I WRITE to share my new understanding of issues after enlightenment through a university course in African Studies.
Ignorance is equated to death in Shona circles
and one can be easily misinformed through well-engineered propaganda which prevails even in high school text books. I will never be the same again and I am grateful to my parents for their sacrifice to educate me.
I have always held the view that Kwame Nkrumah was a true African statesman. His track record on the continent cannot be doubted. But back home, was he a true hero of the people? Does the mention of his name bring sweet memories to Ghanaians?
The answer is a vivid no. He was actually overthrown in a famous military coup which brought much delight to the general populace. The great Uhuru leader of-course started on a high note, having inherited a vibrant economy from the colonial powers.
Nkrumah promised heaven on earth – “to achieve 10 times more in five years than what the British had in half a century”. He was only a sweet talker and failed dismally because his economic policy was unworkable. He became a dictator, introduced youth militias, banned the opposition and persecuted any perceived opponent. Many were imprisoned while others fled the country amid brutalisation from the youths and untold poverty. He actually became a despot amid his skewed policies and much corruption by his officials, yet he blamed the West for his poor showing at home.
Most people only know Nkrumah for Africanism and his praises are sung across the continent for his role in the liberation of many states. He was a hero abroad but back home he was a failure.
This is exactly what Mugabe is. He is known as a revolutionary by most of the third world. Recently he hosted liberation movements and he is seen as a black messiah but how do we see him at home? Like Nkrumah, Mugabe’s record speaks for him.
The economy he inherited has crumbled, there is no press freedom, unemployment and inflation are rife, youth service has been unleashed on the public, the opposition is quashed, the constitution and human rights are violated at will and the West is the scapegoat.
It is sad that history always repeats itself and these African dictators continue to reincarnate unchanged taking the gullible masses for a ride. It goes without saying that Mugabe has reproduced every dictatorial tactic in his rule. Dictatorships have always been known to collapse under their own weight as Nkrumah, Kamuzu Banda, Mobutu Sese Seko, and Suharto would testify.
The Zimbabwean people on the contrary have shown an indifferent spirit and have gone off the beaten track. Despite 24 years of oppression, Zimbabweans are not willing to free themselves from the dictator’s grip. Any attempt at popular resistance is greeted with brutal force. I am convinced however that change is inevitable, and when it comes it will be overwhelming.