Robert Mugabe, Freedom Fighter and First President of Zimbabwe Lives On

Robert Mugabe_4
Robert Mugabe (History.com)

One of Zimbabwe‘s great sons is no longer: Robert Mugabe, the first president of Zimbabwe has passed away. This was a man who tirelessly fought for his country’s liberation, and for the Black race as a whole. Some have called him an icon of liberation, and indeed he was!

Robert Mugabe epitomized the freedom fights of then Rhodesia, a British colony ruthlessly run by a white minority. This once beautiful place had been renamed after  Cecil Rhodes a white tyrant who committed the greatest atrocities in that country in the name of the superiority of one race over the other and capitalism. It was only befitting that a freedom fighter like Robert Mugabe should come up, and fight to not only reclaim the land of his ancestors, but also appropriately reinstate it to its past glory, that of Great Zimbabwe !

Flag of Zimbabwe
Flag of Zimbabwe

Few people have sacrificed so much for a fight for freedom. After criticizing the government of Rhodesia in 1964, Robert Mugabe was imprisoned for more than a decade without trial. Mugabe lost his then only child while in prison; the colonial government did not allow him to bury him (almost 30 years later, he went on to have other children).

Robert Mugabe embodied Africa’s struggle against colonialism. He was a courageous politician, imprisoned for daring to defy white-minority rule. Later on, he was vilified by the ‘international community‘ (now we all know that this means: parts of Europe + USA) for restoring their lands to Africans, because this attacked whites’ interests in his country. I am not sure how to this day, some people believe that it is okay for less than 5% of the population to own 90% of the land in a country which is not even theirs… that is beyond me… what about those who were born there? what about those whose land it is? Will it be okay if the few Africans who have immigrated to say France, owned 90% of the land there?… Now will we all hear about injustice!

Robert Mugabe_7
Zimababwe’s President Robert Mugabe chants Zanu PF slogans with supporters gathered at the Harare International Conference Centre in Harare, Wednesday May 3, 2000. (AP Photo/Christine Nesbitt)

Learning of the passing of Robert Mugabe, many world leaders have expressed their condolences… below are just a few.

Julius Malema of South Africa said, “I’m saddened by the passing of our martyr and giant of the African revolution cde President Robert Mugabe. Let’s continue the fight and protect his legacy. We must not allow our enemies to tell us how to remember him; we know our heroes.”

Joseph Kabila, former president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said, “We will forever remember the worthy son of Africa, who came to our rescue when our country was victim of a foreign aggressor. The continent has lost one of its pan-African leaders, a hero of independence.

Hage Geingob
Hage Geingob of Namibia (ZimbabweSituation.com)

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said Mr Mugabe had “played a major role in shaping the interests of the African continent” and was “a man of courage who was never afraid to fight for what he believed in even when it was not popular.

Hage Geingob, president of Namibia added, “… Robert Mugabe [was] an extraordinary revolutionary and tenacious freedom fighter who contributed immensely to Africa and Namibia’s cause for freedom.

Jerry J. Rawlings, former president of Ghana said, “RIP Comrade Mugabe. You lived for the dignity of your fellow black. Your African pride, dignity and audacity were unassailable. Africa has lost a bold and noble Statesman.

Cyril Ramaphosa
Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa (AlJazeera.com)

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa called Mr Mugabe a “champion of Africa‘s cause against colonialism” who inspired our own struggle against apartheid“. And indeed Robert Mugabe supported the fight against apartheid and tremendously helped the ANC in its struggle to defeat that monster called apartheid. Ramaphosa added that under Mugabe’s leadership, “Zimbabwe’s sustained and valiant struggle against colonialism inspired our own struggle against apartheid and built in us the hope that one day South Africa too would be free”. During the decades of our own struggle, Zimbabwe’s liberation movement supported our own liberation movement to fight oppression on multiple fronts. After Zimbabwe achieved independence, the apartheid state brutalised and violated Zimbabwe as punishment for supporting our own struggle” . Many Zimbabweans paid with their lives so that we could be free. We will never forget or dishonour this sacrifice and solidarity.”

Robert Mugabe_China
Xi Jinping of China with Robert Mugabe (Source: South China Morning Post)

In his condolence message, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China had “lost an old friend and a good friend.” Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Mugabe’s death was deeply mourned in China, noting that the former president opposed foreign interference and actively promoted Beijing’s relations with Zimbabwe and Africa. China described Mugabe as an “outstanding leader of the national liberation movement and statesmanwho firmly defended the country’s sovereignty, as African leaders termed him a “liberator” and “pan-Africanist.

What did we celebrate in 2013 in Africa?

Super Eagles lifting the trophy
Super Eagles lifting the trophy
Pretty Yende
Pretty Yende

There was a lot to celebrate in Africa in 2013.  Here are some of those things.

– In January, South African opera singer, Pretty Yende, was the first African to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.  You can watch her interview on BBC.

– On February 10, Nigeria’s Super Eagles won this year’s African Cup of Nations.  Stephen Keshi’s team made us all proud.

– In MarchFESPACO 2013 was a success and featured movies and documentaries from across the continent.

FESPACO 2013
FESPACO 2013

– On March 14, Uhuru Kenyatta won Kenya’s presidential elections.  These elections were the people’s choice, and Uhuru Kenyatta defeated the ‘machine’-chose guy Raila Odinga (Obama’s cousin); a very good example of democracy by Africans for Africans.

– In April, Cecile Kyenge became the first Black minister nominated in Italy.  Dr. Kyenge is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

– On 31 July, Zimbabwe general and presidential elections went peacefully with the full re-election of Robert Mugabe.

– In August, 12 political figures from Laurent Gbagbo‘s FPI were released in Côte d’Ivoire.  Among them was Pascal Affi N’Guessan, previous prime minister of Gbagbo, who was unjustly detained without hearing for 2 years.

Samuel Eto'o Fils 'Birth of a Champion'
Samuel Eto’o Fils ‘Birth of a Champion’

NoViolet Bulawayo was the first black African woman and Zimbabwean author to be shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize for her novel We need new names.

– In September, Samuel Eto’o Fils (Cameroonian and one of Africa’s best soccer forward) came out with an autobiographic comic book.  Birth of a Champion is the first comic book on an African football player, and will hopefully inspire many youths around the globe.

– In November, Cameroonian author Léonora Miano won the 2013 Feminina Prize for her novel La Saison de l’Ombre, which talks about slavery from those who lived after seeing their relatives captured.

Aliko Dangote
Aliko Dangote

– Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, vowed to build the largest privately owned refinery in Nigeria, which produces more oil than any other African country but must import most of the motor fuel and diesel it uses because existing refineries are dilapidated and inefficient.

Folorunsho Alakija
Folorunsho Alakija

– This year also saw two African women cross the billionaire bar: Isabel Dos Santos of Angola, and Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria.  Alakija is actually the richest black woman billionaire ahead of Oprah.

– Five (5) African nations won their tickets to the World cup in Brazil 2014.  The 5 countries are: Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria.

Elections in Kenya: a Great Win for Democracy on the Continent

Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya's fourth president
Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s new president

I had to talk about the recent elections (last week) in Kenya.  They were peaceful, classy, and above all democratic (i.e. the choice was made by the people, for the people).  In only one round, Uhuru Kenyatta defeated the ‘machine’-chosen guy, i.e. Raila Odinga (Obama’s cousin).  It was such an important victory for Kenya.  Kenyans actually worked very hard not to have a repeat of 2007-2008 violence, and succeeded.  It was a true example of perseverance on the part of Kenyans who realized that they were making their choice, not the west… and it did not matter that their chosen candidate had been summoned to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, because they had chosen him.  I am proud of the Kenyans for showing such class in the election of Kenyatta.  As usual, the poor loser Odinga wants to take Kenya to brink of demolition (as in 2007-2008, by making it about tribes) by filing at the Supreme court, but it would not matter, because the people have spoken! Long live Kenya!

He said “Today, we celebrate the triumph of democracy, the triumph of peace, the triumph of nationhood. Despite the misgivings of many in the world, we demonstrated a level of political maturity that surpassed expectations.”

Check out the Daily Nation, Standard Media, The Star on the victory of Uhuru Kenyatta and the road ahead.