Zimbabwe must rise again

Bafana Phalane, a public policy analyst with interests in climate change and social justice. Picture: Supplied

Bafana Phalane, a public policy analyst with interests in climate change and social justice. Picture: Supplied

Published Nov 3, 2023


Zimbabwe stands as a beacon of hope for all countries trying to escape the Western hegemony of power. The history of Western power play in Africa is a complex and controversial discourse spanning centuries. The 19th century marked the beginning of a profound colonial history whose repercussions would be felt decades and probably many centuries after. This was a period of significant oppression, European countries such as Belgium, France, Britain and Portugal were some of the most brutal colonial powers.

Zimbabwe endures various sanctions imposed by the West over several reasons such as irregularities in politics, economic activities, and human rights. President Robert Mugabe’s regime was heavily criticized for human rights abuses, some critics pointed to irregularities in election processes, political violence and suppression of political opposition. The land reform program implementation was also one of the events that led to sanctions, land reform commenced in the early 2000s. This was often considered to have been a violent process by those who sympathized with the white farmers. Some Western countries raised concerns about these events and eventually started calls for sanctions.

The collapse of the economy sparked an internal controversy, some of Mugabe’s allies heavily criticized the decision to seize land but that did not stop Mugabe from carrying the plan forward. Before we blame Mugabe for Zimbabwe’s woes, we need to explore the reasons that led to the implementation of the land reform policy. The land question in Zimbabwe is a colossal discourse dating back to the colonial era when the country was still known as Rhodesia. The British colonial rulers dispossessed fertile lands from indigenous Africans and bequeathed it to European settlers, this resulted in a severely imbalanced society caused by inequitable distribution of land. Robert Mugabe’s government encountered mounting pressure from the black majority to address these historical injustices, especially the inequalities caused by historical land dispossession. This was promised by Robert Mugabe at the dawn of independence in 1980, Mugabe’s government made a promise to carry out land reform to correct the past injustices. The cries of the people were justified.

Zimbabwe faced severe economic challenges towards the late 1990s, skyrocketing altitudes of poverty and unemployment were starting to be a thorn to Mugabe’s regime. The Western-sponsored political rivals were also gaining traction, the Western propaganda machinery was in full swing, and international blackmailing was used by the Western bloc of countries to put pressure on Mugabe. Robert Mugabe was left with no chance but to give the people what they wanted, land. Land seizing from the white farmers was a response to the events by the embattled struggle hero. Mugabe was swiftly losing popularity; commercial farms were then seized by Mugabe’s government to appease the disenfranchised black population and to trounce the ever-growing political opposition. All these efforts did not achieve the intended outcome for Mugabe. The government continued to endure a popularity decline, and the West took advantage of this situation and further aggravated it, employing media, and sanctions to depose Robert Mugabe once and for all. Western involvement in African countries has never helped Africans instead it has worsened African problems.

The West is to blame for the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, the economic decline broke the social fibre. Families and communities were broken as millions left the country to find opportunities elsewhere. Some reports state that about 30 percent of Zimbabweans live outside Zimbabwe. The West should be called out for all the atrocities they commit worldwide, Neo-colonialism is in full swing, and developing countries are primary targets of the West. The situation in Zimbabwe is a perfect example of neo-colonial pressure, these are Western tactics to maintain white economic dominance. Robert Mugabe heavily criticized the former prime minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair for interfering in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs including funding opposition parties and promoting regime change. Mugabe referred to Blair as “an international terrorist”. The diplomatic tension between the UK and Zimbabwe continues to this day. Like many victims of the West, Zimbabwe will rise and its people shall be free from the shackles of the West. President Emmerson Mnangagwa often echoes positive sentiments on the economic situation. African renaissance is imperative now more than ever.

The West’s involvement in foreign governments should be rejected with the contempt it deserves. The Zimbabwe situation should be a mirror we use to judge ourselves. When we allow the enemy to come in between us the repercussions will surely be profound. Africa belongs to Africans so are her minerals and all its riches.

The Star