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18.02.2004 Feature Article

Mugabe, the next prey of the imperialist – A Rejoinder

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I usually do not respond to articles expressing views contrary to what I believe. The article by titled “Mugabe, the next prey of the imperialist” however, is one I just cannot allow to pass without comment. This is because it is plainly without merit and canvasses views that are neither right in fact nor healthy in attitude. I know that in taking this stance I would no doubt be branded a 'traitor' in the eyes of Prince Aidoo and his Ghana Social Democratic Movement (GSDM) but it would not matter in the great scheme of things.

'Truth' is what that article claims to be propagating! Coincidentally, that 'truth' is hard to find under the ideological rantings camouflaged as a call to arms in defence of the African identity and heritage. In that article, 'truth' is paraded as unapologetic hatred of the West (under the guise of anti-imperialism) with the implied assumption that all of Africa's woes can and should be traced to the doorsteps of so-called imperialist super powers. The 'truth' is also shown in a seemingly unabashed portrayal of Robert Mugabe as a living martyr deserving of African sainthood for standing up to so-called 'imperialists'. This is not the sort of truth we need or desire if we intend to help Africa turn around its miserable socio-economic and political heritage into flourishing oases of equitable prosperity.

Prince and the GSDM need to be informed that our problems in Africa cannot and should not be laid solely at the feet of Western nations. Of course, I share the view that these countries in their own ways have engineered and manipulated us, from slave trade to the current economic and political systems prevailing in our nations. Surely, after nearly half a century of self-government and self-determination on the continent, we should be wise enough to understand how the system works and play it to our advantage. If we want to understand the reasons for our social and economic problems, we should first look at ourselves. The real truth is, however, we have failed to take advantage of opportunities that come our way. We are ruled by leaders with no clue as to how to tackle basic problems facing our people.

Ghana, and Africa for that matter, was no worse off than Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea etc, from the prevailing world order in the 1950s. In fact, Ghana's GDP per capita was better than Malaysia and on par with South Korea then. Today, we go cap in hand to these nations to beg for pittance. The difference is those nations did not carp on ceaselessly about the cards they have been dealt. Neither did they take a defeatist attitude in relation to their place in the world. They had visions and worked hard to turn those visions into reality.

Why do we keep moaning and groaning about who has wronged us instead of picking up the pieces and moving on? What do we gain by “establish[ing] the 'truth' about who killed Kwame Nkrumah?” We all know what happened so we better learn from it and move on. Is the time not better spent working to lay solid foundations for our fledgling democracy or better yet working on establishing better health care and education systems for the nation?

Whiles we sit with our hands in between our legs, moping about a dead leader and vowing to pick up on policies whose usefulness in the 21st century are questionable at best, time moves on and we remain at the bottom of the heap. Other nations are moving on and developing the next phase of microwave and wireless technology, providing better health care and education facilities for their people.

The assertion that “somebody is controlling you in your own four corners” is just one of those outdated propaganda which used to be peddled by pseudo-socialists ages ago. It is deterministic, and takes the view that people are not in control of their own destinies. That is simply false. We are in control of what we will become. Afterall, the so-called imperialists are not the ones using government funds for personal gain, nor are they the ones diverting the nation's hard-earned currency into private accounts instead of using them for the benefit of the people they lead.

Isn't it telling that many of the 419 Internet scams claim to originate in Africa (even if they are developed in other continents)? These scams tell stories of African leaders who prospered from their greed. Many of the people who are taken in by these scams believe the stories because it's only in Africa that half-wit soldiers and clueless politicians can assume political power and amass billions of dollars in personal wealth whiles their citizens starve to death.

I'm not sure what to make of the inference that some African leaders would rather help colonial masters than remind them of human rights abuses of the first and second world wars and about Hiroshima. I would suggest that human rights abuses of any kind, anywhere should be brought into the open and prosecuted. These abuses are not confined to any particular country. There are also abuses in non-war periods. That would of course include the human right abuses going on Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, and abuses that flourished in Nkrumah's Ghana. The atrocities in Rwanda, Liberia, Sudan etc, match any of those in Bosnia, and the world wars.

It appears from the article however that human rights abuses are only relevant and need to be condemned when they appear to have been committed by the so-called 'imperialists'. Take for example the article's reference to the Middle East conflict and the line: “… who has the power to stop the human rights abuses and genocide being perpetrated against the Palestinians” (emphasis mine)? It would appear that the blowing up of innocent women and children on streets, in restaurants and buses deserve no mention; afterall, these are acts against the big bad 'imperialists'. This is absolute hogwash and pure ideological bias. Anyone who truly believes in world peace and seeks an end to all human rights abuse would not only condemn Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories but would similarly condemn the wanton acts of human madness that passes for freedom fighting and self-defence.

The article asserts, “most African leaders have become traitors in sheepskin”. I share the sentiments but for entirely different reasons. Some African leaders are traitors not merely because they collect what you term 'financial pittance' from so-called imperialist but more from their betrayal of the African people. I would have thought that when one looks up the meaning of a traitor in the dictionary a photo of Robert Mugabe would be prominently featured. Mugabe has betrayed Africans in general, and Zimbabweans in particular, for turning the 'paradise' he inherited from Ian Smith into a living 'hell' for his own people. I hope Prince has not forgotten how Mugabe treated Joshua Nkomo and many of the people who first initiated and launched the last phase of the struggle for independence in the country he now rules with an iron fist.

Robert Mugabe is a conman, pure and simple and while I hate to see a whole nation ostracised on account of one man, I see the stance of the US, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia as justified. When Obasanjo and Mbeki brokered a deal in Brisbane, Australia, to try and avert the showdown with the Commonwealth, Mugabe reneged on his part of the deal despite assurances to his fellow African leaders. It's a mystery that they decided to stick with him in the end in spite of prior threats. I am proud that Ghana, for its part, bucked the African trend and supported the common sense stance taken by the so-called 'imperialist' nations.

Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for nearly a quarter of a century. In that time, he has managed to turn a once thriving economy (albeit with economic, social and political inequities among blacks and whites) into a beggar nation. Today in Zimbabwe, sycophancy and cronyism have become the political currency. To survive, you need to lick the boots and you-know-where of Mugabe.

Here is a guy who is amassing personal wealth at the expense of his people and he turns around to blame others for the misery of his people. He has accused everyone (except he and his seemingly incompetent and corrupt government) of being the reason for the plight of Zimbabwe. George Bush is the enemy, Tony Blair is the mercenary and John Howard is seeking his downfall. How long it will be before letters from Mugabe's 'wife' and 'children' surface on the Internet offering too good to be true financial windfalls to unsuspecting people around the world is anyone's guess?

It would be very comforting to Robert Mugabe that there are Africans who share in his twisted logic; that he is the 'victim' of an 'imperialist' plot to kill him and destabilise his country and the continent. I, for one, cannot wait for the day when Zimbabweans would give that miserable excuse of a leader a one-way ticket to his retirement village. Through the ballot box, of course. Maybe then, the pseudo-socialist brotherhood would do what they do best – pay homage to yet another false 'hero' and debate which 'traitor' and 'imperialist' stooge was responsible for the mess!

The real truth must be told. It should be remembered “truth trampled to earth shall rise again and the truth shall set us free”. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Alfred Opoku
Alfred Opoku, © 2004

The author has 7 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: AlfredOpoku

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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