Why Mugabe is a martyr


ONE cannot fully capture the greatness of pan-Africanist and liberator the late former President Robert Mugabe without celebrating his role in the Land Reform Programme.

His mantra: “Land is the economy and the economy is land,” captured the cause of the First and the Second Chimurenga.

Western narratives tend to be negative with regards to Cde Mugabe because African resistance efforts have never gone well in the minds of the colonialists.

In the face of the “…injustices which left Zimbabwe with a dual land ownership structure skewed along racial lines, the greatest challenge that the country had to face (…) is to redistribute land equitably and overcome various legal constraints in the way,” says Cde Mugabe in his text, The Third Chimurenga: Inside the Third Chimurenga.

Fransis Chitsike’s (2003) Critical Analysis of the Land Reform Programme in Zimbabwe argues the international community condemned the Land Reform Programme as a gross breach of human rights.

However, the Land Reform Programme speaks of the possibility of having successful tangible decolonisation for those who are chattels in the eyes of the white supremacists.

Land reform is a hands-on process.

Dr Felix Muchemwa’s book The Struggle for Land in Zimbabwe (1890-2010) discusses the reasons behind land reform.

To talk about Cde Mugabe is to talk about a hero who managed to move back to top-priority-shelf the cancelled land narratives.

European settler-farmers held 15 500 000 hectares of the land and that translated to 2 474 hectares per individual.

Subversive narratives are treated with scepticism because they are deemed improper, especially when they impinge on the dominant.

In the Zimbabwean post-independent discourse, the life of Cde Mugabe echoes the story of land reform.

In his text The Third Chimurenga: Inside the Third Chimurenga (92), Cde Mugabe explains:

“What this means is that iwe neni tine basa, you and I have a mission to accomplish on behalf of our people who demand full independence, full sovereignty and the full benefits of national resources given to them by the Almighty in his infinite bounteousness.”

Cde Mugabe defines land redistribution as the reason behind the resistance efforts of King Lobengula in 1893, the principal grievance of our heroes of the First Chimurenga, led by Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi.

He further argues: “The land issue is the fundamental principal definer of the succeeding new nation and state of Zimbabwe. Indeed, we know it to be the core issue and imperative of the Third Chimurenga which you and me are fighting, and for which we continue to make such enormous sacrifices.”

What do you say of a man who states that the colonial occupation cannot and must not last forever?

Imagine freedom of families now on spacious hectares of new, better land redeemed for them through the Fast Track Land Resettlement Programme.

Cde Mugabe taught Zimbabwe that when we make sacrifices, demand and determine the pace of transformative change, we get the results we wish and deserve. 

The Fast Track Land Reform Programme is an economic correlative of the liberation struggle whose legitimacy ought not to be debated or disputed.

The Land Reform Programme was more than party business.

Cde Mugabe conscientised the nation about colonial invasion which can never be a thing of the past as long as land still lies in the hands of the whites.

Imperial occupation brought the darkest phase in our national history.

Against it, the First Chimurenga of 1893 failed to yield results. 

Of course, the Second Chimurenga brought independence.

It is the former President who championed the Third Chimurenga as a realm in which Zimbabweans fought for their inheritance and sovereignty with the understanding that settler-colonialism never meant to make it easy for the Africans.

The inhumane cruelty by the West required sacrifice, in unity, for black entitlement.

His assertion that Zimbabwe is blackman’s country obviously challenges people who were once masters and that’s why it does not go well with them. 

Cde Mugabe touched the raw nerve of the colonialists by conscientising the black Africans.

He paved way for every other resistance effort that is going to take place in Zimbabwe.

No wonder why the unrepentant colonial masters, led by the US and the UK, ganged against this great man and imposed illegal and unjustified sanctions with an intention to make the Zimbabwean economy scream and incite the citizens to turn against their leader. 

Today, the man has died, still on the sanctions list.

Cde Mugabe’s ability to stand up to the white regime must be celebrated.

Indeed, he is a martyr for Zimbabweans and the whole of Africa as acknowledged by various African leaders and politicians. 

Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) leader Julius Malema, last week, maintained that Cde Mugabe was a martyr for Africa and did not make mistakes in his tenure as President. 

He argues, Cde Mugabe awakened the spirit of all Africans about their rightful place in their country.

As such, the former President should be celebrated by all for his selfless martyrdom. 

In the narratives of Zimbabwe, therefore, Land Reform, which is quoted in 1980 with the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement as an effort to more equitably distribute land between black subsistence farmers and settlers of European ancestry, who enjoyed superior political and economic status, cannot be exhaustively discussed without fully mentioning the late former President Mugabe.


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