A GUY'S VIEW - ‘You will appreciate me more when I am gone’
“My fellow Zimbabweans, I am writing this letter and hope that all of you will read it and share it.
My days on this earth are numbered, but I know that once I am gone, you and your children will never forget about me.
I want you to understand that the reason I have stayed long in power, 36 years on, is because
I want to empower all of you my fellow black Zimbabweans. No other president in the entire continent of Africa has done what I have done for you, but you continue to take me for granted.
Do you know that in the whole of Africa, Zimbabweans are the only blacks who own their land? We are the only blacks who own and run means of production. We own our own companies and our own land. That is the true meaning of independence. Political and economic independence. I have fought tooth and nail my entire political life to ensure that all of you have both political and economic independence. I don’t hate white people. No, not at all. What I hate is their thinking that they are better than us, that they can just come to our country and take our resources and our land, and tell us what to do. To that I say no. Today, I am happy that almost all the land is in black hands.
It's up to you to use the education I gave you to develop the land so it is productive so you can feed yourself. One thing I am proud of is that I worked hard to ensure our natural resources and our land was given back to its rightful OWNERS: You the black people of Zimbabwe.
Go to other countries in Africa, right here just across Limpopo. In South Africa, Mandela sold out and gave all the land and economy to the whites. The blacks in South Africa will be slaves to white South Africans forever. As long as land is not in the hands of its rightful owners, the Africans, the black man, will continue to suffer in his own land.
The real wealth is now in your hands, I wrestled it away from the white people who came to steal it from you. Yes, the world was angry at me and punished the whole country with sanctions, but I don’t care because I know I was doing the right thing. I was empowering my people. You should take care of the land and the industries I have given you.
I did my part, the ball is now in your court. Do your part. You will remember me and appreciate me for what I have done for you when I am gone...."
Your president and leader of Africa for Africans!
Robert Gabriel Mugabe!!”
This message was in circulation on social media. Although I am not sure whether or not it was actually penned by Mr. Mugabe, I thought it was worth reproducing to a mainstream audience because of the authenticity of its content, even if not its authorship.
A few days ago we celebrated this country’s fifty-first year of independence. A message of this nature is especially relevant to Barbadians at this time, as it forces us to take another look at our recent history, independence and what they have meant for ordinary Barbadians. If we use Mr. Mugabe’s yardstick, has independence been beneficial for black Barbadians, or have we been sold out?
No black leader who has fought for the development of his people and the national control of his country’s resources has been praised as a positive leader; often, not even by the people for whom he was fighting. This is largely because those who control the media tell the story and they represent a different interest.
It was once thought that the era of independence would bring an end to the exploitation of weaker countries by those with greater weaponry. Time has shown that, for the most part, what independence represented was a substitution of neo-colonialism for colonialism. Colonialism in its modern form gives control to oppressors, but without responsibility.
In 2017, we live in a world where the President of the United States believes that his predecessors in office blew the Iraq war effort because they did not take that country’s oil. President Trump is brash enough to speak out where others act, but remain silent.
But this position is gentle when the larger agenda of President Trump is scrutinised. His country has led the world in creating an image of fairness and opportunity for all of its citizens, even if some were more fairly treated than others. He has openly targeted the reversal of many of these ameliorating structures and has seemingly fostered a culture of racism, division, hatred and fear.
Last week it was reported that the Archbishop of Canterbury said that he was baffled that so many Christians in the United States back Donald Trump. Maybe he does not understand the evangelical Christian culture of that country. That group is a seat of deep racism and hatred. Many members of the Ku Klux Klan can find a comfortable place among them. They are among the least Christ-like people one may find, so support for a person who exhibits all the behaviours that the true Messiah would oppose is not difficult for them. They practise their own brand of Christianity.
Trump’s disrespect for law and established practice is alarming. He has deliberately lined himself up with some of the worst abusers of human rights and citizen or resident oppression. The residents of a country should never have to live in fear of the legitimate organs of the state.
In recent days, a number of people have been openly expressing fear of what seems like the unmasking of a Barbadian Trump who is lurking on the horizon. Trump is known for his single-minded efforts to destroy the legacy of former President Obama. Trump understands nothing about running the affairs of a country, but he is well schooled in how to dismantle a legacy.
In Barbados, we have been warned that a change of Government will likely bring a reversal of the respect for our long-standing conventions and even our constitutional provisions.
We have been informed that the entrenched constitutional protection which is essential to an effective Director of Public Prosecutions will be disregarded. We have been warned of the dangerous plunge which we have been invited to take. Months before elections, Barbados stands on the precipice of disaster. And we are being urged to jump from safety into an abyss.
The Archbishop of Canterbury should take a look at Barbadian Christians and compare them to their American counterparts. He might very well have to ask why so many Christians in Barbados would support people who they know are not Christ-like. They stand on Sunday or Sabbath morning and recite Proverbs 14:34 – “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a disgrace to any people”, but for many, this is only lip service. They might baffle the Archbishop too.