Zimbabwe: Farewell, Gallant Son of the Soil!

16 September 2019

Writing in a 2007 cable released by WikiLeaks, then-U.S. ambassador to Harare Christopher Dell reflected the views of many: "To give the devil his due, he is a brilliant tactician." - Reuters

This observation is in reference to Robert Gabriel Mugabe, former President of Zimbabwe whose funeral was observed at the weekend, in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Mr Mugabe died in a Singapore hospital on September 6, aged 95. His remains will be interred in a mausoleum at the National Heroes Acre in the capital Harare in about 30 day.

The current President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, led heads of state - a sort of who's who of African presidents and former presidents, in viewing the late Mugabe's body, which was followed by a military 21-gun salute to honour Mugabe.

Many of them praised the late Mugabe as liberator, a unifier, as an African hero and a father.

"He was a "formidable warrior" who championed the liberation of Africa, said former President Jerry John Rawlings, who led Ghana's delegation to the funeral.

The heads of state joined thousands of Zimbabweans to mourn their late president who led the country for 37 years, from independence until he was ousted by the army in November 2017, at the time the country was polarised and an infighting had ensued as to who would succeed him as President.

Regarded as a protagonist in the theatre of history, many would want to judge him for the good and the bad deeds, but majority of Africans regard him as an icon, principled leader and African intellectual giant. But much more, even his ardent critics regard him as an astute, formidable and a master tactician.

Many Zimbabweans also remember him as their country's liberator from white minority rule and for broadening people's access to education and land.

In a tribute to his predecessor, President Mnangagwa said, Mugabe stood in defence of Africans. "We who remain shall continue to hear his rich, brave, defiant and inspiring voice ... encouraging and warning us to be vigilant and astute,"

As we bid him farewell, there are those who insist that he left behind a country wrecked by hyperinflation, dollarization and deeply entrenched corruption.

Those who want to use that as the yardstick to judge him, must be reminded of the role the western world played in ensuring that Zimbabwe was brought down to its needs to force it to do its bidding.

We cannot disagree that, his principled stands and defiance contributed to the state Zimbabwe finds itself today. In spite of that, he would remain an African icon, whose name would continue to linger on in our minds like that, of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, and many others.

The Ghanaian Times would forever remember the legacy President Mugabe has left behind and for which black Africa must forever be grateful.

We join the entire continent in bidding farewell to a gallant son of the soil. Fare thee well, President Mugabe!

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