A DIALOGUE WITH MY FATHER

by - November 21, 2017

                                                         

I was ten when my father told me about Mugabe.  He described to me a gallant man who fought bravely for the freedom of his people. My father was  seating on a sofa that evening,while I crouched before him, earnestly interested in gaining from his reservoir of knowledge.


'You're so interested in history sunshine' my father teased me. 'I'm not surprised you've read most of my books you could lay your hands on' 'that's a good trait my dear, the mind needs books, so you have to keep feeding it'. I smiled shyly, cutting him off, and reminded him of the story he had started and definitely had to finish.

My father explained to me how Mugabe had joined other African Nationalists in protesting against colonialism and called for an independent black led state. During the course of his (Mugabe) protests, he made some inciting statements which was against the law and as a result of this, led to his imprisonment between 1964 and 1974. After his release, he left the country and took covered in Mozambique, where he started a group called ZANU(Zimbabwe African National Union) which fought against the white government.

'So he formed a group like Dedan Kimanthi of Kenya  and fought against the colonial masters yes? I asked, interrupting him.

'Yes sunshine, it shows you've been listening to every of my stories attentively' he replied me, smiling proudly.

'So what happened after that father?' I asked him curiously, wanting him to complete his story so that he could start another.

'The United Kingdom brokered a peace negotiation that resulted into the Lancaster house agreement.' So this agreement disrupted white minority rule which led to the 1980 general election, which Robert Mugabe led the group he had formed:ZANU(Zimbabwe African National Union) to victory and he ultimately became the prime minister of  Southern Rhodesia which was later changed to Zimbabwe by the natives.' My father explained.

'Wow! That's so cool dad' I retorted, savouring the way the story had turned out.

'He is a very brave man right? He fought for the right cause without any form of cowardice. I want you to know something today,a man (human being) should always stand for something, never run away in fear so far it is for the right cause. Do you understand? My father asked me.

'Yes dad. So are you saying when next Philip bullies Temi my friend, I should beat him up since it's a right cause and I hate bullies.' I asked my father, looking at him expectantly, silently craving his validation to do justice to Philip come Monday.

'No sunshine, i'm not teaching you to be  violent, when next anyone bullies your friend, report him to your teachers capisce?

'Ok dad. But what is the meaning of white minority rule? I asked him, reading out the term from the note book I had written it down.

'Oh, it is otherwise known as the dominant minority. That is,it is a group made up of few white people but has overwhelming political, economic or cultural dominance in a country they are colonising.' He explained to me, gesticulating with his hands.

'So how come the whites wielded so much power  in Zimbabwe when they were just few in number? Are they really superior to we blacks because of their skin colour?

'No, they are not superior to us. Intelligence is never based on a person's skin colour. God created us equally. The whites are considered better because they are more knowledgeable, organised and always curious to learn new things in order to improve their lives. But you see, we Africans are always complacent. There was also a time the whites experienced the dark age, that is a topic for another day my dear'. He concluded.

The picture my father painted about Robert Mugabe years ago seemed perfect to the ten years old me. He had fought for the right cause like Nelson Mandela, he had even spent ten years in prison because of his numerous protests. And so, when asked to mention notable heroes in Africa, a routine my father invented to gauge my knowledge about history then, Mugabe ' s name would always come up within the completion of my list of heroes.

 He became a respected figure all over Africa and the world at large, he was showered with encomiums and different honorary degrees.For years, he was the favourite of everyone. But as the saying goes,'Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely' Grandpa Robert Mugabe became power drunk. He had vowed to better the living condition of his people, the dream was so beautiful but he disappointed his people, like most African leaders.  When Mugabe became the president, Zimbabwe became a one party state so as a result of this, no other political party could challenge his authority. In year 2000, he instigated an aggressive campaign to acquire farmlands belonging to the white settlers. He had earlier agreed to allow the white settlers to keep their properties and political rights but he reneged on his promise.

The sudden violent upset disrupted farm production, the Agricultural sector had been the fundamental support of the economy. This affected the economy greatly. There was food shortage everywhere, there was no respect for the lives of the citizens he had sworn to protect in the first place. His high records of breaching the fundamental human rights of his citizens made many universities around the world that had bestowed him with honorary degrees to revoke them. But instead of being remorseful of his actions and resign honourably like any sane person would do; having spent over thirty years , he retained his authority as the unquestionable one.

He had never accepted any form of opposition, and those who challenged him were readily cut down. No one could openly determine who the next successor would be, because he had not allowed that. But everything changed this year when his wife Grace Mugabe(the same one who beat up a lady with cable wire because she found her in her son's room in South Africa, and fled to her country claiming there was nothing the lady could do about it)made her intention of succeeding her 93 years old Grandpa; Oh, husband known. Of course Mugabe didn't reject this, he endorsed the prospect and suspended his Vice President:Emmerson Mnangagwa who served as a threat. One would have thought it was their ancestral throne which belonged primarily to the Mugabes.

This didn't sit well with the citizens, most especially the military who couldn't accept Grace Mugabe as the heir apparent who was known for her ostentatious lifestyle.And so, on the 15th of November, a coup took place and Robert Mugabe was placed under house arrest pending his honourably resignation which he has bluntly refused after ruling the country for 37 years.

Emmerson Mnangagwa(75) had been made the interim president pending the time the whole issue is being resolved. But one cannot help but wonder the poor sense of judgement of the people. This same man being made the interim president was once nicknamed 'The Crocodile ' because of his similar authoritarian style of Mugabe. So when exactly is this menace going to stop?they've all been jubilating about the military intervention, but will their happiness be short lived? Only time will tell.

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