Zimbabwe Is Too Dear to Be Left to Mugabe Alone

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Photograph from AFP.

It isn’t the first time I have spoken, rather written, about Zimbabwe being too dear to be left to Robert Mugabe alone. It isn’t Mugabe per se but anybody who behaves just like him. It definitely won’t be the last time I am writing about this. I will keep speaking my mind regardless of whatever consequence may come my way. I am not afraid of human beings. I am not afraid of death. At the same time, I don’t want our country to be yet another Somalia, or Egypt, Chad, Central African Republic, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan etc. Assuming that you aren’t aware of this, there are at least fifty million people forcibly uprooted by war, persecution, civil disorder, and development displacement. The vast majority of these people live in the poorest countries and at least one third of these displaced persons are found in the Middle East and Africa.

South Africa, for instance, is currently the largest single recipient of asylum applications in the world. It has more than 300,000 asylum cases pending, half of them from Zimbabweans and a population of some 48,000 registered refugees (Crisp and Long, 2011:13-14). I am not surprised at all because we have in Zimbabwe men, trained in violence, who are prepared to use violence to maintain their control over citizens. Unemployment figures have reached an all-time high and the cost of living is unbearable. Factories and businesses are closing daily and the Mugabe regime maintains its strict control over citizens. Mugabe doesn’t want to abandon his aggressive foreign policies and is unwilling to replace totalitarian rule with democratic government. There can be no doubt therefore that the level of authoritarianism in Zimbabwe is central to refugee flows.

It is in light of the above that I advance the thesis that Zimbabwe is too dear to be left to Mugabe alone. This I am doing because I have a moral obligation to support anti-oppressive and empowering policies and practices, and to assist individuals, families, groups and communities in the pursuit and achievement of equitable access to social, economic and political resources and in attaining self-fulfillment, self-management and social well-being. For this reason, I am empowered to point out the social injustices of my day with severity. It would be an idle exercise of the imagination, therefore, to expect one to be silent when wealthy merchants, lusting for economic power, ruthlessly trample on the heads of the poor and defenseless; when public leaders (the ruling elite) revel in luxury and are corrupted by indulgence; when law courts are used to serve the vested interests of the elite and finally, when religion has no word of protest against the inhumanities that are being perpetrated in our society.

Mugabe has to be humbled by the fact that leadership is but a privilege we get from the people we lead and not a natural right from God. Leadership is not a title but action. It means responsibility and accountability. Leaders make the world a better place to live and they are champions because they fight for others. In contrast, Mugabe has made Zimbabwe a dangerous place to live. He has dismally failed to inspire in us the desire to contribute to the common good. I wonder the kind of future he wants to bequeath to future generations! The LORD must be sorry that He made him the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe! Obviously the same way he felt when he rejected Saul as the king of Israel (1 Samuel 15:11).

Mugabe is guilty of the most flagrant injustice and exploitation. He should be held accountable for his arrogant boasting, haughty pride and crimes against humanity. The victims of Gukurahundi, Operation Murambatsvina, and political violence haven’t received justice and they want it. It is high time Mugabe was trampled underfoot for the yoke of tyranny to be lifted from the people. I will state, here and now, and without any slightest hesitation, that Mugabe is a national, regional and international disgrace. Having followed Nelson Mandela’s funeral proceedings and his life in general, I have come to the conclusion that what lacks in most leaders is humility and the urge to serve others. Mandela’s life serves as an inspiration to many including me. We need to have more leaders of his calibre and less of Mugabe’s ilk.

But since all leaders are not Mandela-like, we shouldn’t fear to face them. We can only be afraid of God, the Cosmic King, Yahweh of hosts (i.e. of heavenly armies; cf Judges 5:20) because as his people, we are ultimately dependent upon him. God is King par excellence, upon whose sovereignty the destinies of all peoples depend. I am talking here about “God and not a human being (Hosea 11:9).” Yes, the God who completely transcends the human world and is therefore beyond all human analogies and categories. Although active within the human world, God cannot be domesticated within it or manipulated and controlled according to human purposes. He is the One who is God absolutely, before whom all beings stand in judgement and upon whom everything that exists is dependent. In His presence, nothing unclean, nothing unrighteous, nothing idolatrous can survive.

What we want is a new and democratic Zimbabwe in which it will no longer be necessary to have political instruction services (National Youth Service in particular) which will appeal for “the knowledge of our country’s history,” for the whole community will “know” our history, in the trust and tryst of a loyalty that cannot be broken. Ours is a time of deep distress and yet out of it the people will be happy. Mugabe lacks the proper credentials to speak for the people. His is a stubborn and rebellious heart. He cannot be trusted especially when considering the fact that oppression is heaped like a pyramid. He has shown no concern for the defenseless victims of society and because of this, Zimbabwe is too dear to be left to Mugabe alone. The struggle continues unabated! May God help Zimbabwe! May God help Africa!

Mutsa Murenge, a former intern at WYA Africa, is from Zimbabwe.