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Zimbabwe President, Robert Mugabe, steps down

in Africa & the Diaspora by

The era of African post-colonial revolutionaries comes to a close with the resignation of Robert Mugabe.

On November 18, protesters marched in Cape Town, South Africa calling for the president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, to step down. Days later, Zimbabwe erupts in a massive protest calling for the oust of Mugabe, who was under house arrest with his family as a result from an earlier military coup.

On November 21, Mugabe cedes his power. Many celebrate, while many others in silence, cry. Mugabe, once celebrated as an African revolutionary who took on post-colonialism, leaves a legacy both clean and gritty.

A tense political situation in Zimbabwe escalates after reports confirm that the country’s president, Robert Mugabe is under house arrest in what is seen as a “light” military coup. His removal is likely. Mugabe’s wife, known as Gucci Grace, by critics, is in custody.

Growing Economic Woes

Protest calling for the removal of Robert Mugabe.

Economic instability and a hostile political climate surround the crisis in a country that shares a border with South Africa. In the months leading up to Mugabe stepping down, the Zimbabwe dollar plummeted. To worsen matters, critiques of Grace Mugabe’s extravagant lifestyle and public attacks grow in a country where most citizens are poor agricultural workers; and stances against the Administration can land a jail sentence.

As the country was preparing for a contentious 2018 presidential election, the first lady was poised to inherit power, but many rejected the dynasty. One of them is Mugabe’s former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa who resigned in September of this year, following allegations that he was leading a faction plotting to take over leadership.

Allegations against Mnangagwa became so contentious that at one point, Mnangagwa implied that he would kill another official who testified that he was indeed attempting to lead the country. But after a poisoning scare, Mnangagwa relinquished his vice-presidential duties.

Go to other countries in Africa. Right here just across he Limpopo, in South Africa, Mandela sold out and gave all the land and economy to the whites. The blacks in South Africa will be slaves to white South Africans forever. As long as land is not in the hands of its rightful owners, the Africans, the black man will continue to suffer in his own land.

Last of the Post-Colonial Revolutionaries

Mugabe was the oldest living head-of-state in the world at 93. He gained a reputation as the patriarch for Africa for his fierce, unwavering stance against Western neo-colonialism. As a young man, he joined Zimbabwe liberation forces in a then British Colony called, Rhodesia. For his efforts, he was exiled and jailed in Mozambique.

In a defiant letter, he stated that Zimbabweans would miss him when he was gone. He says, “Go to other countries in Africa. Right here just across he Limpopo, in South Africa, Mandela sold out and gave all the land and economy to the whites.”

What Mugabe references is the agreement made when the South African government dismantled Apartheid. Whites were able to hold much of the land, the mines, the banks and other large industries. Even, whites who did not want to participate in a non-Apartheid society received lifelong pension, or in other words, government assistance; while the majority black country still words for economic equity.

When released, he seized the moment to run in national elections, after Zimbabwe won its independence. Mugabe’s main platform promised that he would distribute the country’s resources equitably. In the early 2000s, he seized land from white farmers who are descendants of European colonial forces then gave it to blacks. That caused sanctions and an economic ban from the West, so he forged an Asia-Pacific partnership.

Zimbabwe, is a major food producer on the continent, as well as one of the top diamond producers in the world, along with other minerals. And like Mugabe pointed out, it is the only country in Africa where blacks control majority of the land. However, with revolution comes evolution. Mugabe’s 37-year-rule was rife with many issues such as corruption and strong-arming the opposition.

In leaving, Mugabe negotiated a generous parting package with the generals of Zimbabwe for stepping down. He was reportedly offered US $10 million lump-sum payment, full monthly salary, medical cover, security, and protection of his private properties.

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Kaia Niambi Shivers covers diaspora, news and features.

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