By Sunday Oyinloye
On August, 11, 2017, I did a piece on the late President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe which I titled, “Mugabe: mystery of a life President”. In that article, I called the then 93 year old man, a president who will never die. At the age of 93 in 2017, he still wanted to contest the 2018 elections. Few months later, he was forced to step down. You might want to ask if there is a man who will not die. Late Mugabe like other dictators in Africa never believed there is anything like death, he never believed in seasons like many leaders in the continent who traded and are still trading with the future of their people.
Sometimes in July, 2017, his wife, Grace, challenged her old husband to name his preferred successor to end divisions over the future leadership of ZANU-PF. The woman who had great influence on her husband repeated the call two days later. Interestingly, Mugabe noted for his sense of humour said though some party officials wanted to succeed him, he saw no one among his subordinates with his political clout to keep the party united and fend off a challenge from the main opposition, Movement for Democratic Change.
He was quoted by Reuters to have said “A new man will not have the same stature and the same acceptance as I have managed to secure for the party over the years.”
The man who ruled his country since independence in 1980 until he was made to step aside in November, 2017 said he would not die. According to him “Though, I might have ailment here and there, but body wise, all my organs are firm and very strong”.
Today, his organs are no more firm and strong, but dead. That is a price every human being will pay. To the government and people of Zimbabwe particularly Mugabe’s immediate family, please accept my heartfelt condolence. May God have mercy on his soul.
The story of the former leader who died at the ripe age of 95 is pathetic, sad in the sense that he used the early part of his life to liberate his people, used the “afternoon” part to suppress the same people he liberated and used the “night” part to disgrace himself out of power because of greed and inability to accept the reality of seasons. How glorious would it have been if he was a true democrat? However, because of lack of foresight and lust for power, the once peoples hero ended the journey of life as ‘’villain”, a man who should have been celebrated even death allowed his early good journey in life to end in tragedy. Yes, Mugabe died at a ripe age of 95; it would have been a glorious exit if he had remained focused on the race.
In death, some Zimbabweans still see him as a great leader but majority sees him as a course to economic prosperity of their country. They see him as the cause of their economic misfortune. Can you blame them? Today, bread has become a luxury and many Zimbabweans are praying to God for the present difficult times to pass. Some of them who spoke with me on phone however disclosed that Mugabe’s era was far better than the present situation. They see their country as getting worse by the day.
There is much to lean from the death of Robert Mugabe by African leaders. They should wake up to the reality of seasons; they should serve their people and not oppress them. The one who has the greatest lesson to lean is the current President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom his people nicknamed Crocodile because of his brutal nature. At 77, he should know that one day, the people or nature will take power from him and he will either be praised or coursed by his country men and women.
Former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh had every opportunity to write his name in gold as a young man, but he chose an undignified path. He oppressed Gambians until he was disgraced out of power. Where is the former Sudanese President, Omar Bashir, a man who ruled his people with iron fist and fell from grace to grass, where is Sani Abacha , Nigeria’s former brutal military ruler?. He recorded a bad history for himself. With the death of Mugabe, the maximum rulers in West Africa should have a rethink; the tyrant in East Africa should know that everything has an end, same for the so-called leaders who take their people for granted in North and Southern African countries. They will either be remembered as heroes or wicked leaders. They have a choice to make. African tyrants must wake up to the reality of seasons; leaders like Paul Biya and others who go for the jugular ought to understand the parable of seasons. A word they say is enough for the wise
Before I go, let me give you two comments of Zimbabweans after the demise of their former President
Lindani Queenie Masuku, has this to say about late Robert Mugabe on her Facebook page: “If he couldn’t justify his ways of doing things or more less explain himself when he was still mentally stable to speak to the nation then he won’t be able to justify any of his sinful ways of doing things when he’s dead .It’s sad because he left so many questions unanswered and left a lot of people broken, bitter, angry and poor.
“In situations like this, I have learnt to put it all in God’s hands and trust in Him to help the healing process and hopefully the damage left behind. Only God can judge and decide what punishment one deserves. Mugabe your soul is in the hands of God, we can only assume if you are resting in peace or you are burning somewhere for all your deeds”
However Hellen Venganai sees Mugabe in a different light. Listen to her also on Facebook page
“I choose to mourn Gushungo, Cde Mugabe my own way. Understanding that some of his later decisions negatively affected us as a nation, but I will not ignore certain traits I admired in him that one day I hoped to meet him in person. I will forever respect him for speaking to bullies in international relations. I will respect him for enlightening me that I am as equally important as a white person. I will also continue to respect him for not being a flip-flop leader on certain issues especially on land redistribution. I will again respect him for being very eloquent. I have also learnt from his demise that those who cheer you the loudest might be your greatest enemies. Sleep well VaMugabe”.
With these two positions from Zimbabweans, the former President’s exit will continue to attract more positive and negative reactions from his people in years to come even as I warn again that African tyrants should remember the reality of seasons.