President Mugabe continues to hog the lime light in as far as good leadership is concerned across the African continent. I would like to put forth reasons which I believe have made President Mugabe a distinguished individual in Zimbabwean politics, a consistent victor in elections and most importantly an international symbol of fortitude.
President Mugabe belongs to an almost extinct and yet unique breed of politicians on the African continent those who, through nationalism and an armed struggle, have led their people to freedom.
It is this factor in particular, that makes him not only a hero, but a living legend in Africa. This same factor and its historic complexity also happen to make President Mugabe a person who has perceptions, ideals and ideologies that are not acceptable to the West.
The effect of having historically experienced the Westerners at their worst makes him a robust man who is hardly swayed against his principles.
Roy Agyemang a British director who lived in Zimbabwe for more than three years assessing Zimbabwean politics is most famous for being quoted as saying; “President Mugabe is more than just a politician, he leads a cause, or as his supporters would say, he has become the cause itself.”
This brings about a second factor that apparently, President Mugabe has managed, in a greater sense, to restore African worthiness.
President Mugabe has convinced most Africans beyond reasoning that we are all equal as human beings helping the continent see beyond the scope of their history or their pigmentation, that there is so much more in defining who we are than just the country we originate from or the name we carry.
He has planted a seed which now is beginning to germinate in Zimbabwean minds that Africans can own businesses and run companies, they can stand for themselves believing in their own abilities and capabilities, a doctrine quite contradictory to the usual colonial mentality still held by some Africans that only Caucasians are able to make it in life.
President Mugabe is accused by the West of damaging Zimbabwe’s economy and for weakening it financially, but little credit is given to the fact that he is the only individual who has successfully fought against nominal independence.
This of course has had its toll on the country especially considering that the West are not known for their serenity when matters of retaliation are concerned.
President Mugabe has suffered all sorts of abuse by critics, but with seven earned degrees that cover different categories, he is not your ordinary African leader.
He is an educated and experienced leader who happens to use this British acquired knowledge against its creators. President Mugabe, therefore, succeeds in making the West uncomfortable.
In this light former British secretary Douglas Hurd once said; “He (President Mugabe) thinks like us”.
I would add that not only does he think like them, but actually knows and understand them.
A Brazilian political analyst I once had a meeting with jokingly pointed out that by educating the Africans, the British were ironically “digging their own graves”.
He added that if educated, those same Africans would most likely rebel against domination or manipulation of any sort from anyone.
President Mugabe is such an individual, not only is he educated, but being a former educator he has successfully created an astonishing 91 percent literacy rate, topping the list in Africa.
It is safe therefore to say he is not leading blind citizens, but a vast majority of people who make decisions based on knowledge.
Different economies in the world are powered by various resources and in Zimbabwe it is agriculture that drives the economy.
Indigenous Zimbabweans, about 10 million, in counting were given the unproductive land and decided to deal with this colonial imbalance.
When the Blair administration decided not to fund the land redistribution programme as was agreed after the Lancaster House agreement a war erupted between Zimbabwe and Britain.
His critics say President Mugabe was wrong and yet many others see him as a man, who at this particular point in history led the Zimbabweans through yet another revolution.
A situation which one should pay close attention to is that in 2008, President Mugabe ran for office in a country where the economy was fragile and the opposition was forcing him into a corner.
Zimbabwe was not exactly politically blossoming and pressure was mounting on him, but he never surrendered, not once. It is this indescribable perseverance and astonishing ability to stand against all odds that he has which has led me to write this letter.
I am in my mid-20s and I am inspired by this man and the benefits of the land reform program which are beginning to show. I believe I am not alone in this, and that President Mugabe has now inspired a successor generation in the ways of African politics and politicians — today and forever — hence making history.
Victor Nyabani is a Harare-based writer with a special interest in Africanism and the total emancipation of the Zimbabwean child.