Mugabe: Hero or Villain .. End of a long reign

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Before taking a bow, Mugabe has made Zimbabwe the most literate country on the African soil..90 per cent literacy.

Nearing 93 years of age, revolutionary socialist leader of Zimbabwe Robert alias Bob Mugabe was showing no signs of stepping down.

There are reports pouring in for the past six hours or so about the beginning of his downfall as Zimbabwean military has put him in the ‘House Arrest’ and first lady and his wife, Grace, has reached Namibia.

A Zimbabwean army officer, Major General Sibusiso Moyo, went on TV after the takeover to say Mr Mugabe and his family were “safe and sound and their security is guaranteed”.

Mr Mugabe has dominated the impoverished country’s political scene since it gained independence from the UK in 1980.

One of the undoubted achievements of the former teacher’s 33 years in power was the expansion of education. Zimbabwe recently had the highest literacy rate in Africa at 90% of the population.

The now deceased political scientist Masipula Sithole once said that by expanding education, the president was “digging his own grave”.

The young beneficiaries were able to analyse Zimbabwe’s problems for themselves and most blamed government corruption and mismanagement for the lack of jobs and rising prices.

Leading Zimbabwe with iron-fist, the leader still has a spring in his stride and he is very eloquent. Some of his iconic statements are stuff of the legendary folktales across the African continent. He had been a good friend with Nelson Mandela. He is friend with current South African President Jacob Zuma.

In fact, he had spoken with Zuma even after being detained and told him that he was doing fine.. However, there is clear signal of the curtain coming down on ‘Mugabeism’ in Africa.

Bob as he is called by friends and observers shocked the White World by saying, The only white man you can trust is a dead white man. Our party must continue to strike fear in the heart of the white man, our real enemy! Was it not enough punishment and suffering in history that we were uprooted and made helpless slaves not only in new colonial outposts but also domestically.”

Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born on 21 February 1924. Mugabe was born to a poor Shona family in Kutama, Southern Rhodesia. His father, Gabriel Matibiri, was a carpenter while his mother Bona taught Christian catechism to the village children.They had been trained in their professions by the Jesuits, the Roman Catholic apostolic order which had established the mission.

Mugabe would grow up to become a revolutionary figure as popular as Mandela of South Africa in his legendary battles against the colonialism of the White Rule.

He previously led Zimbabwe as Prime Minister from 1980 to 1987. He chaired the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) group from 1975 to 1980 and has led its successor political party, the ZANU – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF), since 1980. Ideologically an African nationalist, during the 1970s and 1980s he identified as a Marxist-Leninist although after the 1990s self-identified only as a socialist; his policies have been described as Mugabeism.

Having dominated Zimbabwe’s politics for nearly four decades, Mugabe has been a controversial and divisive figure. He has been praised as a revolutionary hero of the African liberation struggle who helped to free Zimbabwe from British colonialism, imperialism, and white minority rule.

Following an education at Kutama College and the University of Fort Hare, he worked as a school teacher in Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia, and Ghana. Angered that Southern Rhodesia was a British colony governed by a white minority,

Mugabe embraced Marxism and joined African nationalist protests calling for an independent black-led state. After making anti-government comments he was convicted of sedition and imprisoned between 1964 and 1974.

On release he fled to Mozambique, established his leadership of ZANU, and oversaw ZANU’s role in the Rhodesian Bush War, fighting Ian Smith’s predominantly white government. He reluctantly took part in the peace negotiations brokered by the United Kingdom that resulted in the Lancaster House Agreement.

The agreement dismantled white minority rule and resulted in the 1980 general election, at which Mugabe led ZANU-PF to victory and became Prime Minister of the newly renamed Zimbabwe.

Mugabe’s administration expanded healthcare and education, and—despite his Marxist rhetoric and professed desire for a socialist society—adhered largely to conservative economic policies.

In Marxist theory, socialism (also called the socialist mode of production) refers to a specific historical phase of economic development and its corresponding set of social relations that supersede capitalism in the schema of historical materialism.

The Marxist definition of socialism is a mode of production where the sole criterion for production is use-value and therefore the law of value no longer directs economic activity.

Marxist production for use is coordinated through conscious economic planning, while distribution of economic output is based on the principle of to each according to his contribution.

The social relations of socialism are characterized by the working class effectively owning the means of production and the means of their livelihood, either through cooperative enterprises or by public ownership or private artisanal tools and self-management, so that the social surplus accrues to the working class and society as a whole.

This view is consistent with, and helped to inform, early conceptions of socialism where the law of value no longer directs economic activity, and thus monetary relations in the form of exchange-value, profit, interest and wage labor would not operate and apply to Marxist socialism.

In western capitals and the press, Mugabe has been derided as a dictator responsible for economic mismanagement, widespread corruption, anti-white racial discrimination, human rights abuses, since 1980, according to some human rights groups Mugabe has been estimated to have responsible for the death of between 3 to 6 million Zimbabweans , or nearly one-third of the nation’s population although some sources differ, one human rights group says hundred’s of thousands have died due to deliberate starvation, there has also been political killings so it could be has high as 1 million.

Between 1982 and 1985; at least 20,000 people, mostly Ndebele civilians, were killed by Mugabe’s Fifth Brigade. Pursuing decolonization, Mugabe’s government emphasised the redistribution of land controlled by white farmers to landless blacks, initially on a “willing seller-willing buyer” basis.

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Frank Huzur is a poet, playwright, biographer and editor of Socialist Factor. He has written political biography of Imran Khan, Imran Versus Imran-The Untold Story and The Fighter. He has also written political biography of socialist patriarch and former defence minister of India, Mulayam SIngh Yadav, The Book is titled, The Socialist. Frank Huzur has written biography of youth icon charismatic socialist leader and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav. Frank has also published his memoir, titled, Soho-Journey from Body to Soul and three plays, including the much controversially popular, Hitler in Love with Madonna. He is currently working on his poetry anthology and first novel, The Boca Harem. He is editor of international English magazine, Socialist Factor and its fortnightly Hindi edition.