Kenya News in Swahili and English

Mugabe the Dictator

Jamii reiterates its condemnation of President Mugabe’s violence against his political opponents in Zimbabwe. The most recent action of clobbering one Opposition member and blocking others from traveling abroad, is a true example of his mercilessness. Mugabe has been using State machinery especially his brutal police force, to systematically thwart any form of protests or complaints. The Opposition media is a case in point; journalists have been jailed and media houses attacked. He always claims the Opposition members seek sympathy from the West, when they are featured in the media talking about their suffering. 

Last week, there were a few informal reactions from some Kenyans in Stockholm, after Jamii had posted its condemnation of the beating of key MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) members. Interestingly, these Kenyans supported Dictator Mugabe, whom they see as the only courageous African leader who hurls insults to government leaders of the West. They also appreciate him for having initiated the ‘chasing away’ of white landowners in Zimbabwe, in early 2000. It is shocking that these Mugabe sympathizers have forgotten the suffering they underwent during former President Moi’s one party rule in Kenya. Many were forced into exile, thus leaving their properties, jobs and even families. 

Once a breadbasket, now a basket case 

Jamii acknowledges that Mugabe was once a great leader who put Zimbabwe on the fast track economically and the country had surplus food to export, thanks to the highly skilled commercial white farmers. It is true that these farmers owned large tracts of land, which should have been shared equitably with the majority black Zimbabweans. However, it was unfair to confiscate their farms by beating, looting their property and even killing some of them. Some of these farmers left Zimbabwe and settled in Mozambique, where their skills are now used to improve farming. Nigeria also took quite a few with the belief that they will improve their farming capacity.  

The Zimbabwe government should apply other fair methods of land redistribution. It is documented that Mugabe dished out the confiscated land to his friends and relatives. What about the majority Zimbabweans? They are languishing in poverty despite earlier assurances of land allocation. It is ironic that the Mugabe regime has attempted to recall the white farmers because food volumes have diminished since those clashes. Should we be happy that the food crisis is affecting black people who are the majority? Should we just laugh and cheer Mugabe when Tsvangirai (the Opposition leader) and his team are beaten up? It was noted last week that Mugabe paid a visit to his own sister who was being treated in the same hospital as the opposition leaders, but he never said hello to them. 

Corruption, greed and opulence

In 2003, Mugabe commissioned the building of his ‘retirement’ home at the cost of 72 million South African rand (almost 10 million dollars), while the country’s inflation was at 399.5% and fuel prices had increased by 500%. On 31/8/2003, the South African Sunday Times newspaper analyzed the country’s crisis, predicting that inflation would soon hit 1000%. Jamii and other media reported last week that it now stands at 1700%. By 2003 Mugabe had earned less than 1 million dollars during his 23 years of leadership. People therefore questioned how he had acquired millions of dollars to build his new 25-bedroom home. It is not certain he will retire; he plans to remain in power. 

The Sunday Times added that Mugabe’s (current) second wife had earlier built herself a mansion with money set aside to assist poorly paid civil servants. After a lot of criticism, the property was sold to the Libyan Embassy in Zimbabwe. 

Mugabe the perpetrator 

In the 1980s, Mugabe ordered the massacre of the minority Matabele people in his country, which cost around 20,000 lives. He was then a darling of the West and the British (Tory government) even sold him weapons. This terror was not widely publicized because it was insignificant to his successes, which had impressed the West. After all, the massacre was on the blacks and not whites. 

In the 1990s, Mugabe, just like many of his African dictators, felt the multiparty political heat which swept across Africa. He has since used all available means to thwart it. He has repeatedly used State machinery to rig the elections and remain in power. His misrule has earned him a travel ban to the West and economic sanctions. Currently, thousands of Zimbabweans suffer from malnutrition and lack of basic health provisions, among others.  

In 2005, Mugabe launched the controversial anti-human program called “Operation Restore Order”, to demolish informal settlements (slums) in urban areas, in order to improve security. This exercise left thousands of poor people homeless and jobless. Some might have died from lack of access to medication; one child was crashed to death by a bulldozer. The United Nations made a comprehensive report about this and estimated that 2.4 million had been affected. It is instrumental to note that slum dwellers comprise the majority of opposition voters; they pose a threat to Mugabe’s regime. 

The struggle continues and no matter what others say, Zimbabwe is heading for a second liberation, with or without Dictator Mugabe. 

Jared Odero 

Related info:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/columnists/columnists.html?in_article_id=418180&in_page_id=1772&in_author_id=244 

Zimbabwe food crisis: http://africantears.netfirms.com/foodcrisis.htm

MarchUTCbMon, 19 Mar 2007 15:40:51 +0000000000pmMon, 19 Mar 2007 15:40:51 +000007 19, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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