President Robert Mugabe, the ousted President of Zimbabwe, will not go down in history as a hero.
He is a failed leader whose place in history will be the same as Gnassingbé Eyadéma's, Charles Taylor's, Yahya Jammeh's, etc.
These leaders, after mismanaging their economies, failed to hand over power until they were forced out.
It should be clear to all that Mugabe's failure has little to do with the West. Majorly, it has to do with his gross incompetence, buried in a paternalistic African leadership mentality, which views leadership as inheritance that must be enjoyed just within close family circles and passed on only after death.
It became clear that after almost four decades in power, the 94-year-old was not ready to transfer power to anyone except his wife.
Perhaps he wanted to drop dead while performing an official national duty.
Once he was dead, whatever became of the nation was none of his business.
But while alive, implanting himself at the presidency would clone him from the mess that he had plunged the whole nation into for almost forty years.
No wise leader will rule for almost 40 years without a succession plan. Even chieftaincy has a succession plan. He just did not care about the nation but himself.
Frequent accusations of interference by the West, even thought somewhat true, actually became the most convenient excuse to rally all progressive forces who were anti West to support him, when in fact, they were protecting a family hegemony.
It will be unfortunate for anybody to compare Mugabe to any progressive leader like Kwame Nkrumah or Nelson Mandela.
For instance, in the case of Kwame Nkrumah, we must not misunderstand his expression of Neocolonialism as what pertained in Zimbabwe under Mugabe.
The records demonstrate practical and specific things Kwame Nkrumah did for Africa and his country despite real western threats which eventually culminated in a CIA sponsored coup d'etat against him.
The records also show that Kwame Nkrumah gave Ghana independence against all the odds.
He and his CPP called for "independence now" and had it. He was the one who championed similar campaigns across the sub-region. Little wonder the African Union celebrate him every 21 August.
Indeed life in Kwame Nkrumah's Ghana was comparable to any first world country in the world.
Kwame Nkrumah records in his book "Dark Days in Ghana's Politics" that: "In Ghana, before 24th February 1966, unemployment was virtually unknown. All salaries were regularly paid and new jobs were constantly being created as the seven year development plan was being implemented. It was estimated that more than one million new workers would be needed to fill the new jobs which will be created..."
He adds, "Ghana had the highest living standard in Africa per capita, and the highest literacy rate."
He further indicates "Ghana had 63 state enterprises and a budget of £200 million, including a supplementary budget, for its population of nearly eight million: while Nigeria with a population of 55 million, had a budget of £ 78 million."
Yet what is the legacy of Mugabe in Africa and Zimbabwe, beyond the land reforms which legitimized his revolution?
The country has been melting under his watch.
Apart from members of his family and government officials, who in that poor country is not suffering?
Cost of living is high. There is mass unemployment and complete lack of direct foreign investment in that country.
How worse can you misbehave as a leader especially when the lives of precious citizens are at stake? Will it not be gross irresponsibility if right thinking people look on unconcerned?
Little wonder the army came in to halt his foolishness and restore sanity and purpose.
The Military should never meddle in politics, but on this occasion they deserve a standing ovation for not allowing Mugabe and his friends to destroy the country. Not that I trust the Zimbabwe army or their motives, but it is the lesser of two evils.
Maybe there is hope.
African leaders must begin to demonstrate some dignity and aura of respectability while in office. Where else can this happen?
Source: Akyena Brantuo Benjamin
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