About right

The tragedy of Robert Mugabe was thus complete. He was the guerrilla hero who defeated white minority rule but went on to ruin the newly independent country he inherited. He was the supposedly model African leader who turned into a despot, the liberator who became an oppressor, crushing opponents and rigging elections. He was the professed advocate of reconciliation and national unity who might have been another Nelson Mandela but ended up pursuing the politics of hatred and division — most notably and disastrously by seizing the white-owned farms that were the mainstay of his country’s economy.

Towards the end of his rule Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of Africa, was unable even to feed its own people. Inflation briefly reached 500 billion per cent and unemployment 90 per cent. Nearly a quarter of the population, including most of the brightest and the best, left the country.

Ironies abounded. As Mugabe neared his tenth decade, life expectancy in Zimbabwe fell to the lowest in the world. An intellectual with seven degrees, Mugabe sent his children to prestigious private schools in Harare while the state education system that he had built up during his early years in office collapsed for want of funds. His supporters staged ostentatiously lavish celebrations of his birthday as millions of Zimbabweans survived on a single daily bowl of cornmeal porridge.

Under Mugabe’s grotesque misrule commercial farms reverted to vegetable patches, the lightbulb to the oil lamp, the tap to the well and the wheel to the foot. Only the abolition of the worthless Zimbabwean dollar, and a power-sharing agreement with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in 2008, halted the country’s implosion.

33 thoughts on “About right”

  1. Mugabe didn’t defeat anyone. Not did Mugabe turn into a despot, he was one already, and did away with any form of opposition (cf. Joshua Nkomo and Rev Ndabaningi Sithole)

    Rhodesia was sold down the river by the British government. My uncle was serving on HMS Kent during the talks with the Rhodesian govt. He met Ian Smith and was most impressed with how humble he was.

  2. This is how socialism always ends up,
    This is also the result of “white guilt”. We could, and should have stepped in, but the “White guilt” crowd weren’t having any of it. Result – thousands upon thousands of dead Black Africans.

  3. Not did Mugabe turn into a despot, he was one already, and did away with any form of opposition (cf. Joshua Nkomo and Rev Ndabaningi Sithole)

    Exactly. There does seem to be a trend in certain quarters of the media to portray him as a good man gone bad, as if his early life somehow mitigates the evil of his later rule. It doesn’t.

  4. Bloke in North Dorset

    Mugabe and Nkomo were products of the Cold War and Russia v China fight over ideology and nothing to do with freedom for blacks or anyone else.

    The blacks I taught said that being trained in Russia was the most miserable experience they’d had. They used to get spat at, have bananas thrown at them accompanied by monkey noises as they walked around the streets and even in the camps.

    Anyone who’s had anything to do with the Middle Kingdom will know where they stand on the human rights of blacks.

  5. Agree with others here. Monsters aren’t usually good men gone bad (unless for medical reasons).
    Mugabe made an effort to appear reasonable early on when it was beneficial to him and/or necessary. When he didn’t need to try any more, he didn’t.

  6. Mentioning that he was a Christian and a “homophobe” is always helpful when any leftie puts in a good word for him.

  7. It’s so much easier to forgive Mugabe than Pinochet because he doesn’t present the same temptation to believe that the end justifies the means.

  8. Joshua Nkomo is an absolutely wonderful example of a man who couldn’t lift his head up, look far enough into the future, understand the difference between tactic and strategy and so really understand what was in his own interests. Instead of aligning with the whites in the negotiations, he saw Mugabe and the Shona as his allies. Stupid, stupid man.

  9. You can see this happening en masse in our Parliament at the moment: Now-ex-Tory MPs genuinely shocked they have been booted out, Labour MPs following their leader and being led like sheep to their own deselection, Scots Nats missing the chance of the general election that looks like giving them their hearts` desire because they think there’s a bigger prize just over the rainbow, and the Lib Dems failing to see their once-in-a-century chance to displace Labour as the national party of Social Democracy and instead tying themselves to a vacant Marxist.

  10. dearieme, what do you mean next? It’s happening now. Pretoria, Jeppestown and Malvern businesses were set alight on Tuesday night. Johannesburg CBD was locked down yesterday.

  11. I once had a Nigerian colleague who was a devout Anglican. He had no time for excuses for black crime in the UK, or for poor governance in Africa. His refrain was, “Take Christianity out of the African and all you are left with is tribalism and single-parent families.”

  12. As already said, he was never a “liberator”. Just a tyrant and before that a pre-tyrant. Just another of the African Nationalist Marxists spawned by the Colonial mythology beloved of academics safe in Western universities.

  13. Bloke no Longer in Austria


    Not forgetting Stevie Wonder. I always grind my teeth when hearing “Hotter than July” and his line “peace has come to Zim-babwe”


  14. What could have turned him into a far-left, anti-white terrorist?

    In 1949 he won a scholarship to study at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.[27] There he joined the African National Congress,[28] and attended African nationalist meetings, where he met a number of Jewish South African communists who introduced him to Marxist ideas.

    It’s a mystery….


  15. Stoneyground

    Not for a while now. Thank you for not immediately thinking I was comparing myself to some comic superhero.

  16. Bloke in North Dorset


    Labour’s plan is Revoke and their tactic, aka policy, is crystal clear. Mrs BiND this morning after she’d watched QT (something she never does) and heard me listening to that clip:

    Mrs BiND: What happens if people vote to leave in the 2nd referendum?

    Me: Do you really think you’ll get a chance to vote Leave? It will be Remain or nearly Remain.

    Mrs BiND: Oh! [followed by silence as it sank in]

    I should point out she voted No in ’75 and Leave and is now in despair and would probably vote Remain to get it over with. I don’t think she’s alone.

  17. Confirmed, Theo.

    I have a friend who is an actual racist. He said that when he was a sergeant, the blacks in his unit behaved pretty much like everyone else. But when an issue came up, they suddenly became tribal.

    He gets along with blacks when he has to. But he doesn’t trust them, saying their group reactions aren’t like other people.

    You can take blacks out of Africa . . . .

  18. Mugabe’s rise to power in ZANU came through the assassination of his erstwhile leaders, to power in Southern Rhodesia through terrorism that left any blacks who might vote for Bishop Muzorewa dead or in fear for their lives.
    We do not *know* that Mugabe assassinated the leaders of ZANU but no-one else had a motive or a track record.

  19. There does seem to be a trend in certain quarters of the media to portray him as a good man gone bad, as if his early life somehow mitigates the evil of his later rule. It doesn’t.

    Making the best of it. I expect they are embarassed at their support of him but just can’t quite admit their mistake, so will desperately fight to the end, inch by inch.

    Plus of course their childish belief that black people cant be evil, unless they are members of the Tory party.

  20. Jeeze, that’s racist, Jonathan. AND it’s the same here in ‘Merica. 55% of homicide by firearms discharge (the official description for using a gun to kill somebody) is committed by black males, only 6.5% of the population. Most everyone they kill is another black male.

    Of course, 6000 murdered black men per year is tiny compared to 15,500,000 black babies killed by abortion since Rowe v. Wade. And abortion is a sacrament to the Democrat party.

    Blacks supporting Democrats is prima facie evidence that they are indeed intellectually limited.

  21. @BiND

    I should point out she voted No in ’75 and Leave and is now in despair and would probably vote Remain to get it over with. I don’t think she’s alone

    Alone? Won’t be. However, many more remain voters have had their eyes opened on the anti-democratic distasteful reality of EU & MPs and want out – last poll had 54% supporting No Deal

  22. Anyone who thought it would turn out any other way is a blithering idiot and should be placed under professional care lest he do himself a mischief.

  23. Yet we have neocolonialists wailing, “If they only had electricity.”

    The proper response to such types is “You are as dumb as you look! I didn’t think God could be so cruel.”

  24. Always felt that the Spanish adopted a more sensible solution to the situation in Spanish Sahara.

    After Morocco and Mauritania took it over, the UN kept pretending that the Spanish ruled it for a while, but they now seem to have given this up. Unfortunately, there are still ‘refugee’ camps where the Sahrawis maintain their government in exile. I can see no reason why my taxes should be wasted on supporting these terrorist bases – this sort of thing is one of the reasons I loathe NGO’s. Of course if the Algerians wish to waste their money on this nonsense, they are welcome to do so.

    Had the British government had the nerve of the Spanish, and simply recognized the independence of Rhodesia and let the local whites and the blacks sort out their differences, things might have turned out better. But most likely, the government would have collapsed, the whites would have been massacred and the beastly Brits have been blamed for not making some sort of compromise with Muggins.

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