Mugabe lost in a time warp

HARARE - When President Robert Mugabe addressed the Sadc summit at the occasion of the end of his rotational chairmanship of the regional group, he, as usual, chose to look back and address issues which have nothing to do with today, matters that have long been resolved and are best left in the past.

He ranted about a racist British system that sought to block the marriage between Sir Seretse Khama and his British Caucasian wife, Ruth Williams, who is the mother of the current Botswana President, Seretse Khama Ian Khama.

His intention was to project whites as racists who should not be allowed to play a part in our lives today because they wronged us yesterday.

His thesis is that because they brutalised us, oppressed and colonised us, we should never ever forgive them, nor do business with them.

This is the problem that Mugabe has turned Zimbabwe into,  a nation whose future is in the past, a country that is so rooted in events that happened in the past, a colonial history that has now been eclipsed by a brutal black minority government that is not only cannibalistic but corrupt to the core.

The problem with Mugabe is that he does not look beyond his nose. In attacking whites, calling them names, was he aware that he was attacking Khama’s mother, his uncles, nieces, cousins et cetera?

The futility of such actions is best summed up by South African businessman and politician, Tokyo Sexwale, who said, if one discriminates others on the basis of being white, he would be attacking his wife, if he discriminates on the basis of being coloured, he will be attacking his children and if he discriminates on the basis of being black, that person would be attacking him directly.

It is true we have many Sexwales among us and this business of attacking people on the basis of their race affronts, not only the whites that Mugabe seems to be targeting, but many of their relatives, friends, spouses, business colleagues etc, among the blacks that Mugabe thinks he will be doing a favour by constantly ranting at whites.

Even close home, Mugabe’s attacks on whites seems ridiculous and hypocritical because his own health advisor, Timothy Stamps, is white, his wife’s fashionista is white, his son is chasing after white girls and his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, married three of his daughters to white husbands.

We all have connections, one or the other, to whites, who are friends, business colleagues, former schoolmates, classmates, neighbours, teachers, you name it, and for a whole president of a civilised nation to want to play the race card, castigating people on the basis of their skin colour is not only unfortunate, but bigoted.

The irony is that the same Mugabe comes to me as a caricature of the African been-to. His fake British accent, his obsession with suits and his love for cricket make him more English than most of the white Zimbabweans that he constantly attacks today.

But Mugabe’s attacks on whites are all self-serving. He has used this anti-white rhetoric to mask corruption and justify looting of private property, escape international condemnation for human rights abuses and general maladministration characteristic of his governance.

We have seen that in the chaotic land grab. Now the same looting agenda is being pursued through the Indigenisation Act.

It is unfortunate that those who want to loot national resources have always played the race card to mask their corruption locally and internationally.

In fact, even elections have been run on the basis of an anti-colonialism card in a country that, interestingly, claims to have been independent since 1980.

The issue of race has been used to obfuscate the rampant looting of national resources and the attendant poverty and hardships that this looting unleashes on the generality of the public.

All along, Zanu PF’s  game has been looting national resources and putting the blame on whites here in Zimbabwe or internationally in Britain or America.

Is it not interesting that America was once colonised by the British but we have never heard any presidential hopeful in America being elected on the basis of an anti-British colonialism mantra.

Americans elect their presidents on the basis of whether the policies they project during presidential campaigns are capable of bettering their lives, health care, internal security and on the basis of a foreign policy that ensures America is a dominant force in geopolitics but remains safe from external terrorist attacks.

But with Mugabe it is about the 1970s war and what the whites did to us in 1890, 1893, 1896 and what we did in 1966, 1976 and so on.

Are we going to revive industry by focussing our attention to a war that was fought and won a long time ago?

It is even more ridiculous now when people that we thought were learned like Jonathan Moyo, have joined Mugabe in his warped anti-whites campaign and now premise the country’s economic turn-around on the return of some skulls of long gone individuals whose identity remains a question of conjecture.

Mugabe has now managed to poison our history and now forces us to believe that all whites where racist although many fought on the side of the liberation war cadres, meaning they never believed in a white supremacist system yet Mugabe, in his Manichean and blinkered take on our history, wants us to believe that all whites were racist and part of Ian Smith’s minority government.

The sooner Zimbabwe realises that these Mugabe racist rants are not doing us any good, the better for this country.

With most of our people now scattered all around the globe and having their choices of lifetime marriage partners no longer limited to their villages of birth, it is phony to want to pursue a racist matrimonial policy because it will never work.

The world has also become a global village hence the factors that one considers when choosing a marriage partner are now somewhat global.

Even business is now rooted in the league of nations and any country that thinks it can go it alone, will forever remain poor and backward.

Even if you listen to the real and genuine champions of our liberation struggle, the likes of Josiah Magama Tongogara, the issue was not about race. In fact Tongogara makes it very clear, in one of those Unesco video clips that he was not fighting individuals but a system and he envisaged a Zimbabwe where both black and white enjoyed together.

These racist rants that Mugabe carries today and wants to foist on every Zimbabwean were never the thing that guided the liberation struggle.

True revolutionaries were never racists but change maestros who wanted to institute a non-racial society that recognised that we all, at some point, were just but aliens, in the land we now call Zimbabwe hence we should live together because we share a common history and the same aspirations for our future.

It is now time for Zimbabwe to do away with leaders who are rooted in the past, a past they do not comprehend fully, and begin to search for a leadership that looks into the future.

A leadership that believes, like what the revered General Tongo believed in, that “Zimbabwe does not belong to us. It belongs to the future generations thus we have to leave it a better place for them.”

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