Robert Mugabe.
Robert Mugabe.

Opinion: Under Mugabe, Zim people became worse off than under Ian Smith's rule

By Thyagaraj Markandan Time of article published Sep 16, 2019

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Robert Mugabe: Was he Africa’s greatest leader or Africa’s greatest villain?

Yes, he did liberate Zimbabwe from white minority rule but single handedly he laid waste to Zimbabwe.

For a while Zimbabwe did prosper under Mugabe. But as he settled into his new role as president of the country, the taste of power became too tempting to relinquish and he became conceited and ruthless.

He claimed Zimbabwe belonged to him, silenced the opposition and ruled the country with an iron fist for nearly 40 years.

From liberator to oppressor, president to dictator, he was respected and admired in Africa but despised in the west. He seized white-owned farms and turned Zimbabwe from the bread basket of Africa into a dust bowl.

Zimbabwe went into meltdown and became so impoverished that many fled across the Limpopo into South Africa. But the dictator couldn’t care about the plight of his people. In the midst of all the ruin and poverty he continued to enjoy the trappings of power while his people starved.

Zimbabwe does not even have its own currency. The people were worse off than under the rule of Ian Smith. So what good was Mugabe to Zimbabwe?

Yet many in Africa mourn the death of this evil dictator. He was their role model. The ANC expressed its heartfelt sorrow at the passing away of its great brother who had been such a great role model to it, showing it how to destroy a thriving economy. Whoever admires this tyrant cannot be lovers of freedom and democracy.

The government laid out the red carpet and gave him a hero’s welcome when his body arrived from Singapore. His former deputy and successor, President Emerson Mnangagwa, and his wife, Grace Mugabe, were at the airport to welcome him home.

All the evil he committed during his long reign of terror will be forgotten as speaker after speaker will sing his praises at his funeral.

But all the eulogy will not wipe out his big, ugly blot on humanity. He has the blood of 20 000 Ndebele from Matabeleland on his hands and leaves behind an impoverished, polarised nation.

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