Mugabe Hailed an Icon, Africans Pour in Condolence Messages

Letwin Mubonesi

Zimbabwean nationals are still reacting to the death of their former President Robert Mugabe who died on Friday morning in a hospital in Singapore at the age of 95. Moreover, Zimbabweans have expressed mixed feelings about his passing with one political activist Linda Masarira saying she felt nothing at all while analyst Felix Chiroro said he was shocked and hurt that the hero had passed on. This emerged on an Identities Media Holdings platform, Identities Conversations hosted by Human Rights Activist, Ms Nyaradzo Mashayamombe.

Contributing to the debate on Identities Conversations platform, Chiroro said that when the news of the death of the long time ruler former President, Comrade Robert Mugabe filtered through his ears, he was shocked and that Mugaebe was his hero.

“I was really shocked when I woke up to the bulletin that Mugabe had died. After the shock, I later on realized that he has gone yes and he left a legacy for he stood by his principles,” said Chiroro.

Before he was done with his point,  Mashayamombe differed with him as she argued that as Zimbabweans we are suffering all because of him. She took to her Facebook account where she’d written that, “Baba Va Bona mwana wa Bona, we are where we are because of you. Makatirwadzisa zvakare mukuti rwadzisa. You created this hot mess and for that we are suffering. You made me question the importance of kugona kutaura chirungu if all there was was to let people loot this country to its knees and for that you left us in deep hole. You however also taught us chirungu, you taught us self confidence, makatidzidzisa kumirawo pane vamwe nekusa batirirwa kunyanya nevarungu, you taught us to stand tall against racism and in equalities. Saka you go with your good and bad. You are forever remembered as a Pan Africanist but you failed the empowerment and stewardship side of Pan Africanism. Zororai murugare Baba Bona mwana Wa Bona. Zororai Gushungo.#RIPMugabe #MwanaWaBona #BabaVaBona.” 

Chiroro remained adamant as he stressed his point that it is not all about Mugabe’s fault to be in this situation we are but all of us contributed. Corruption is on its highest level in this new dispensation era both in the private and public sectors.

He said, “Saying that Mugabe is the solely person who facilitated this situation we are in right now is an understatement  because there are many positive things to point on during the Mugabe era as compared to this new government. All of us contributed to this economic downfall we have never been on the watch if you look at private and public sectors corruption is rampant and is the order of the day, so it’s so wrong to say Mugabe brought us here as citizens we also had a role to play for sound economy.”

He went applauding the former president as a hero as he stood resolutely about the land redistribution, though he admitted his short falls along the process which was violent and corrupt as well some lost their jobs and even lives. Chiroro is of the opinion that Mugabe was concerned to have to survive the political pressures, he assets that the land reform was the only took which he was left with against an opposition that was heavily funded by the West. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa

Since the 1990’s, land has been taken from the white landowners and given to landless blacks in order to provide equality within the country of Zimbabwe on a willing seller willing buyer. The former President then asked for Britain to meet its end of the bargain for the funding of the land to the whites who had developed it as the government sort redistribution. Chiroro agrees however that the forced and violent redistribution was both senselessly violent and not transparent.

“I Applauded the initial idea to give land to the blacks though the process was violent and the beneficiaries were ZANU PF bigwigs and others dignitaries leaving some ordinary citizens behind. As they occupy farms some lost their jobs and lives as well but above all he is the hero he left out undisputed legacy. I say Rest in Peace Gushungo,” said Chiroro.

Probing the opinion of Chiroro to compare between he Mugabe and Mnangagwa regimes, he minced his words putting forward that there were areas where one regime is better than the other and we are still to see the changes from the new dispensation.

Meanwhile, other nations and heads of states are sending in their condolence messages with some applauding his efforts during the tenure through various social media platforms. President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria in his condolence message said the late former President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe made unprecedented sacrifices for freedom in Africa. 

University of Fort Hare recounts his contribution that he was one of the five international heads of states to come out of Fort Hare, alongside former president Nelson Mandela, former Ugandan president Yusuf Lule, former prime minister of Lesotho Ntsu Mokhehle and former Botswana president Sir Seretse Khama.

“We are very proud of him. Of course, his legacy is a mixed one, but when all is said and done his legacy started here at Fort Hare. We are very proud that this university produced an African political giant like him. We are saddened by his passing,” said the university’s vice chancellor Sakela Buhlungu.

One of the legacies of Mugabe at Fort Hare is the presidential scholarship programme that has sent thousands of young Zimbabweans to study at the South African University. 

Julius Malema who is also a huge admirer and as well as critic of Mugabe during his tenure as the president described him as a martyr of the African revolution. He said, “I’m saddened by the passing of our martyr & giant of the African Revolution cde President Robert Mugabe. Let’s continue the fight & protect his legacy. We must not allow our enemies to tell us how to remember him; we know our heroes. May his soul rest in revolutionary peace.”

Moreover, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa poured his heart out about the death of Mugabe.

“During the decades of our own struggle, Zimbabwe’s liberation movement supported our own liberation movement to fight oppression on multiple fronts. After Zimbabwe achieved independence, the apartheid state brutalized and violated Zimbabwe as punishment for supporting our own Struggle.”

On the other end, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is saddened about the death and that words cannot convey the magnitude of the loss as former President Mugabe was an elder statesman, a freedom fighter and a Pan-Africanist who played a major role in shaping the interests of the African continent

Nyari Mashayamombe

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