Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

FRN Columnists' Corner - "Mugabe Tyrannus" By Ron Mwangaguhunga
Free Republic Network ^ | 10-6-03 | Ron Mwangaguhunga

Posted on 11/05/2003 8:47:57 AM PST by Bob J

Columnists' Corner

"Mugabe Tyrannus"

By Ron Mwangaguhunga

“In the tide of death from which there is no escaping, Death in the fruitful flowering of her soul, Death in the pastures, And pestilence, a fiery demon gripping the city” Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus

Although “President” Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is considered an international pariah, a paleosaur from the chaotic era immediately following European colonialism, he enjoys quixotic support among prominent members of the African American community. On October 19, for instance, Mugabe appeared on WABC New York’s ‘Like It Is.’ A public affairs show, ‘Like It Is’ is the longest running African American program in the United States. The interview, conducted by the show’s host, Gil Noble, occurred without a single probing question asked of Zimbabwe’s tyrant-in-chief. Perhaps in the interest of accuracy the show ought to be called ‘Like It Isn’t’?

Throughout the hour long interview, Mugabe made it a point to use the first person plural when making statements regarding the commonwealth of Zimbabwe. The regime character and the person of Robert Mugabe are entwined in Mugabe’s odd use of the royal “we.” “Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush -- we do not countenance any intention to interfere in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe,” challenged Mugabe at one point in the interview. Later, a jocular Mugabe, prodded by Gil Noble, added, “To me, (President) Bush seems to be an aggressive person.”

Hoe would Robert Mugabe define “aggressive”? Mugabe extra legal land seizures could be considered, at the very least, politically “aggressive.” This week, Patrick Chinamasa, Zimbabwe's Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, seized the farm of Richard and Cathy Yates after forcing them to leave; the crime: the Yates’ are white. “(Zimbabwe seizes) land because the British were intransigent – the Blair regime wouldn’t listen to our plea,” said Mugabe, defending the policy.

The land seizure issue has its roots in an August 1994 shift in policy, at the time Mugabe abandoned racial tolerance and announced that the government would no longer follow a policy of reconciliation between Zimbabwe and Europeans. The land seizure of the Yates’ property is not an anomalous: this past February, Peter Baker, another white farmer, refused to vacate his farm, Rocklands, and successfully challenged the seizure in court. Without any legal grounds, however, the Zimbabwe police went looking for him, forcing Baker to go into hiding for two months. When Baker returned, his farm was destroyed. There are approximately 100,000 displaced farm workers as a result of Mugabe’s quixotic land reform program. Before Mugabe they had jobs and got along fairly well with the white farmers, despite the massive postcolonial gap between rich and poor. “The tyrant,” wrote the late philosopher Seth Benardete, “is the true believer in the lie of the city stripped of everything that makes it noble and good.” (Seth Benardete, Socrates’ second Sailing, On Plato’s Republic)

Zimbabwe is the most HIV infected country in the world -- about a quarter of the adult population is HIV positive. In many urban areas, infection runs to 40% and the army, those numbers runs closer to 80%. If risk levels of AIDS in Zimbabwe remain the same, by 2015, AIDS will have caused the death of almost 52 percent of all boys who now are 15 years old in Zimbabwe, according to the United Nation's AIDS Programme in its latest population report.

Zimbabwe is also facing a massive food crisis. Refugees International warns: “the consequence will be a severe food shortage for 5 million Zimbabweans - nearly half the population - between now and the next harvest season in April 2004." Important crops like corn and tobacco production has shrunk by 50 percent. To top it all off, Life expectancy in Zimbabwe is poised to fall to 38 years. Predictably, Mugabe, 79, denies mismanaging the country and in turn accuses local and foreign opponents of sabotaging Zimbabwe's economy to punish his government for seizure of white-owned commercial farms for landless blacks.

Ironically enough, the Shakespeare Theatre’s 2001-2002 season included productions of The Oedipus Plays in Zimbabwe as part of a cultural exchange. At that time, the play incorporated elements of Ancient Africa, with African-American actors, costumes, and dances. The idea of having this particular Greek tragedy performed in Zimbabwe is fascinating, considering the tyrant Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s uncomfortable similarities to Oedipus Rex.

The roots of Zimbabwe’s massive structural problems are, like Sophoclean Thebes, embedded in the person of Mugabe. On October 20, 2003, The Herald (South Africa) reported that, “Nearly all government and quasi-government departments, as well as the public transport sector, had been ‘paralysed’ as the state fuel supply company had ‘run dry,’ the state press reported (this) weekend.” Mugabe’s Zimbabwe is plagued like Sophoclean Thebes. And like Oedipus, Mugabe is a sociopath who has squandered the public trust. Zimbabwe’s bleak social reality is the private desires of Robert Mugabe: Zimbabwe is a mirror of Mugabe.

The US is ready to assist in the transitional process in Zimbabwe. Writing in an Op Ed piece in the New York Times in June, Secretary of State Colin Powell called on countries in the region to overthrow President Robert Gabriel Mugabe:

“A brave man recently met with me and described how life in his country has become unbearable. ‘There is too much fear in the country, fear of the unknown and fear of the known consequences if we act or speak out,’ explained Pius Ncube, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Yet Archbishop Ncube speaks out fearlessly about the terrible human rights conditions in Zimbabwe, and is threatened almost every day with detention or worse.

“For hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans, the worst has already come. Millions of people are desperately hungry because the country's once-thriving agricultural sector collapsed last year after President Robert Mugabe confiscated commercial farms, supposedly for the benefit of poor blacks. But his cynical ‘land reform’ program has chiefly benefited idle party hacks and stalwarts, not landless peasants. As a result, much of Zimbabwe's most productive land is now occupied by loyalists of the ruling ZANU-PF party, military officers, or their wives and friends.”

And what was the tyrant’s response to the Secretary of State? “(Powell) should have spoken about the corruption of his own government,” Mugabe told Gil Noble, smiling, seemingly pleased at his own outrageousness. “It is a rare opportunity to talk to an African head of state,” said ABC TV’s Gil Noble, with just a touch of hubris, in conclusion. Now if only the people of Zimbabwe could conclude the tyrannical reign of Robert Mugabe.

(c) 2003 Ron Mwangaguhunga.

TOPICS: Editorial; Free Republic
KEYWORDS: africawatch; frncc; gungagalunga; mwangaguhunga

1 posted on 11/05/2003 8:48:02 AM PST by Bob J
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Bob J
Pius Ncube, what a cool name. Zim is toast. It probably doesn't even matter if the tyrant dies. Civil society is destroyed, suffering, starvation and civil war are sure to follow. Perhaps canabalism, mutilation and mass rape, like much of the rest of Africa. Tis a pity.
2 posted on 11/05/2003 9:24:41 AM PST by Jack Black
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Bob J
Just one head. Just one pike.

Pray with me.

3 posted on 11/05/2003 9:25:09 AM PST by headsonpikes (Spirit of '76 bttt!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Clive
4 posted on 11/05/2003 9:26:14 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (You may forget the one with whom you have laughed, but never the one with whom you have wept.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Jack Black
Perhaps canabalism, mutilation and mass rape, like much of the rest of Africa

The past, present and future for Africa.

Remember when Zimbabwe was going to be the model for the multiracial, multicultural future now that the mean old Rhodesians were gone?

Guess the model didn't work out so well.

5 posted on 11/05/2003 9:32:32 AM PST by Regulator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: *AfricaWatch; Clive; sarcasm; Travis McGee; Byron_the_Aussie; robnoel; GeronL; ZOOKER; Bonaparte; ..
6 posted on 11/07/2003 1:31:29 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinatus' Wife; All
To find all articles tagged or indexed using AfricaWatch, click below:
  click here >>> AfricaWatch <<< click here  
(To view all FR Bump Lists, click here)

Daily Reports Rhodesia

Rhetoric of blame is now a white lie (AFRICA, HEAL THYSELF)
The Daily Telegraph ^ | September 3, 2002 | Tim Butcher
"I remember Africa in the 1960s, everyone was filled with high expectations after independence. Forty years on, Africa is a series of kleptocracies, many worse off than they were under colonial rule. Almost all of the common people in relative worse shape to the rest of the world than they were before independence. Africans after 40 years have no one to blame but their own leadership for their problems. The leaders want to deflect blame to the West. The West's not buying it anymore..."

CIA -- The World Factbook -- Zimbabwe

First it was Rhodesia then SA now America paying the price of silence.

-A Capsule History of Southern Africa--

Parallels between Apartheid SA & USA today

South African Crime Report - linking the world to Zimbabwe
... Books & Videos. Degrees in Violence: Robert Mugabe and the Struggle for Power
In Zimbabwe This book tells the story of Zimbabwe from the hopeful era of ...

MPR Books - Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African ...

Title: "Cry, the Beloved Country" - Topics: World/South Africa

The Coming Anarchy
February 1994. The Coming Anarchy. by Robert D. Kaplan. ... All rights reserved.

-South Africa - The sellout of a nation-- ------------------------------------------ ... anyone who is doubtful about the situation there, or perhaps curious about how much goes unmentioned & unreported by the laughingly-misnamed "watchdog press" need only click the "keyword: Africa Watch" or go here:

To find all articles tagged or indexed using AfricaWatch, click below:
  click here >>> AfricaWatch <<< click here  
(To view all FR Bump Lists, click here)

FYI, I wrote this a while back:

I don't know what will happen in southern Africa beyond a general breakdown into chaos & anarchy... the old bugbear was the Soviets gaining control of the tip & choking our fleet's movements, coupled with control of the mineral wealth. Now it look like Quaddaffi is angling to take over Rhodesia and perhaps spread to South Africa.

At this point, we are 20 years too late, but we can at least bear witness to the debacle.

Bear in mind I am a partisan- I supported ( with reluctance ) the old white-minority governments in Rhodesia and South Africa, because I knew the Communists and their puppets- including proxies like Cuba- were angling for control of southern Africa.

One big problem we have is our media. They have tried to portray the situation in southern Africa as a clone of our own civil-rights struggles when in fact just the opposite was true. Africa is degenerating into chaos and anarchy under the guise of "liberation" and "one man, one vote." All while the media here turns a blind eye to what is really happening.

What I used to tell people was that while Apartheid was an onerous, offensive system, I would prefer being a black South African under Apartheid to being a person of any color under the old Soviet system- and I still believe those words to be true and correct. Given time, the old South African government would have worked out its problems- but it was not allowed to do so.

Today, we are seeing the results of this folly in Zimbabwe- or rather, we see what tiny bits the web and small elements of talk radio cover.

The whole story of contemporary Africa is a sad tale of tribalism, class warfare, kleptocracy, and massive corruption- and one the media here "won't even talk about" because it does not fit within their template of acceptable ideas.

I would also add, that both the press and entertainment arms of the media encouraged and supported the toppling of the old governments, i. e., they were in collusion, and complicit in the fall. Now that things have worked out at variance with their idealistic fantasies, they simply "don't talk about it..."

"Why do you keep posting this stuff? Nobody cares about Africa, anyway..."

Clive, Cincinatus's Wife, blam, myself, and a few others get asked that occasionally- we are among the keepers of the "AfricaWatch" columns, and we continue to post articles about what I believe will prove to be one of the great, tragic stories of the new century.

The mainstream press never publishes more than one Africa story a day, and it's usually some fluff or dodge around how grim the situation is over there.

But the truth is archived here on Free Republic, and I maintain that one day, when things over there are too awful to be ignored any longer, those who have eyes to see will read the stories here, and be appalled at the silence.

That is all...

7 posted on 11/07/2003 2:40:52 AM PST by backhoe (Just an old Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the trakball into the Sunset...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Bob J
so.. how do you pronounce 'Mwangaguhunga' anyway??
8 posted on 11/07/2003 2:50:51 AM PST by wafflehouse (the hell you say!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wafflehouse
9 posted on 11/07/2003 8:56:43 AM PST by Bob J ( them out!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Bob J
ok thanks.. you learn something new every day
10 posted on 11/08/2003 7:15:54 AM PST by wafflehouse (the hell you say!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: headsonpikes
Praying here.

My daughter talked to friends in Zim this week. No petrol whatsoever. The exchange rate has deteriorated from a ratio of 1,600 to one US$ in July to 6,000 to one US$ now. Inflation is now 100% a week.

One head, one pike is just a start.

The entire ZANU-PF cabal needs to be cleansed, just as in post-war Germany.

More pikes.

11 posted on 11/09/2003 12:03:35 PM PST by happygrl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: happygrl
More pikes bump.
12 posted on 11/09/2003 1:41:15 PM PST by headsonpikes (Spirit of '76 bttt!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: backhoe
13 posted on 11/09/2003 7:36:38 PM PST by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson