Robert Mugabe was one of us

A people’s obituary.

‘Every man has got a right to decide his own destiny,

And in this judgement there is no partiality;

So arms in arms, with arms, we’ll fight this struggle’

Bob Marley, Zimbabwe.

Freedom has a price, which is why many prefer the safety of bondage. But if Mugabe was still alive, I’d tell him: ‘Brother you’re right, you’re right, you’re right, you’re so right!’ A fighter has fallen, but the fight goes on! You did the hardest, the land is with the people now! The embargo too will be defeated soon. May you Rest in Peace Comrade. Thank you.

Robert Gabriel Mugabe lived a life of struggle. He relished a fight, of ideas and of politics, with wit and passion. He was exceptionally brilliant, well-read and vastly cultured. He made powerful enemies, for like he said himself, he wasn’t here to be a saint.

I will remember him for two achievements: For providing unrivaled education to his people, and reclaiming their land from white settlers, irreversibly! Retribution was brought to Zimbabwe for ousting the colonialist, and like a good founding father, he accepted to shoulder the blame of his people’s suffering. In the end he was vomited by his own, perhaps they understood that he had to be scarified for them to find reprieve, on that the jury is still out, but in the end they will triumph.

If the French have their De Gaule, Americans their Washington, brits their Churchill and Ivoirians their Houphouët, none of them was a saint. Zimbabwean independence was attained through war and bloodshed, land reclaimed through austerity and isolation. Such were the prices to pay and Comrade Mugabe never stammered, as Nigeria’s Sonny Okosun would sing:

‘Freedom is our goal, 

Africa is our home, 

We have risen,

Fire in Soweto!’

Many African nations are yet to find a fighter who will lead them through the painful but necessary recovering of their country and of their dignity. Most politicians eschew the question, for they have not what it takes. Comrade Mugabe faced it head on, he came out bruised, but standing with sword in hand, like King Shaka his predecessor!

Without Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe would still be called Rhodesia, a rich and prosperous colony. Where black families are made to work in their own farms and mines as slaves. Segregated, rationed, housed in ghettos and paid a pittance.Rhodesia would maintain excellent relations with the west but Africans would be unwelcomed, or as Bob Marley would say: ‘soon we’ll find the real revolutionary, cause I don’t want my people to be contrary…’

The people of Rhodesia would be insulated from the battle of Cuito Canavale and the sacrifice of Cubans, the contributions of Tanzania in training the military resistance, that of Mozambique in recruiting and arming political refugees, that of Ghana of in diplomatic pressure, and the ‘Mandela Tax’paid by politicians and the people of Nigeria in funding the anti-apartheid movement. Rhodesians would never have known the contribution of the entire African continent in the liberation of its people. 

Comrade Mugabe has turned the tables. Thanks to him, ‘we are not talking about revolution in sounds of whisper’, as Tracy Chapman would sing, ‘the Boer better run, run, run and run..’

And to those who criticize the senior comrade, I would refer them to a saying, by one of their leaders, perhaps the best: Theodore Roosevelt:“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Comrade Mugabe sent his army to fight the Rwandan Army on the battlefield in DRC. As a senior member of the SADC he was assisting another member – the DRC and that is ok. I am able to transcend that because Robert MUGABE elevated the cause of the black people, contributed to the liberation of South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia. He gave the people of Zimbabwe their land back. There are different levels of patriotism. I am Rwandan yes, but I am also an African and a black person. And as the last two I am forever grateful to Cde. MUGABE.

An ancient Rwandan saying goes:‘defeat is the only bad news!’ His resting was no bad news to me, for he accomplished your duty. His time on earth was meaningful: He put up an incredible fight against strong, much stronger opponents; He prevailed! 

He is the example that young Africans should emulate, He was a reincarnation of our ancestors, who believed death was better than bondage. His legend will live forever!

You fought the good fight, you dedicated your life to the cause of freedom. You rest today among conquerors, freedom fighters: Castro, Nyerere, Nkumah, Samora, Sankara, Cabral, Lumumba and Musinga; panthers in Wakanda! 

Today we mourn, tomorrow we fight – as you have thought us! 

Go in peace, go with God, fighter.

A luta continua!


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