), he has produced a most scholarly work. Reading the book, especially against the background of the ongoing political developments in Zimbabwe, one cannot but agree with Mr. Mo Ibrahim’s summation that “Africa’s history over the last 50 years has been blighted by two areas of weakness. These have been capacity – the ability to design and deliver policies; and accountability – how well a state answers to its people.”

That essentially is the thrust of the blurb to Abdullahi’s book by Wale Adebanwi, Rhodes Professor of Race Relations at Oxford University, who put the whole narrative in perspective. The “selective outrage regarding some fundamental crises which members of the elite used in propelling themselves to power”, according to Adebanwi, “emphasises how the various factions of the Nigerian political elite are gifted in the art of the capture and recapture of power but largely vacuous in the art of building and sustaining a good society”.

  • You can follow me on my Twitter handle, @Olusegunverdict and on www.olusegunadeniyi.com where I have posted a March 2002 piece I wrote on Zimbabwe as well as other old columns.


  • moribund9ja

    Mugabe failed to groom a successor long time and relinquish power as the father of the nation.
    He has now paid dearly for that error.

  • American Abroad

    Zimbabwe presently inhabits an Alice In Wonderland realm: these days, it is possible to have 2 or 3 previously unimaginable things happen, even before mid-day lunch. Even recent history is rapidly being rewritten, heroes being vilified, liberators being daily outed as crooks, time-servers studiously being prepared for consecration, and important lessons being misconstrued.

    The truth of the matter is that British settlers actually meant to settle in Zimbabwe, not just exploit their vast resources, a sharp contrast to most of West Africa, where our freely-given “liberation” was afforded through the intermediacy of malaria and near-certain suicide on extended visitation. In Zimbabwe, a robust, long-lasting infrastructure of permanence was erected by foreign settlers, and the natives were actively diverted from education and other instruments of self-actualization, in order to maintain and nourish the status quo. Hence, the absence of any meaningful human capital at the dawn of Independence. Of course, if you are going to construct a Heaven on earth, you need slaves to oil the wheels. Upturning such a delicate and well-constructed balance takes fortitude, cunning and smarts. The incoming liberation government misunderstood that important stricture, and thus failed to balance political philosophy with economic viability. Thus, the Deluge.

    Independence unleashed a bruising fight for dominance between the major power blocks, especially the Ndebele (a serious, well-endowed and industrious, if somewhat opportunistic people, who like the Nigerian Igbo, have been estranged from Harare central politics since Independence, and from reality since, well, their son Nkomo fled into exile), Shona, and rarely, the Tongaan (as scavengers of remnant booty). Unfortunately, there was no organized nationalistic party, and even more telling, no aspirational or cultural elite; hence, national politics soon devolved into a popularity contest between the urbane (and ultra-nationalistic, who was somewhat reminiscent of Azikiwe) Joshua Nkomo, Robert Mugabe, Edgar Tekere (unfortunately damaged from the excesses of war, suffering from lifelong PTSD, tempered with recidivist alcoholism) and Ndabaningi Sithole. In truth, everybody lost in the ensuing carnage, as the resulting contretemps meant that liberal democracy had to be replaced by authoritarian plutocracy, as would repeat itself all across newly independent Africa. The West, finally fed up with the catastrophe Mugabe’s regime had become, demonstrated an understandable- but unhelpful- loss of patience, prudence and perspective in throwing away the entire soiled baby, dirty bathwater, soap suds, stained bathtub- and unbelievably, the caregiver! The sequelae was exactly as to be expected, and only too predictable.

    Mugabe probably loved his country, but did not have the wherewithal to provide “democratic dividends” in a reliable- and sustainable- fashion to his own people. By appropriating vast farmlands without the technology, know-how or aptitude to make it work, he only transferred a green elephant from the fabricators to the disposed of his nation. If he were more savvy, he would have systematically raised the cost of business (through taxes, amongst other fiscal but democratically acceptable strategies, often referred to as “gentrification”) by white farmers whilst simultaneously encouraging education amongst his own people, until they were in a position to claim some (but not all) of those farms, in say, 30 to 50 years hence. But then, delayed gratification has never been a particularly strong African suit.

    The politics of the moment is not so much anti-Mugabe, as the ancient warlord is still widely revered, even if not universally loved by his own people, but a grassroots anti-Grace movement, directed against his fun-loving wife, often depicted as a cartoonish figure (a cross between Turai Yar’Adua and Big Patience, quite frankly). She was variously known amongst the hoi polloi as DisGrace, Gucci Grace and, reflecting the recent decline in Zimbabwe literature manifesting as a deficit in suitable alliterative alternatives, Graceless and OverGrace. Make no mistake about this, is purely ZANU on ZANU crime. Grace’s cardinal sin was not having the diffidence and old world maternal instincts of her deceased predecessor, First Wife, Sally Hayfron. Listening to tales of her denouement from ordinary Zimbabweans, you’d be forgiven for thinking her favorite ride was on a broom. Regardless, the Coup de Grace (my sincere apologies) was the feckless scheme to have said Grace succeed her fast-declining husband, who at this stage, is given to bouts of catnaps during important state deliberations, as well as a million idiosyncrasies of the elderly infirm. Note that Mugabe’s ready replacement are the same folks that helped him run and impoverish his own country: new President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was the most notorious Mugabe enforcer; his differences with Mugabe were only tactical, not theological; his avatar, the crocodile, brings back sad memories of the futility of another interregnum- Ironsi’s regime. The now-lionized military has been too partisan for too long, protecting vested state (read ZANU-PF or simply, Mugabe) interests that it is now incapable of any degree of sustained professionalism, even it wished for it. The tribally-divisive electorate is on the whole, granularly stupid, almost as dense and obvious as the greasy anvil supporting the armored vehicle sitting atop Mount Harare. Nothing much is likely to change.

    Which, in a way, is just par for the course. This, my friends, is not yet Uhuru.

  • Curious One

    There is a curious narratives by Mr. Adeniyi on Dr. Jonathan: GEJ is always wrong; if not, how come there is always a new revelation about GEJ’s motives…so there is this phone call by Ayim, to “dispute” GEJ’s claim that he fired Odua for public good.

    There is an analyses of a book by Abdulahi in order to dispute GEJ who has recently brought very intimidating evidence to dispute Tinubu’s wild claims.

    I had thought that Mr. Adeniyi will also analyse the other “book of Jonathan” by Reno Omokri (an international best seller). abi the facts has also deserted Mr. Adeniyi with the speed of Hussain Bolt ?

    • share Idea

      Adeniyi have never come to terms that GEJ had to take when his boss died, and have never hidden his hatred for GEJ. Imagine, every now and then telling us about unsubstantiated gossips without any efforts to hear from other people.

      • Iskacountryman

        adeniyi is a storyteller…

  • Seton During

    Too many people seem to have forgotten Joshua Nkomo the Zimbabwean who was the real liberator of Southern Rhodesia eclipsed by Robert Mugabe due to our practising democracy by FTPT!
    Too many of us continue to be successfully miss-educated that democracy must be practised by FTPT(First-Past-The-Post) instead of the more ethical, rational, and pragmatic PR(Proportional Representation).
    Any African leader who sincerely wished/wishes to govern in the best interests of his African electors will be manoeuvred out by external and Non-African Interests either by financing a pliable opposition or military, e.g. Nkrumah of Ghana, Milton Obote of Uganda, etc.
    Other contributory factors include elected political leaders reluctances to leave office and power primarily because of dangerous risks of being charged and tried for financial and other crimes committed whilst in office and power; AND, MOST AFRICAN JOURNALISTS RELUCTANCES TO ADDRESS SUCH ISSUES – ADDING NOT PRACTICING TRANSPARENT ACCOUNTABILITY AND APPOINTMENTS OF NON-SYCOPHANTS INTO CRUCIAL OFFICES OF STATE.
    If you raise such issues on-line, corrupt editors send your input into moderation en-route for disappearance!
    Seton Olusegun During, London, UK. http://www.directcostscutters.com

  • chyke

    Mugabe wasn’t in the forefront of Rhodesia’s independence, but just a freedom fighter. That position belonged to Joshua Nkomo. After the war and political parties were formed, Mugabe eclipsed Nkomo, just for the reason that Mugabe was from a major ethnic group while Nkomo was a minority. Does this sound familiar in Nigeria? Sure does

    • Iskacountryman

      nkomo gambled and the ndebeles bled…

  • Jon West

    When I attended the Independence celebrations in Zimbabwe in 1980, one very sad scene was etched on my mind. While the outgoing colonialists were coming out of thier aged Peugeot 404 cars for the celebration, including the arch-rebel and colonialist, Ian Smith, the new Black liberators were bouncing out of shiny new Jaguar limousines. I remember the worst of them all Called Edgar Tekere, brash, super arrogant and obviously intellectually obtuse. There was also then Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe, very austere in appearance and uncomfortable in the opulence of his surroundings. In his first speech, he was very accommodating of the outgoing government and the terms of the Lancaster House Accord that helped him to power. However, an old man standing next to me asked a vital question- Why is he not talking about the land the whites stole from us?. There and then, I knew that trouble was ahead for this rather beautiful country.

    Mugabe is a clever man, but he also suffers from the dilemma of the African leader- a tendency to seek the approval of foreigners , especially the Western powers, and their validation. Mandela, if he lived longer, would have suffered the same fate as Robert Mugabe, because somewhere down the road of time, the people will start wondering about the dividends of Independence , if the same white business class still owned 80% of the land and therefore the resources above and below it. When Mugabe realised that history would not be kind to him ,if he left office without givng the land back to the people , he panicked and seized the land without any plans to hand them over properly to the people, instead creating a new black landowning class beholden to him but lacking the business sense to develop their new gifts from the state.

    If only African Governments can endeavour to create a real educated and knowledgeable populace that can actually participate in the exploitation of the natural resources endowments of this blighted continent, the richest and yet poorest continent in the world, then the narrative of the continent will change. If you are unable to genuinely participate in the exploitation of your resources, then you lose any bargaining power and can only take what the exploiter gives you.
    That is why of all the oil producing countries, Norway, a very technologically developed European country, has the greatest Sovereign Wealth Fund and are comfortable with their petroleum resources, because they are in complete control of the expoitation of this resource. Meanwhile even in Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Iran, oil producers for a century, the exploitation is still basically in the hands of western or Eastern oil interests. Africas problem is that it’s is the least technologically competent continent in every aspect of life and until that problem is addressed , Zimbabwe, South Africa, DR Congo, Nigeria, Guinea and all the other sorry sights of underdevelopment in the mist of plenty, will continue to scar the conscience of the world.

    Robert Gabriel Mugabe is just a symptom of a very debilitating disease, the inability of the African to take his destiny in his own hands , due to an excruciating inability to do the needful in order to exploit his resources for his own good, thereby becoming a permanent client of his competitors for global relevance. a really terrible sorry and frightening situation.

    • John Paul

      Of course it would have been better if countries like Nigeria – with all its “i too know” PhD’s – had the technological know how to exploit its own resources. But that is less than half of the problem

      The main problem – corruption – cannot be wished away
      “NNPC was established on 1 April 1977…NNPC by law manages the joint venture between the Nigerian federal government and a number of foreign multinational corporations, which include Royal Dutch Shell, Agip, ExxonMobil, Total S.A, Chevron, and Texaco (now merged with Chevron)….”

      “According to the Nigerian constitution, all minerals, gas, and oil the country possesses are legally the property of the Nigerian federal government. As such, the oil corporations operating in Nigeria appropriate portions of their revenue to the government, which accrues nearly 60% of the revenue generated by the oil industry in this manner”

      ” The revenue gained by the NNPC accounts for 76% of federal government revenue[1] and 40% of the entire country’s GDP. As of 2000, oil and gas exports account for 98% of Nigerian export earnings” – Wikipedia

      The main problem is what happens to our money after the oil majors -Royal Dutch Shell, Agip, ExxonMobil, Total S.A, Chevron, and Texaco – takes their cut (50% or so) and pays the rest – Nigeria’s cut – to the NNPC:

      1. “THE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, for decades a source of corruption and national shame…The industry has been very badly run for years. On September 21st a federal budget report said that the corporation had somehow failed to remit 647 billion naira (almost $5.2 billion) expected by the treasury last month” – Economist (27th September, 2007) ;

      2. “In a country in which oil brings in 76% of government revenues, small cracks cause big leaks. Audits by the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a body set up by the previous government, found that the accuracy of production figures varies widely depending on the purpose of the report in question. No proper metering tracks the output of crude oil, so no one knows exactly how much Nigeria produces or how much is lost in transit” – The Economist, Supra;

      3. “The Reconciliation Committee estimated unremitted funds, by NNPC, to be $10.8bn as at18 December 2013” – PwC Final Report on NNPC forensic audit 2015 ;

      4. “A special operation… in a building belonging to a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Andrew Yakubu in Kaduna yielded the recovery of a staggering sum of $9.7m [£7.7m] and another sum of £74,000 [$92,500] cash. The huge cash [pile] was hidden in a fire proof safe.” – EFCC, 3rd February, 2017

      The sad part of this story is that after the vermin in NNPC loots part of the money that is remitted to them by the oil majors – not to talk about their connivance in oil theft – the balance of the money that is paid into our federation account, as was prevalent during the years of the locust, is equally looted by members of the executive and legislature

      Here is how the story ends: when these vermin are outplay each other, in the looting game, the losers will start formenting strife, and tribal discord, among the masses in attempt to get the masses to turn against each other

      • Iskacountryman

        why is there stifling corruption in nigeria, and not in norway?

        • Jon West

          I am beginning to like you. Edmund Daukoru, former managing director of Shell Norway, former GMD of NNPC and then Minister of Petroleum, asked me the same question while he was the Petroleum Minister and the Chairman of NNPC. My answer was quite simple- the Nigerian political class, who actually dictate matters at NNPC, have no intellectual depth and can therefore not understand the idea of enlightened self-interest, like even the Saudis, Iranians and Indonesians do. Hence corruption without any limits and without any care for the future. To hell with Nigeria!!

          • Iskacountryman

            NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!…hell no…who you like?…no be me and you…o…nyamiri fa, with unadulterated wayo….nNOOOOOOOO!!!!

          • Jon West

            But you promised me three nubile Fulani maiden. Have you change your mind ?

          • Cleansignorance

            Jon West, you no go kill me with laugh o! So you self want some nubile Fulani maidens? Flattering is the highest level of respect. they say. You ain’t got nothing to do with Fulani maidens. The stink of cows and cow dungs to high heavens.

        • John Paul

          Nigeria will get there

          We must not forget that Norway, as a State, is about 1,145 years old, while Nigeria is only 57 years old. But Norway, like all developed countries, got to where they are on account of the agitation of the masses, and their courage to hold government officials accountable

          Remember that most, if not all, of the countries in Europe would not have been where they are today if not for Revolution that spread across Europe in 1848. Including Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, Hungary, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland, etc. And which even spread to Brazil https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutions_of_1848

          Nigeria was on the cusp of a revolution in 2015.

          What saved our oppressors was the regime change of 2015. But our very young and restive masses are still watching carefully – with their stones, guillotine and scope of their riffles.

          If the ruling elite do not maintain, and even escalate, the correction of the course that we found ourselves in during the years of the locust, history has taught us that Revolution is inevitable in Nigeria

          Until then, we must not allow the people that brought us to this mess, to use “misdirection” to change the fact like their behavior is the primary cause of our malaise

  • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

    This is another interesting but intellectually flawed ‘them vs us’ article.

    We Africans should wake up and stop dealing with issues emotionally. It has never served us. The difference between Mandela and Mugabe is one was clever and Mugabe was too clever by half.

    Outside it being white people, most of the land is owned by only a few people. Who do you think owns Nigeria in reality? Global ownership and advantages is no respecter of borders and just like the Brits and others by proxy own much of the productive land in Zimbabwe (they are now going to take it back btw), so it is they own the productive land in South Africa and even here in the Niger Delta. We Africans, through our leaders just get angry and fight the wrong fight.

    Even in Great Britain that bastion of democracy and good governance, less than 40,000 people own more than half of rural Britain. In America, the richest 1% own 40% of the wealth.

    What sensible Governments do is negotiate with capital and find creative ways of making sure that the rest have a decent enough standard of living and good enough quality of life. And most people are happy with that and will even support and fight and die to maintain the status quo – hence Armies. For example, the US Army will travel half way around the world to fight and die for the right of Energy and mineral companies to maintain their hold on the wealth from the ‘land’ of others. In years gone by, this was more obvious, today, it is apparently too subtle for our journalists and commentators.

    Even In countries where this global wealth has been concentrated, New York, London, Singapore etc, the locals complain that ‘foreigners’ have driven indigenous people away from their land.

    Global capital and ownership does not respect boundaries and just like the Chinese Government through their proxy companies own important and sensitive nuclear plants in Europe and hold much of America’s debt, so it is that British interest will seek to own and control minerals and resources in Zimbabwe as they do in neighbouring South Africa.

    This world is now controlled by global capital and not so much by Governments anymore. Presidents and Governments are representatives of capital and not as most people believe the other way round. The Federal Reserve, Americas Central Bank is PRIVATELY owned –
    so go figure! Governments like religions are there to manage and control the populace, by a combination of feeding enough crumbs to deliver a decent enough quality of life so that the people keep working and being productive and the usual ‘God said so’.

    It appears that Mandela understood this, which is probably why he got rid of his fiery Winnie Mandela (before she killed any more boys for collaborating with ‘white’ people) and Mugabe was articulate, urban but ultimately too angry and too stupid to understand the way the world works.

    Is this all right and fair? Who knows. Communism did not work either and only encouraged corruption. The Chinese and Russians have improved their lot and now promote a certain extent of free enterprise. Venezuelans and Cubans are still deceiving themselves and wallowing in poverty for it.

    Life is unfair just like all fingers are not equal, but we still make all those fingers co-operate and enjoy that co-operation the most when we use the hand to eat!

    • remm ieet

      There are all kinds of subtle alliances going on among states. This doesn’t imply they want blacks to be part of it. How do you keep the blacks out? By embarking on a project of sustained demonisation to make black appear too incompetent to join the game. It is a global ploy, a grand strategy to enforce our acceptance of our inferiority so that we do nothing about it. If you try, you get pushed back by their violent force. No they have made up their mind and they have their recruits in high places helping them to implement their agenda. They will not countenance black Africa joining the feeding frenzy. Trust me. China is designed to be their factory. Africa is source of raw materials. The West has convinced the “emerging economies” they can work together towards a common goal—-Get rich at the expense of Africa. It’s the only way they can justify slavery and maintain the our repression. For the plunder of Africa to work, some ‘insiders’ must be at work round the clock, sabotaging the efforts of everyone else. The usual suspect like to kill two birds with a stone. They maintain the same narrative about black inferiority and then hire friends to join them to plunder the continent. They have gone too far already. The rest is perambulation.

      • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

        I do not disagree with you.

        My point is simply that in this world, there are owners and producers and owners will maintain through violence if need be the status quo.

        Has the black man and Africa borne the brunt of this dynamic more than others? I do not know for sure. Whilst it sometimes feels like it because there is compelling evidence, I see the owner producer dynamic in other parts of the world.

        I also see like with Singapore and China prospective producer nations rise up and become owners. Some have questioned the emotional resilience of the black man.

        My other point is however the West intends our relationship with them to be, there is much evidence that we remain victims of the black on black crimes that our political leadership afflict on us everyday.

        In Zimbabwe the argument that the West is to blame for the suffering of Zimbabweans is spectacularly defeated because Robert and Zanu PF are the main reasons why Zimbabwe has not achieved its initial promise.

        • remm ieet

          Yes Michael I agree with you. I respect your intellectual approach to issues too. I know I took a hypersensitive view in respect of the discourses about the true nature of the Africa. The challenges facing us can really torment the soul. I have attended conferences where I interacted with erudite white scholars in my field. I have to admit we need a conducive environment to produce such people. Yeah, as you rightly put it, Mugabe overstayed and he and ZANU PF became the problem of Zimbabwe.

        • Orphic

          In the war, the first thing a battlefield commander seeks on contact with the enemy is situational awareness. This term covers tactical intelligence on the enemy’s numbers, strengths in terms of weaponry and geographical positioning.
          It is my view that Africans lack situational awareness and in contemporary times have retreated into self-blaming.
          My only objection to your “owner producer” view is that it is isolated in contemporary times and neglects a historical background.
          Such a historical background places issues into context where proper judgements can be made and in my words “situational awareness” can be achieved.
          Unfortunately, a treatise on the historical background of contemporary terms of trade or your “owner producer”view would be longer than I have the time to write or you have the patience to read.
          You bring in China and Singapore (and presumably the rest of the rapidly developing Asia) as justifications for your view. However, their experience with white contact is different from ours, in the same way that the South/North American Indians (or even the Australian aboriginal) experience, of having land continents snatched away from their hands, is different from the African experience.
          The Asians were farther geographically removed from white contact, such that their language, religion, cultural norms survived contact with the European.
          In fact while African countries are a patchwork of tribes forcibly conjoined without mutual agreement, Asian countries like Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, S. Korea, Japan are all modern re-incarnations of ancient Kingdoms. Thus destructive tribal competition and sentiment was absent and its easy to mobilise such populations into achieving development targets.
          In short, while the African wallows in petty politics, in reality tribal competition, the homogeneity of the countries of Asia permit them to concentrate on the higher ideas of economic advancement. The Asian recognition of sovereign homogeneity extended to Malaysia (Malays) expelling Singapore (Chinese) from its union. It is why the Rohingya are being expelled from Burma. Asian countries value unity of purpose and do not brook tribal based opposition.
          Leadership is not created in a vacuum, it grows within an intellectual environment (fertilisation) of ideas. Hitler did not invent his political thought but adopted Wagnerian myths and Nietzschian concepts of the superman. It took Wagner to express ideas dramatically and Nietzsche to express it philosophically.
          The history of continents, races, and kingdoms stretches hundreds nay thousands of years. At one time the white race were the most backward. Yes, surprising as it seems, a few hundred years ago in Roman times, our engineering excelled Germans were animal skin wearing, bear fat daubed tribes inhabiting the black forest, the Scots who produced Adam Smith, Hume and industrial giant Carnegie, were woad daubed barbarians, the Welsh, human sacrificing druids and the Scandinaveans who uphold themselves today as the “whitest of the white” in appearance, and morality were murdering, raping Viking coastal pirates.

          We pass ideas to each new generation or to use an agricultural metaphor, we prepare the land, in the hope that in our children it would find fertile seed. If the best template that you or your fellow travellers can offer each new generation of Africans is the descent into self defeating blame then you are individually at fault. If the best that your brain can produce is self defeating blame rather than ideas and insights (for use by the next generation), then it is you who has failed the task or obligation to that generation.

          You end with Zimbabwe, and you trot out a media derived narrative. The American Indian gave the world words of wisdom when he said and I quote “the white man speaks with forked tongue”. Contrary to most interpretations, this does not mean the white man is a liar, it means he speaks with two meanings such that his word cannot be trusted.

          It is the same with his control of global media and its overpowering narrative. Was Zimbabwe destroyed singularly by Mugabe? Again historical context is required.

          In brief, white man invaded Zimbabwe and settled the land by expelling black people using legal devices formulated by a legislative process that disenfranchised black people. Hardly democratic! Mugabe fights militarily for black enfranchisment and achieves same in the 1980’s. Britain agrees to pay compensation for seized land, however by the 1990’s Britain reneges. Mugabe threatens then seizes white settled land. Britain under Blair brings its influence on the US and EU to impose economic sanctions on Zimbabwe lasting 25 years.

          In my view the judgement on Mugabe is mixed, maybe he could have achieved his goal with less acrimony but he never deviated or compromised and I find the latter an admirable quality.

          • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

            Dear Orphic
            Thank you for the time you spent educating on the relationship between the developed world and Africa. Some of this I know, others I found fascinating and I thank you.
            I do not however retreat from my conclusion and as I stated elsewhere, Zimbabwe and it’s condition today is as a result of a number of ingredients. I have always acknowledged that the West have an ignoble impact on Zimbabwe’s sorry state and it is a matter of fact that the English reneged on agreements as they always do.
            My point is simple. Western skull duggery is not new and whilst there is a level of stranglehold on our affairs, I refuse to believe that it is beyond the wherewithal of creative leaders to upgrade the fortunes of their people. Mugabe and other African leaders find the time and creativity and determination to enrich themselves to the tune of billions of dollars but cannot spare a few hundred million to do good for their people. It’s like the pastors collecting money from their poor congregation in the name of the Lord and buying private jets. All I seek to highlight is the black on black crime where your first attackers as an African are fellow Africans.
            For all his angst at the West, Mugabe disenfranchised his people, led them to penury and visited injustice and murder on them. Yes there are barbarians at the gate but we must also highlight the barbarians amongst us who look just like us.
            Two terrible wrongs afflict the average African. He suffers from the attack from the West. But the blow that kills him is the one that comes from his brother.

      • Orphic

        I’m not sure of the truth in the details of your conspiratorial narrative, but what I can add is that it is historically and contemporarily obvious that the West operates on the basis of a racial manichaeism.
        This view sees its own superiority as built on a platform of subjugation by contrast. Contrary to the thinking of most black people, It is not because white people intrinsically view blacks as inferior intellectually or otherwise, but that their own superior (economic and otherwise) position is solely guaranteed by this contrast.
        Even the label the white world attaches to itself as ‘the West’, is a subtle hint at a theological philosophical framework. After all it is in the west that Sun falls or begins its descent. Thus theologically it is also in the west that the Sun is crucified.
        The christian gospels or allegories affirm that the son (Sun) of man is crucified and his garments divided. The history of the transmission of christian ideas from its true birth in the syncretic Alexandrian tradition as the religion of the oppressed and slaves, describes its adoption by roman masters and its corruption through false idolatory and iconography in order to put a Roman(white) face on the religion.
        The new Rome – the locus of western civilisation, is exemplified, not only by the architecture of its capital as the USA, and you can be sure that if anyone is being crucified (or lynched in the more appropriate US parlance) he sure as hell ain’t white.
        In this framework the crucifixion of the black person (by false accusation, self-recrimination,mental oppression, repression) becomes the blood or fuel from which the West obtains its superiority (scientific, technological, economic). How can we compete against a system that obtains advantage from our own exploitation? Copying such a system only leads to the current dysfunctional system, where an elite act as the ‘new white men’ above their black compatriots. A situation that results in a racial parody and self-ridicule.
        We ape and copy without analysing, thinking or engaging in historical philosophical research. If we don’t like one false doctrine… why, we can always go to the Arab to offer us the other, only this time rather than Rome being the object of worship it becomes Mecca.
        At end, whether we see it or not, it is on our shoulders that the West stands tall and it would do its damnedest to ensure that it maintains that position. The only reason it is able to achieve this is because it feeds our false perceptions, clouding us from the truth.

        • remm ieet

          You made my point sir

        • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical


          I suppose our debate here is about when exactly does the ineptitude of our leadership in Africa take over from the skull duggery of Western powers?

          I for one am clear about our realities, which is that countries and societies compete. A thief cannot get into your house if you lock the door. I do not therefore blame ‘white’ people who seek resources for their upliftment and well being of their people taking advantage of Africans who appear not to be able to defend their own wealth.

          As for the white supremacy argument, my team too would feel superior to the team we defeat everytime, so this is human nature. After all, dd white people get to earth before us? I suppose Anglo-Saxons also felt superior to the Indians and the Chinese who they colonized at one point too but that superiority gap is closing is it not?

          In this case of Zimbabwe. I accept that the ‘West’ helped ruin his economy by imposing sanctions. On the scale of what has brought Zimbabwe to its knees economically, where do you place the folly of Robert Mugabe and Zanu? If we interrogated his policies this last 37 years, it is not difficult to lay the blame at the door of the old man who appeared to be smart because he speaks well but was anything but – evidently.

  • Daniel Obior

    .A balanced view of the Zimbabwe crisis. Mugabe was a horrible dictator and this tended to be the focus, particularly from the viewpoint of the western world. However, the issue of land ownership is the crux of the matter. How and why only 200,000 whites should be allowed to continue to own 85% of arable land, in a country of some 16 million people. Many of the whites were dispossessed of the land by Mugabe after Britain failed to make available the money to compensate the whites. Annoyed by Mugabe’s action, Britain and her western allies imposed their punishing sanctions on Zimbabwe for over 15 years now, which crippled her economy.The sanctions are unlikely to be lifted before the West sees the land handed back to the whites. In essence, it does not really matter who becomes president in Zimbabwe. Things are unlikely to change even if a saint is appointed president, unless he agrees to hand back land. At the end of the day, the real issue is land. Not a benevolent democrat, nor a despotic dictator.

    • share Idea

      Same question when applied to Nigeria would reveal the same situation like Zimbabwe.

      • Daniel Obior

        Most certainly.

      • Edon B.

        Nigeria like Zimbabwe is suffering from entitlement theory. Civil war and Independent struggle mentalities respectively!