Power to the People: Lesson’s from Zimbabwe

Power to the People: Lesson’s from Zimbabwe


On the 21st of November , 2017, Zimbabwe’s gerontocratic dictator , Robert Mugabe tendered his formal resignation to whole nation after ruling his country for infamous 37 years. Zimbabwe was up in arms against Mugabe; an impeachment motion against Mugabe was threatened if he did not resign. The throne began shaking for Zimbabwe’s president when the country’s military paraded through streets of Harare with all military paraphernalia- arms, ammunition and tanks. Mugabe was taken hostage in his palace. However, it was unlike other military coups as Mugabe was allowed to attend official functions and speak to the nation. Even military head announced that the army was doing all this to get rid of traitors around Mugabe. But, the military was angered by the decision of Mugabe to make the 63 year old Grace Mugabe as his successor. This, in the military’s schema meant continuation of his family’s rule of ruling with an iron fist. There was public anger against this , and it became the premise for the already fed up Zimbabwean people to come on roads and with slogans for calls of Mugabe’s resignation , “ Go Mugabe Go”, reverberating throughout the country.
Mugabe was left helpless and had to tender his resignation. The man had become so arrogant that once he said that only one person could remove him from his throne that was God himself. Mugabe was infamous for destroying Zimbabwe’s mineral rich economy, for giving unprecedented powers to black people to grab land from white people by virtue of force , marginalise them and leave his country only for the black population. He was an outspoken critic of Colonial British and left no stone unturned in cracking sarcastic insults at his nation’s occupiers while not even sparing the United States. But in an era, were individuals value themselves more than the collectivity of nation , Mugabe set a precedent for others to follow. Had he not resigned or clung to power and employed coercion against his people arresting his opponents and invited foreign intervention to protect his regime, Zimbabwe might have turned into replica Syria. So, regardless of the bad done in the past, Mugabe might be remembered for this little favour to his nation.
Now , if we look at the Middle East, had Bashar ul Assad opted for peace rather than power, when thousands of people had gathered peacefully to demand his resignation, and when the whole middle east was going through the famous “Arab Spring” in which many dictator were falling like a pack of cards, things would have been different for and in the Middle East, generally and for Syria, in particular. But, Assad did not learn the lesson(s) of history and opted to suppress his opponents and his very own people. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in Syria; countless have been jailed, tortured and hanged , and innumerable people have been made refugees only to become uninvited guests of Europe. The streets of Syria have turned red with the blood of the innocent. The country, which was long remembered as country of great civilization, has been turned into museum with artifacts of destruction of war on display in every nook and corner.
Today’s Syria has turned into a playground of proxy war with so many player’s fighting in the service of their interests. Russia is protecting Assad for the safety of his small patch of strategically important naval base in Syria, Iran, America, Hezbollah, Al Nusra, Turkey, Kurds, ISIS, al-Qaida, Saudi Arabia and many more are fighting for their interests and only causality is Syria as a nation. The United nations has become the mouthpiece of veto powers otherwise it wasn’t difficult to act against the tyrant Assad when he choked thousands to death by use of lethal chemical weapons.
Libya, Iraq and Venezuela are examples of the same facts and reasons..
The broad lesson(s) that can be drawn from the ouster of Mugabe and the nonchalant and truculent desire to remain in power, like Assad of Syria, is that if power is nod ceded to the people and if so called leaders chose to cling to power and prefer the longevity of their illegitimate regimes, then death and destruction are the natural concomitants. It then behooves “leaders” who are unpopular and illegitimate in the eyes of people, to gracefully bow down and not maraud and denude their people for the worse.

—The author holds a Masters in Chemistry. He is also NET/SLET qualified and can be reached at: [email protected]

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