Of Robert Mugabe’s Ballots and Bullets

Rejoice Ngwenya, AfricanLiberty.org

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rejoice NgwenyaPresident Thabo Mbeki and his infamous colleague Robert Mugabe are marooned on an isolated political island, under siege by diplomatic brickbats and flotsam; their old bodies quivering and shivering in cold winds of backlash from Mr. Mbeki’s unpopular proclamation that Zimbabwe is not a crisis situation. While Mbeki ponders thoughtfully on the next move to restore a badly mutilated credibility, Mugabe conspires with China to fend off a deluge of inevitable popular electoral discontent with Chinese AK-47s, bullets and Israeli water canons.

Meanwhile, 18 April Independence celebrations at Gwanzura Stadium was nothing more than a display of military force, a sure sign that the civilian centre can no longer hold at Mugabe’s ZANUpf camp. He is doing want he knows best, defending his political space with stolen ballots and Chinese bullets. In addition, Mr. Mugabe told us that “ZANUpf brought democracy to Zimbabwe” and roasted Gordon Brown, as predicted, for attempting to buy Britain’s way back to state house via ‘MDC puppets’. Harare residents were chided for voting for MDC whose agenda Mugabe claims is only one – giving  Zimbabwe back to its former colonial power wherefore he vowed the opposition would never ever assume political control of the country as long as he is alive.

Herein lays the contradiction. Mugabe’s narrow perception of democracy is one of a commodity that can be bought, sold and exchanged on the political market place. It is a preserve only for ZANUpf, and therefore anyone who encroaches onto this context must be a sell out.  We progressive Zimbabweans would now like to expose this gigantic act of archaic self-delusion.

Since 1980, Zimbabwe has been, in Mugabe’s own words, religiously holding elections every five years. He won each one of them up until last month, pumping in millions in USA dollars of state resources in campaigns, materials, publicity, vote buying – all in the name of ‘democracy’. In the process – that is from 1985 – thousands of innocent citizens have died in defence of ‘this’ democracy, mostly under the hands of Mugabe’s own repressive machinery. Therefore, if he accuses the British of racist hypocrisy during the reign of Ian Smith, what does he himself have to show for his ZANUpf brand of democracy in the past twenty eight years of his reign?

Moreover the ‘good’ president has completely got his facts wrong. Robert Mugabe was not even part of a rebellion within the Zimbabwe African People’s Union  [ZAPU] in 1963 that formed ZANU, but Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole. In 1965, Ian Smith rebelled against Britain by the Unilateral Declaration of Independence [UDI] and later proclaimed that Africans [like Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo] would not rule Rhodesia in a thousand years. Mugabe then enters the fray long after by deposing Reverend Sithole in a ‘prison room’ coup, before taking over the reigns from Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Front on April 18, 1980. To say ZANUpf shot  the Conservative party of Margaret Thatcher out of power in Rhodesia is political gibberish. All the British did, at Lancaster House and through Lord Soames, was to facilitate a democratic process that entirely benefited Mugabe, even though they were not the best of friends. So Mugabe and his apparently educated cronies should know by now that even if one does not like an election observer, one can still win that election.

The second revelation one can make is about the trinity of evil that is colluding to deprive Zimbabweans of true liberty. ZANUpf, the Judiciary and the Zimbabwe Election Commission are a diabolical axis of vampires whose agenda is to perpetuate fascist dictatorship. So if Mugabe is such a democrat, why are his institutions of governance so frightened by political competition? The more pertinent question really is: has he ever been loved by anyone enough to be voted for purely on a voluntary basis – the essence of true democracy? Of course not!. Since the early seventies, Mugabe has been at the helm of his party, ZANUpf. Does this mean no one, in these thirty-five years, has ever been good enough to beat him in an internal leadership contest? Perhaps history will one day expose the myth, but there have been questions raised about the ‘assassination’ of firebrand barrister Hebert Chitepo and the motor vehicle ‘accident’ of  military genius Josiah Tongogara, who many believe were ideally positioned to replace Mugabe long before he felt completely indispensable.   

The last revelation on Mugabe is about his humaneness or lack of it. The 1980s Matabeleland genocide was clear testimony that Robert Mugabe does not have a conscience that an average human being possesses. This is not about the length of his pre-independence incarceration at Wha Wha prison. If it were, then Nelson Mandela would not have been the saint that he is now. Eyewitnesses at Nyadzonia and Chimhoio – the refugee and military camps were Mugabe was based during the war of liberation – allege that he never shed a single tear for the hundreds of children that were napalm bombed by Ian Smith’s commandos. He dismissed the Matabeleland carnage merely as a moment of madness. Hundreds of young men were murdered in the Democratic Republic of Congo protecting the interests of a few of his cronies, some of who were named in blood diamond scandals by the United Nations. Operation Murambatsvina drove one million citizens to homelessness while Mugabe’s devastating price control decree in July 2007 left an entire nation on the verge of starvation. As you read this piece, scores of villagers have been tortured and displaced by Mugabe’s rogue elements rampaging in Zimbabwe’s rural areas as post-election retribution for voting for MDC.

Therefore, stealing and cheating in an election would hardly appear as an ‘event’ in Mugabe’s contaminated political dictionary. So while the world is screaming at him, he has sealed his ears and is now preparing to die in public office.