The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: They Came, They Saw, He Conquered


HE has been vilified and demonised, while some have wished him misfortune. By so doing, they believed that he would give up and sell out his revolutionary stance and pan-Africanist ideals. They have also squeezed him to a point where they thought that the people of Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole will turn against him. But the demonisation and all the lies about him have boosted his confidence, forcing them to always go back to their drawing boards, for it is said that you can't keep a good man down. Their actions have been an exercise in futility.

They were not even embarrassed to drag their disdain of President Mugabe into the funeral of South Africa's first democratically elected president Nelson Mandela where they hoped that their lies would carry the day.

Days before the Tuesday memorial service, the Western media was awash with reports about President Mugabe's attendance of the funeral service. It was as if he was not supposed to attend. Their selective amnesia made them forget that as party to Mandela's 27-year incarceration, they could not dictate which African leader was supposed to attend the memorial service and who should not have.

This is Africa. People are not invited to attend funerals, but it is a part of our cultural traditions that we pay our last respects to those that have passed on. Because it was Cde Mandela, it meant that the arrangements would be slightly different from the norm.

But the bottom line is that this was not the first funeral that President Mugabe has attended outside of Zimbabwe.

We all remember the 2008 picture of him kneeling before Madame Maureen Mwanawasa as a sign of respect and humility. Even Cde Mandela's widow Graca Machel knows that.

At home, President Mugabe has buried hundreds of his compatriots and he does so very modestly, unlike what we saw when AFP took a picture of US President Barack Obama, British premier David Cameron and Danish premier taking pictures of themselves using smartphones. This happened after Obama, one of the few world leaders given the honour to speak at the funeral, had just delivered his eulogy.

The Western media also went into over-drive making all sorts of claims about President Mugabe's attendance with the UK's Daily Mail announcing that "also on the guest list are Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai and controversial Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe".

Other sections of the Western media wondered what it would be like to have President Mugabe, Cuban President Raul Castro and Obama at Cde Mandela's memorial service.

Now that the memorial service has come and gone, we will say it like Hillary Clinton put it when Muammar Gaddafi was butchered by Nato-backed rebels: they came, they saw and he got a thunderous applause right in front of their eyes, and the world witnessed it as well.

This was the shocking truth they experienced at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, in Mandela's land and on African soil. As has been the case when President Mugabe travels in progressive countries around Africa and beyond, he gets that kind of thunderous applause. It is an acknowledgement that few leaders on the continent, in Europe and other Western countries get.

And, President Mugabe gets that heroic acknowledgement because Africans know he is principled and stands for the advancement of Africa and its values.

But more critically, President Mugabe is a towering figure because he managed what most leaders failed to do: live up to the ideals of the revolutions they led. He understood that without empowering the people through the country's resources the struggle they embarked on more than five decades would be irrelevant.

Why the Guardian decided to lie about an event that was watched by millions on all continents just goes to show that their point man was the Zimbabwean leader and not the memorial service. They wanted to sow seeds of division, and also dictate to Africa who their heroes and liberators are.

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