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Last updated: 13 August, 2007 - Published 11:56 GMT
 
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Forum: Is Mugabe unfairly demonised?
 

 
 

Is President Robert Mugabe a scapegoat for Western failures to address the land issue in his country?

Do you think that the Zimbabwe president is unfairly demonised by the West? Or do you believe that he is using colonial history to cover up his own present failures?

Join the Focus Forum.

To take part in the debate simply fill in the form on the right. A selection of your comments will appear below.


This debate is now closed

Ukwonga Godfrey, Juba, Sudan:

 Zimbabweans, you are letting down your beloved Mugabe... You are betraying Mugabe like the Jews did to Jesus
 

Take away the land away from the whites and give the indigenous Zimbabweans who must wake up and effetively make use of the land for their benefits. Zimbabweans, you are letting down your beloved Mugabe who is being demonized unfairly for your land rights' sake. It is time you wake up and use this land for your development. You have the land, then your all forms of independence are complete like it is in any other african states. Mugabe is fighting and being blamed for your sake but you are not using the land which land is everything you need. You are betraying Mugabe like the Jews did to Jesus. He is therefore unfairly being demonised since all he is doing is not for his personal interest but yours.

Chijoke Ugwumba, Enugu, Nigeria

It is an established fact that most African leaders are dictators and absolutely corrupt. It appears that Mugabe is the most wicked and corrupt President. A reasonable person should not stay in power for up to 20yrs especially when it is clear that he has failed to provide for his people. I think the acquizition of lands from the whites is a further extension of his greed and selfishness which does not consider the interest of his people. It is high time Mugabe is dealt with like his likes. Power corrupts but absolute power corrupts asolutely that is his problem.

Denise Musa, Freetown, Sierra Leone

What makes you think that the white are all that superior and that they must dictate or dertermine what happens in our continent. Africa as a whole must start to believe in themselves we all can do it. talking about the people of Zimbabwe suffering and Mr Mugabe's resistance of the west has nothing to do with the people of that country all they have to do is to engage themselves and work. accept the fact that we are what we are and start thinking positively and work abide by those rules and regulations laid down by that country then all will be well. I have been to UK, USA and look at the way the west does there thing i have come to a simple conclusion stick to the rule of law that is all.

Chris Khamalo, Chimanimani, Zimbabwe:

The tragedy for Africa is that so many of your respondents, like Kaunda, still see Mugabe as a hero. Are they ignorant of the facts or are they just starry-eyed wannabe idealists? Where do they bring in ethics? Can they not distinguish right from wrong? Only black from white? Only African from Western? Therein lies the problem also for SADCC - failure to be objective.

Enema Omale, Abuja, Nigeria

 If there are no cracks on the wall lizard will not enter
 

If there are no cracks on the wall lizard will not enter. I know the west must have been provoked by the way the white farmers were rough handled by Mugabe. His policies are no longer sustainable. If his economic policies are yielding dividends nobody will talk about him.

Agaba Augustus, Kampala, Uganda:

Well, I think Mugabe grabbing land from whites would only make sense if he gave this land to the landless Zimbabweans and came up with policies that would put this land under a great economic use, otherwise land as a factor of production lying idle in the hands of Zimbabwians would rather be given to any one who understands its value and use.

Peter Mawere Shirima, Mafinga, Tanzania

I think Mugabe is unfairly treated because the British Government did not fulfill their commitments of the Lancaster House agreement so until they do, you cannot blame Mugabe, after aa Zimbabwenians have no complain about his moves.

Charles Minah, Freetown, Sierra Leone:

Mugabe should realise that history will judge him for the untold calamity he has brought on the people of Zimbabwe through his unreasonable land distribution policies. Ordinary Zimbaweans now queue to buy food at escalating prices. What is land nationalization? Mugabe, are you a LEADER or a RULER?

Moses Odongo, Kampala, Uganda:

Mugabe is a true African leader. 99 percent of the problems he faces are caused by the west who want him to submit to the. To me Mugabe is the only president in African continate. Others are representing what leaders in the west want to see happening in Africa.

Gilbert Katushabe, Mbarara, Uganda:

President Mugabe has overstayed in power and he is very old. The west is right because Mugabe is taking Zimbabwe to the dogs. Imagine the rate at which inflation is eating up the country!! He is even infecting South Africa! The West should come in as fast as they can to save the economically deteriorating Zimbabwe.

Sikmba Chogugudza, Harare, Zimbabwe:

He is using history to cover for his failures

Tofa Nenzara, Luton, UK

 The land issue was simply about obliterating the next opponent, the MDC
 

There is no smoke without fire! A sobre assessment of the facts will reveal that Mugabes methods are violent and in complete disregard of any Zimbabweans who are not with him. For those who care to look at his record before the 2000 election he has been remarkably consistent. The land issue was simply about obliterating the next opponent, the MDC. White farmers provided financial backing for the MDC [as video footage on the ZBC has repeatedly shown], they were also the employers of a large chunk [about of a million] of voters who were inaccessible to the ruling party. These voters could not be relied upon to listen to Zanu and vote accordingly. What happened next is history.

Manuel Raposa, MD, USA:

Let us stop throwing the blame around. Zimbabweans have a need, a right to be specific. The key question is if the end will justify the means? This question is more relevant for Zimbabweans than it is for the British.

Ken in Croydon, UK:

Mugabe was voted in to better the lot of his people. To take efficiently managed farms and hand them over to people without the knowledge or capital to manage them has been demonstrated to be a folly. Can he not learn? Was he not a university lecturer in Ghana? What is the purpose of education?

Farley Harrison, Philadelphia, USA:

President Mugabe is not fairly demonised. It is well deserving."The evil that men do lives with them, but the good is oft interred with their bones." Twenty-seven years of presidency is repugnant on the Zimbabwean populace. You are not the country's only capable son or daughter. I as a son of Africa appreciate all that you have done for Zimbabwe and Africa (freedom fighting and all that). Enough is enough. Go and savour what positive reputation you have left.

Dapo Sijuwade, London, UK:

Yes Mugabe has lost the plot, but we all know he is not the only African leader to do so, but the Western press is only interested in him becuase of what he did to the white farmers. Where was the western press when Nigerians living in Gabon were kicked out without any compensation or when the poor black people of Maroko in Lagos Nigeria were kicked out of their shanty town with no alternative accommodation provided?

I find it hard to believe any rational thinking African can heap any praise on Mugabe, a man that want to rule forever though his people are suffering. Sadly Mugabe is still fighting the colonial war that he fought and won over 20yrs ago. What is more sad is the african people that support these African leaders that hold us back contribute to the migration of young Africans to western countries for a better living; the late Fela Kuti called it second slavery, I call it a voluntary slavery. We would rather clean the streets of Europe than starve.

Musa Sidibey, Monrovia, Liberia:

 There is no justification for the extreme suffering of the masses in the name White Resistance
 

I think that President Mugabe is rather unfairly dehumanizing his people. The hard economic reality points to this fact. For me, the people of Zimbabwe are more than Mr. Mugabe's personal indiffernce to the West. There is no justification for the extreme suffering of the masses in the name White Resistance or by whatever name. It is about time that President Mugabe reconsiders his policy of confrontation and adopt a collaborative approach to resolving the crisis. He has to go back to drawing table to rethink the land redistribution policy. I think the question of land ownership should not only be based on ancestral right, but, that tenure should be based on the ability of a person or institution to make the land productive for the benefit of the masses.

Millano, Johannesburg, South Africa:

Firstly, Zimbabwe got its independace 27 years ago. British rule in the country has long ended. In fact the country's economy was booming until the year 2000. What happenend then? Did the so called 'British powers' suddenly have a negative effect on the country after 20 years of freedom? I think not. We need to open our eyes and see that the Zimbabwean leader that was elected that many years ago has failed and is only using the West to try and appease an angry nation. All that is needed is action not talk. Mugabes's time is up!

Samuel Dilito, Philadelphia, USA:

Robert is getting the reward of over staying.The time has long been up for him to leave for others to play their own part and not he alone.A good leader should be able to lead,know and accept when to leave and let others lead too if he did his assignment properly.Share the vision while you lead and not hold unto to it alone.We need to learn from Father MANDELA.Most African leaders are greedy.Thank you Robert and bye-bye.

Fran Wahlert, Gisborne, Australia:

I am so sorry that our country helped to invade Iraq, when it should have invaded Zimbabwe to get rid of this despot, is this the right word to describe him? I am not sure, but the people of Zimbabwe are suffering and all I wish for is for these innoocent people to have a chance to live a healthy and happy life, this cannot happen with him in power, I am from Australia and have visited Africa where part of my heart lies..as has done for most of my life.

Richard Vuni Elizeo, Juba, Sudan:

Please president Mugabe Zimbabweans are tired of your dictatorship. Give chances for democratic leaders to rule.

Rev. Jerry Y Tarwo Sr, Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire:

The Zimbabwe president is not using colonial history to cover up his own present failures, but is unfairly demonised by the west. How can a nation considered herself free or independent when her land is the hands of her old colonial master?Why must he consult the British government before he talks about the good and bad of his nation! Robert, You will be remembered by God for defending the Land he has given You!

Christian Harris London, UK:

 Why is it that the majority of the new landowners are cronies of Mugabe? Why aren't the landless blacks getting it?
 

It's interesting that there aren't many opinions from Zimbabwe here. Could be they lack access to computers or that they can't afford to pay for internet access because of the highest inflation in the world? Many blame the British. Fair enough. But let's not forget that the UK gave the Zimbabwean government money for over 20 years to buy land from white farmers to give to landless blacks. What happened to that money? And why is it that the majority of the new landowners are cronies of Mugabe? Why aren't the landless blacks getting it? Why is Mugabe oppressing landless blacks in the city who do not support him? Examine the situation rationally and make up your own mind. This is not a black/white problem but a problem of greed, corruption and power.

Nape Dominic, Kampala, Uganda:

There has always, and will always be a fight between white and black, the chinese recognised this thousands of years ago, with the ying and yang. Mugabe is simply a leader caught in this struggle because of his belief in instinct, right and wrong. Grabbing land from someone is wrong, but according to the western world, if a white grabs land from a black it is right, but black getting back his land from white is wrong. The Europeans know this, they went to war when Hitler started his policy of living space. Let us not support or condemn Mugabe because of the colour of our skins, but because of the content of our conscience. No man is absolutely correct, but condemnation for doing what is correct is not correct.

Richard Cairns, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK:

All that this man is i am afraid is a RACIST of the worst kind and a stupid one at that, he is also a coward who blames everybody for the problems of his country except the person who is at fault HIMSELF.

Joseph Sakala, Siavonga, Zambia

Land or no land the whole experiment is a boob. The same white farmers are feeding the country from farms acquired in Zambia and neighbouring countries.

Austin Deko Slough, England:

Robert Mugabe is a selfish person after all these years it's time he resigned. All the children born when he come to power are now mothers if not grandmother - i think zimbabwe needs a new person as president.

Mortey Joshua, New Tafo-Akim, Ghana:

 Morgan, arise! for all freedom fighters pass through the same order and you'll shall truimph
 

Brave, Mugabe for opting for socialism but lacking vision. Indeed, you "sacked" the white farmers forgetting your people lack modern farm inputs. Where are you, when the whites took over the lands? An African leader who thinks less of his people but much concern about holding onto power. For the sake of humanity, i urge they not to use their influence and support for Morgan but send food aid. Remember, Darfur and Haiti. Morgan arise for all freedom fighters pass through the same order you 'll shall truimph. Grandpa Bob kindly step down to avoid been dragged to court over "alleged corruption charges and human rights abuses".

Dell, Cairo, Egypt:

The real sin of Mugabe is to play the big guys game. Going to D R Congo to fight for Kabila. Fighting for Congo is really Mugabe's sin and the west and America were threatened with this old guy from somewhere in Africa. Who exactly is he to go to war for other people? All this land reform is part of it. Looking at the land issue, how many white farmers owned land in Zimbabwe? Only 4500 and do you realy think Britain couldn't afford to pay these 4500 white farmers? Mugabe should have not engaged himself in big guys game and stick to his land reform programme and that was it. The land reform programme itself is a big issue, it touched all those people everywhere in the whole world and believe me, the success of Mugabe in this issue will make the aboriginals, red indians and all those people everywhere in the globe to follow the process, no wonder why John Howard makes sure Mugabe is hammered from all corners including sport. I am not good in politics but this is what my little mind tells me.

Njweng Grace, Cameroon:

Britan might have created the problem but Mugabe should know that he is dealing with souls who need to be nurtured and catered for. He should not venture to scratch old wounds at the mercy of his people. In doing so he is like a man who leaves his burning house to chase a rat fleeing from the fire emanating from his house. Please Mugabe act as a statesman that u are and reverse the course u have taken for your people.

Tinanji Siame, Ndola, Zambia:

I like the stance he has taken against the west especially George and his bootlicker Tony. But I dislike the way is running the country. He has outlived himself.

Tordue Salem, Abuja, Nigeria:

 I think he is afraid likely successors like Tsvangirai who are European apes would not stand up to the European vampires
 

Mugabe is very right on his land policy. It would have been worse in any of those imperialist countries.

About his sticking long to power? I think he is afraid likely successors like Tsvangirai who are European apes would not stand up to the European vampires for their country.

We know the tricks: If Mugabe was a 'yes' man, no "pink man"(or is it white?) would have complained about his being too long in power.

Sahr Emmanuel Joseph, Freetown, Sierra Leone:

The man is trying to build on a purely African system, which the West has to abide by, not the ones already structured by them or already operating in their countries. Africa has to look for leaders who are primarily concerned about africa's development using our own techniques and know-how because the west has always failed us. Consider the East - they have used their own initiative and the are proud of their development why should Africa not take up it own system as Mugabe is doing?

Simon Abafari, Accra, Ghana:

I think that The British Government and Europe's sanctions are directly responsible for the situation in Zimbabwe. Thus, Mugabe is unfairly demonised. Please let us put the blame squarely at where it belongs - European sanctions and blackmail. My question is why on earth is the effect of the sanctions on Zimbabwe never mentioned in relation to the economic crises?

Ebulle Stephen, Taizhou, China:

The talk about Mugabe, especially on land reform policies has become alarming in the western media, and most people say the western media is just obsessed about Mugabe. Africans have to assert their independence. But, does this mean they should be dictatators, racist, power-mongers? Far from this! The problem is Mugabe himself. He has overstayed in power and is probably suffering from what Pr. Alobwede D'epie calls "Fatiguomiasis". He is too old, tired and probably does not reason well. He is killing his own people and staining the image of Zimbabwe and Africa. He should step down. He is not the only person whom God created to lead his people.

Alfred Simiyu, Masinde, Garowe, Somalia:

 He rode on the crest of this dream until he ran out of ideas
 

Let us call a spade a spade. When Mugabe took over power from Smith the Zimbabweans saw a saviour. He rode on the crest of this dream until he ran out of ideas. He did not know what to do to draw his people from abject poverty to outright riches as he had promised them during the struggle for independance. It is not only Zimbabwe that has kicked out "leeches". Kenyatta did it though subtly but the West did not demonise him. Mugabe should go!!

Mars Menelv, Canada:

The way the west portrays Mugabe is unacceptable, the hardship, the inflation economy which encounter the Zimbabweans is not Mugabe fault but it is west policy which goes with economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. In fact in Africa there are more cruel regimes than that of Harare but because they work hand in hand with London they are untouchable. Though he has overstayed in power it is not fair to demonise him, this is true African figure I would rather advise him to step down when it is needed by Zimbabweans not London or Washington DC.

Melckzedek Daniel Mbise, Mbeya, Tanzania:

Yes, Mugabe is unfairly demonised because interfering in someone's affair in his country even if you are more powerful than him it is not morally acceptable. Let the Zimbabweans rule themselves.

Gavin Hall, Brighton, UK:

I spent a period of my youth in the stunning country of Zimbabwe, whilst my dad was a teacher there. It is heartbreaking to see the country now on its knees. Yes, Bush and Blair are a disgrace and have continued their countries postion as the world's bullies. Yet, I fail to see how Mugabe starving, torturing and murdering Zimbabweans, destroying all their hope is standing up to the West. Lets just hope that his days are numbered and it is not to late for this amazing country and its great people.

Ntando Sibanda, Harare, Zimbabwe:

Mugabe is a tyrant who has reduced what Mwalimu Julius Nyerere described as "the jewel" of Africa at Zimbabwe's independence on 18 April 1980, into a basketcase. Lives of milions of people have been made miserable and traumatic to go through under this man's near three decades of tyrannical rule. This point seems to be lost on most African heads of state, especially South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, who think that Mugabe is an innocent victim of the West's machinations in reaction to the land reform programme some eight years back. I am a Zimbabwean myself, domiciled in the country but because of social, economic and political hardships in the country, i am planning to seek economic refuge in South Africa very soon, and i would like to tell the rest of the world that Mugabe has turned our once beautiful country into hell.

Abebe, Elat, Israel:

MUGABE YOU ARE OUR HERO. I AM PROUD OF YOU.IF AFRICA IS GOING TO UNITE TO BE UNITED STATES OF AFRICA MUGABE SHOULD BE ITS FIRST PRESIDENT. YOU ARE AN AFRICAN PATRIOT AND GOD BLESS YOU!

Zenaneh Mekonnen, Jerusalem, Israel:

 Africans came of age and they don't take for granted the sincerity of everything said on the western media including the BBC
 

What a question!? Any African leader who works for the good of his people, if it is up to the west, his reward will be demonization. Mugabe is no exception. The difference is that Africans came of age and they don't take for granted the sincerity of everything said on the western media including the BBC. If there are leaders to be praised by the west and its media outlets, most probably they are corrupt and hated despots by their own people. To stand firm in front of the orchestrated western pressure is not an easy job to an African leader.That is why Mr. Mugabe is a real African hero. You know deep inside you why Mugabe is demonized? He took away land from white farmers to distribute it to poor Africans. What a sin!

Bill Montgomery, Tema, Ghana:

Yes. In my opinion, the West is demonizing President Mugabe unfairly. He has a reason for taking such action on the white farmers. He said the land was occupied unfairly by the whites and the did not pay compensation. therefore the time has come where is is necessary to take the land back and he is not going topay compensation. This is simple logic of taking back what belongs to you if you have the capability to do that at the appropriate time.

Muganda Ochara, Nairobi, Kenya:

As I read different perspectives, the cause of the problem seem to be Britain and what Mugabe has done is to use to his advantage Britain's failure to act on land redistribution. The other 'goof' the west adopted was to impose sanctions, which everyone was meant to believe are not economic. They are not working despite the high inflation reported. Those who are largely affected seem to be in urban areas. The sanctions and the issue of land is making Africans sympathize with Mugabe. What about the alternatives? Can't be Tvangirai (largely assumed to be a pet of the west). I am not a Zimbabwean, but it appears even with free and fair elections come next year, Mugabe will probably win with a higher margin than he has ever done before. For the record, I am a Kenyan.

Issahaku Moomin Tahiru, Wa, Ghana:

 I initially thought of Mugabe as a despot but going through history I found out that he is freedom fighter and a symbol of justice
 

I want to say that Mugabe is fighting a just cause for the betterment of his people. Demonizing him is unfair and an act of injustice. I initially thought of Mugabe as a despot but going through history I found out that he is freedom fighter and a symbol of justice. Mugabe, might have gone in excesses in the pursuit of of his reforms and relationship with the opposition but that is not enough for the west to chastise him. The west failed to perform their role in the first instance if they had, Mugabe and his Zimbabweans would have been in peace with them self.

David Takawira, Southampton, UK:

I do not not believe that Mugabe is being demonized at all. He has messed up a once beautiful country just because he wants to hold on to power. I do not agree for one moment that Mugabe's land distribution was genuine because, for many years he used it to buy votes during elections but never distributed it to anyone. It was only after Zimbabweans rejected his fake constitution in 2000 that he realized power was now slipping away that he introduced this land issue. Zimbabweans never said the land was a priority, although necessary to those who wanted it. From then on he has made one blunder after another. He cannot blame the west for his poor policies. Since the time of Chidzero (Finance Minister) Mugabe has gone against economic sense. Today, we hear he is printing trillions of ZWD to buy forex on the black market because he has no hard cash. What economic sense is there. I can go on and on. He is rightfully blamed.

Henry Williams, California, USA:

Mugabe's land redistribution has impoverished the country though it belonged to the majority in the first place. He was just trying to be fair. When tables turn one should expect past grievances to be rectified. How can a minority get all the best land while the indigenous are left without? To demonize Mugabe on account of that is mere double standards. If you want peace, work for justice. Let the land grabbers come out and say we had unjustly grabbed land that did not belong to us. Mugabe was the blue eyed boy of the west because he did not take back land from them. All hell broke loose when he started the land process. Be just and you become the devil. Be unjust against your own people for the benefit of the minority then you are the darling.

Goldie Mbewe, Mulanje, Malawi:

 I used to think that he was a fair-minded person but power corrupted him
 

Mugabe is not unfairly demonised but its him doing that to his people. How on earth is he the target of the west? let him seriously reposition his political stand by being accomodating of others like the opposition and recognising human rights. I used to think that he was a fair-minded person but power corrupted him. Now he can't relieve himself for fear that the west together with Zimbabweans bring him to book.

David MacDonald , Canada:

he is greatman and loved by many african leaders because he is the only leader that can express his anger at Britain. Britain should realize that it is the country that created all problems in Africa.

Justice Afenu, Tamale, Ghana:

I think Mugabe is unfairly demonised. I say this because, in my opinion the blood bath of Mugabe is being influenced by the two Bs (Bush and Blair). Why was there no fury when Cecil Rhodes took over fertile lands from indigens and later gave them rocky and unfertile land? When decisions favour them (the two Bs) they don't complain but when it is against them they employ the likes of Morgan Tsvangirai(who is power-hungry,) to cause chaos. Your excellency Robert Gabriel Mugabe I urge you to continue your good works. Do not make the mistake of relinquishing power for these world wreckers to devour you as in the case of Charles Taylor. Gooo on brother robert, gooo on. you are a real african.

Chernor Jalloh, Almeria, Spain:

President Robert Mugabe's rule in Zimbabwe can no longer be acceptable, because many of his people are now starving to death. Why is it that whenever the West talks of reforms in some African countries that are ruled by some oppressive and very corrupt leaders other leaders will turn a blind eye. I think those ideas that are brought by the West will bring some positive things for the nation as a whole for a little bit. I think Mugabe is failing his people and something fast is needed in order to prevent the population in Zimbabwe dying now. This type of president has no pity for his people and should go for good.

Joseph Angwella, Oslo, Norway:

 The replacement for Mugabe may be an even worse leader who wants to stay longer than Mugabe
 

Interference by the West in the affairs of independent nations is sole cause for coups and counter coups in Africa. Once the loyality of an african leader towards the West dwindles, the West look for new merchants for their arms. Mugabe is no exception. The trouble is that Africa still largely leans to the West for economic enhancement. African leaders ought to take the interest of their people first. Mugabe should allow new faces with fresh ideas to take over his ruins. Unfortunately, the replacement to Mugabe may even be a worse off leader who may want to stay even longer than Mugabe.

Dan, Minneapolis, USA:

Mugabe is the only true African leader to stand up against neo-colonilism and as such, has been vilified by the West. Mugabe has been fighting for liberation of Africa as a whole and in fact Africa needs more leaders like him. The reason why the economy is in ruins is a clear indication that Africa is still not "free" economically! Mugabe demonstrates this by refusing to be a puppet per se to the west.

S De- Holland, Aberdeen, UK:

Mugabe is delusional and does not know the poverty and suffering he has caused for Zimbabwe's people, he is living in luxury and unlimited food for himself oblivious of the world around him. He has no policies in place to improve the lives of his people and build a middle class society. His land reform policy is totally racist against whites that was not recognised by the world media as racist.

Mugabe in the early 80's was respected and bought reconciliation with hope for a new democratic Zimbabwe. However that all changed when an opposition party challenged him and with this greed and fear for atrocities from the past made him become a dictator.

I am African and I love the African people and I believe he is the demon of his own people. He was not let down by the British, if he had kept to correct protocol of the Lancaster House Agreement as was agreed, the resettlement program would have succeeded. Instead it was not transparent and the land was mostly given to Mugabes cronies and not to the people as was agreed.

 African politics needs to find its own direction and not a western or capitalist way and not an eastern or socialist way, but to find something new that will work for Africa and benefit all people who live there
 

I am sorry but this is not democratic as we in the west see it, and maybe African politics needs to find its own direction and not a western or capitalist way and not an eastern or socialist way, but to find something new that will work for Africa and benefit all people who live there.

To end I just have to say to understand the brotherhood and culture of African people is complex and is not understood by western society. My prayers and thoughts are with all the people in Zimbabwe.

Deladem Agbanaglo, Accra, Ghana:

I believe that the struggle for independence is not over completely in Zimbabwe. Not even in the whole of Africa. Independence would mean nothing if it only meant occupying the presidency.

One must assume ownership of what truly belongs to them. How can one be a leader when he isn't the landlord? As long as in the political world, the sun rises from the "West", the subtle colonialism would prevail.

But Mugabe should have left the second phase of the struggle to a competent new leadership to carry on! So that it does not become a personal struggle! Sorry but that's the way it looks now.

As for the West, they will always need somebody to dance to their tune and it turns out Robert Mugabe will not so they attack him! Uncle Bob must retire to some tea and maybe some tobacco!

Joseph Dumbuya, Nothingham, UK:

 His clinging on to power will win him no sympathy despite the West's sickening double standards in dealing with dictators and overstayers on the continent
 

After twenty-seven years Mugabe is not doing himself or the country any good holding on to power. His clinging on to power will win him no sympathy despite the West's sickening double standards in dealing with dictators and overstayers on the continent.

Donald Cooper, London, UK:

I think Mugabe is unfairly treated because the British Government did not fulfill their commitments of the Lancaster House agreement so until they do, you cannot blame Mugabe, do not forget an angry man can behave irrationally.

John Kalabwe, Balaka, Malawi:

He is surely demonised! The president is quite objective about whatever he is doing. I do not think that any person in the West is as objective as Mugabe. Who counts the numerous atrocities the West causes on innocent people, moreover not Western natives? How justified are Americans to cause restlessness in Iraq? Why judge Mugabe when he is doing the right thing? Whatever he is doing, he is not a demon!

Kelechi Emeka, Calabar, Nigeria:

In my opinion, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is an icon of African emancipation from western domination. My problem with him is that he does not know when to stop.

Godfrey Chitalu, Lusaka, Zambia:

I have been to Zimbabwe and seen the suffering of the people. Mugabe has wrought havoc on the people of his country so that they are forced to come to Zambia to beg for food. To imagine that Zimbabweans used to be the bread basket of our region is even more painful.

The land grab should have been done systematically and with full cooperation of both the so-called land owners and the actual masses who really owned the land in the first place.

Zambia has in a way benefited from the madness in Zimbabwe in that we have the bulk of the Zimbabwean farmers farming in our country.

Godfrey Nyirenda, Lusaka, Zambia:

Mugabe is unfairly treated. The Idea of making the people to suffer so as to make them rise against their leader is wrong? What about slavery, colonialism,civil wars?

Real demons are in Europe for they have underdeveloped Africa through slavery, colonialism, civil wars to mention a few. Mugabe is right, 100% right. We are backward because of the same Europeans; now the neighbouring countries are carrying the burden of Zimbabwe.

Narendra Gajjar, Zanzibar, Tanzania:

 Real demons are in Europe for they have underdeveloped Africa through slavery, colonialism, civil wars to mention a few
 

It is important first to address the making of Zimbabwe. Mugabe came to power after a long and bloody armed struggle supported by the Frontline States. West is aware of that as Liberation Movements got its moral, diplomatic and military support from the rest while West supported the oppressors. Tackling so-called Mugabe issue, let the Frontline States play its role. They can solve this issue rather than the West getting involved.

Tristan, Fort St John, Canada:

Mugabe is not unfairly demonised at all. He's using the colonial past to cover his own faults as do a lot of African countries.

The rules are applied only when it suits them and ignored at all other times. The decline in the standards of everything is simply because the govt does not care about the average people. And like many liberation movements ZANU-PF has personalised the liberation war as if they and they alone were involved!!

They ignore the fact that without the support of the people in the form of food and shelter and not reporting them to the Rhodesian security forces all helped them in the struggle. They also ignore the fact that Joshua Nkomo's ZIPRA army had the same numbers as they had and were better armed and trained than they were.

The West has a big part to play in the chaos that is Africa, but they cannot be blamed for all the mistakes and wrong turns taken by African countries. MEA CULPA is something that these govts need to learn. People need to look to Julius Nyerere's example of leadership where he could admit failure and hand over the reins and not only that but he died living a very modest existence and refused to have a tarred road built to his house unless it was part of the upgrading of the general area. It was still a dirt road when he died. Or Nelson Mandela. The people of Zimbabwe will bounce back if they are allowed to and I believe that Zimbabwe can be the Japan of Africa if given the chance.

Godfrey Chitalu, Lusaka, Zambia:

 To imagine that Zimbabwe used to be the bread basket of our region is even more painful
 

I have been to Zimbabwe and seen the suffering of the people. Mugabe has wrought havoc to the people of his country such that they ironically come to Zambia to beg for food. To imagine that Zimbabwe used to be the bread basket of our region is even more painful. The land grab should have been done systematically and with full cooperation of both the so called land owners and the actual masses who really owned the land in the first place. Zambia has in a way benefited from the madness in Zimbabwe in that we have the bulk of the Zimbabwean farmers farming in our country. the only hindrance is the many HIV AIDS prone girls and boys who come to beg for good life in our country.

Godfrey Nyirenda, Lusaka, Zambia:

Mugabe is unfairly treated. The Idea of making the people to suffer so as to make them rise against their leader is wrong. What about slavery, colonialism, civil wars?

Real demons are in Europe for they have underdeveloped africa through slavery, colonialism, civil wars to mention a few. Mugabe is right 100% right. We are backward because of the same Europeans now the neighbours are carrying the burden of Zimbabwe and whites are happy.

Narendra Gajjar, Zanzibar, Tanzania:

It is important first to address the making of Zimbabwe. Mugabe came to power after a long and bloody armed struggle supported by the Frontline States. West is aware of that as Liberation Movements got its moral, diplomatic and military support from the rest while West supported the oppressors. Tackling so-called Mugabe issue, let the Frontline States play its role. They can solve this issue rather than the West getting involved.

Clay Manda, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania:

In fact, Africa is having a problem of not dealing with facts. This is basically a problem to our leaders like Mugabe. Mugabe is failing to understand that he can't rule Zimbabwe indefintely. He did his best in liberation struggles but now he turns the country into political turmoil and abject poverty. The West is right because Mugabe is wrong by not allowing the persistence of democracy and the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

 He is wrong and hence has to quit from power and give room for positive economic and political changes in Zimbabwe
 

Nothing last longer, we used to have prophets and thinkers but none of them can stay indefinitely. He is wrong and hence has to quit from power and give room for positive economic and political changes in Zimbabwe. I pray for him to understand that the new generation in Zimbabwe doesn't wanna see what is he doing for the country right now.

Patrick Zellay, Chicago, USA:

No, he is not a ruler. He is tyrant

Karibu Bham, Birmingham, UK:

I THINK ITS IS IMPORTANT THAT BRITIAN LOOK AT ITS HISTORY WITH ZIMBABWE ESPECAILLY THE EMPTY PROMISES THEY HAVE BEEB GIVING AND TAKE A REASONABLE DESCISION. I BELEVE OUR BELOVED GORDON WILL HVE ZIMBABWE HIGH ON THE AGENDA

Henry Sufa Mpunga, London, UK:

The article by Kaunda is first opinion (in BBC media) that takes the debate about Zimbabwe right to the genesis of problem. May be now we will have a decent debate. However, Mugabe needs to go and violence stop full stop.

Naigee Deide, Monrovia, Liberia:

The west and their sponsored opposition in Zimbabwe are responsible for the current state of affairs and not president Mugabe as it is widely potrayed in the west. President Mugabe's land reform agenda is legal but the west has termed it illegal.This is unfair.The sanctions and other hash economic measures are purely intended to suffer the Zimbabwian people and humiliate president Mugabe's regime.

George Bangura, Nepalgunj, Nepal:

The President of Zimbabwe is presently the symbol of Africa resistance to the West. Most of his colleagues are puppets who obey instructions in the guise of Democracy from the west because of loans to credit their account abroad because all the aid should have placed Africa on the list of developed countries. Those who fought for their independence will not give it away easily.

 The British disappointed Zimbabwe and should settle the land issue instead of making the people suffer because of their president
 

Helping the oppositions is like dividing the people who are united in their cultural believes and sovereignty. Mugabe will only leave when the people asked him to leave the top job. As Kaunda said, the British disappointed Zimbabwe and should settle the land issue instead of making the people suffer because of their president.

Prof Collier, Poughkeepsie, USA:

White nationalism and imperialist policies will continue to be obstacles to Africa's/African development. The corrupting influence of western nations on newly independent nations is overwhelming.

Control of Africa's economies, pillaging of African resources, utilization of religious missionaries to penetrate African nations abounds relentlessly. Young African nations are being undermined by Western style democracies that are not appropriate for the stages of current nationhood of most African nations.

Whites and Africans who condemn the chaos in Africa are not only ignorant of the western designs that foment this instability, but support western efforts to pillage african resources while this chaotic state affairs is sustained. Without stability there is less chance of development, thus there is less economic competition from Africa. Culturally and politically, African heads of state must invest in their nations rather than bowing to western threats and corrupting influences.

Gudoi Masaba, Halifax, Canada:

As in the question,True Mugabe is a scapegoat for the west to address the land issue. It is also true that Mugabe is being unfairly demonised by the West. Whites in Zimbabwe had most of the land either being utilized for agricultural purposes or conserved for further use. Most of the fertile land for example had been taken as reserve land whiles a native Zimbabwean had no or some unproductive land.

The question to pause is? White farmers claim they bought land. From whom did they by land? They were the same people in power till 1980. To whom did they pay money? The native laborers or the queen who was the leader by then. The answer is westerners grabbed land and they have never wanted to be blamed on that. This is what is causing Comrade BOB problems. He has exposed them by as king who sold to them the land they claim is theirs. Such leaders are lacking in Africa.Comrade did the right thing to eject encroachers on Zimbabwean land. Bravo comrade BOB.

Deflord Doherty, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA:

When was the end of colonialism in Africa? Mr Mugabe was a great steward for that. I couldnt care less about what the "WEST" has to say about Mr. Mugabe.

The truth remains that most of those critisims are true, justified as well as needed. Zimbabwe does not have a monarchy. Mr Mugabe should give up his self proclaimed throne in peace or wait for it to eventually be taken away from him by force - as happened to Dawda Jawara in The Gambia, Saidu Momoh of Sierra Leone, and many others.

 I am a son of the the soil, the African blood surges through my veins... Mugabe derserves every word of criticism.
 

Mr Mugabe I am a son of the the soil, the African blood surges through my veins, regardless of what what the West says, I have one thing to say to you: you deserve every word of criticism and they are justified.

Retire with respect, or we all know what your fate will be... an ex-president (king) in some foreign land where you will live the rest of you days in shame, with no way to come home, at the mercy of a young government who will refuse you the state funeral you are trying - too hard - to secure for your self.

William Mwengee, Tanga, Tanzania:

His excellence former president of Zambia gave a very good summary of current land issue in Zimbabwe. Yes I agree with your opinion of not demonising President Mugabe for what is going on now in Zimbabwe. However, whatever is happening now in Zimbabwe affects the Zimbabweans and all Africans with good will.

Do you mean there was not a diplomatic way of solving the land conflict which could have averted the current situation? Again for me it took long time since Zimbabwe got independence until the land issue became serious. What was Mugabe doing during all those years, was he being pleased by something (bribed) until he found no alternative and he had no good answer to Zimbabweans then he decided to react.

The situation now in Zimbabwe is beyond tolerance and to my opinion Mugabe carries the blame 80% leaving 20% to other perpertrators. Let us build our nations and avoid putting blames on others.

Mwana Wevhu, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe:

By the way I am a beneficiary of the Land Reform Programme in Zimbabwe with 602Ha of excellent land.

Lets establish facts in order to understand what Mzee Kaunda was saying: 1. During the colonial era, millions of indigenous Zimbabweans were brutally evicted from the fertile and wet central highlands and forced into hot and arid RESERVES (- YES very similar to game reserves). Our forefathers precious cattle herds were confiscated and infact they lost everything including their dignity as a people. Many people perished. Able bodied blacks were taken back and forced to work on the farms as slaves (Chibharo) for close to a century.

2. Black Zimbabweans took arms and went into the bush primarily to take their land back. In fact the last part of the struggle (2nd Chimurenga) was won at a cost of 12% of the population. Not counting hundreds of thousands who perished directly or indirectly over the century.

3. For 20 yrs after the war, the same white thugs were quoting sections this or that of the constitution that made the land their own. They were not prepared to loose an inch of it. Some of them had more that 120 000Ha larger than the size of Belgium or Swaziland. The British govt saw nothing wrong about this.

 Blacks have always been seen as bad farmers. But honestly why throw someone with nothing into the desert and then come back and call him/her a bad farmer
 

4. Blacks have always been seen as bad farmers. But honestly why throw someone with nothing into the desert and then come back and call him/her a bad farmer

5. When you take land back you dont do it orderly its a war. You dont give the people time to organize against you. You use the big BANG principle then work on the after effects latter.

6. On MY 602Ha estate first year I produced NOTHING. I was simply walking up and down the farm. This year I got 100t of maize. Next yr it will be a thousand etc.

Those Africans who remember the above facts will look this way when the West wants them to look the other way. So is Mugabe right on land make your judgment. About democracy, politics etc, that's a separate topic.

Minza Charles in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania:

I think what Mugabe is doing, is for the benefit of the Zimbabwe people. So he is a hero af Africa.

Novatus Mpanda, Shinyanga, Tanzania:

I salute Mugabe and his fellow freedom fighters for their contribution.However Mugabe is of old fashioned now to bring economic changes to Zimbabwe.It is true that Britain mishandled the land issue but that alone is not an excuse for the current economic situations facing Zimbabwe.

Smart Baitani in Minneapolis, USA:

In my opinion, from a political economy perspective, "Mzee" Kaunda (as we would respectfully render the title in Swahili) he is absolutely RIGHT but up to a point.

He has conveniently tackled only one part the equation, leaving the other unsolved.

The Western world, on the other hand addresses the other half of the equation,(the democratic argument) ignoring the the first part (The Kaunda School of Thought).

The two parts of the equation need to come to terms. The Western media and the '2Bs' in particular are simply hypocritical by ignoring the Kaunda School of Thought, and Mzee Kaunda, by failing condemn the repression of democratic processes in Zimbabwe, risks himself sounding apologetic.

I for one, am sure Mzee Kaunda has made a compelling argument for taking the historical perspective which the West has completely ignored. Thank you Mzee Kaunda, for your moral wisdom. We love you!

Kwaku Antwi-Boasiako in Accra, Ghana:

Struggle to end colonialism was a battle in itself, which Mugabe can be said to have won for the people of Zimbabwe.

However, that battle was not supposed to be an end in itself; it was supposed to help Zimbabwe shape its own destiny and to be able to develop its people and economy just as other parts of the world have done.

 Whatever the West says about Mugabe, I am interested in how ordinary Zimbabweans feel
 

Mugabe and his supporters seem to constantly live in the past. They forget that the current struggle against poverty, diseases, illiteracy, political oppression and suppression, among other socio-economic ills cannot be won using the same anti-colonial tactics.

Whatever the West says about Mugabe, I am interested in how ordinary Zimbabweans feel and what they they think about their current situation and leadership.

I think the debate is about whether Zimbabwe currently has the political and economic systems that can give ordinary people a decent standard of living and a hope for better life for future generations.

With the economy nose-diving and no hope of political reforms under Mugabe, Zimbabwe's future will remain bleak, and this is not the making of the West.

To those who think Mugabe is being demonised because of land re-distribution, I turn the question around: why did Mugabe fail to re-distribute land until 2000?

Was it solely due to the 'willing seller-willing' formula and failure of the West to make money available for land re-distribution, or did it have anything to do with the fear of losing power to the MDC?

Alexander Museshyo in Lusaka, Zambia:

I want to believe that there is more to the police state in Zimbabwe than has been reported by the Western media.

Yes, the land issue is the underlying source of all the anarchy in Zimbabwe -Britain should admit that it has indeed contributed to the problems in Zimbabwe.

However, Robert Mugabe should equally take responsibility by stepping down! He cannot continue to fight for Zimbabwe's socio-economic liberation. Let other people in Zimbabwe contribute their part.

To Mugabe: Ask Dr. Kaunda why he stepped down in 1990?

Boni in the USA:

Mugabe needs to get out of power. Whatever good he has accomplished, it has now been destroyed by his treatment of the opposition, and his hunger for power!.

He's too old and out of touch!!

Rev Fr Jackson Katete in Livingstone, Zambia:

I believe that Kaunda and Mugabe are colonial liberators and have done much in this respect. I salute them!

But, politics of Kaunda and Mugabe's time are over; the perpetuation of these ideas so that Mugabe remains in power is killing our economies.

Mugabe is bringing death to Zimbabwe in the name of land distribution.

Who doesn't want land to be distributed? You are using the land distribution politics to stay in power.

How can you kill the people you are supposed to govern? People who are starving in Zimbabwe come daily to my house here in Zambia - all because Mugabe wants to stay in power.

With all respect, Cmrd Kaunda and Mugabe, you are bringing shame to Africa by using the veil of land distribution so that Mugabe remains in power.

Peter Ndagala in Kampala, Uganda:

I partly agree with Mzee Kaunda that Mugabe and the colleagues might have been let down by the British; but still their behavour is so unbecoming of a leader.

 Mugabe is bringing death to Zimbabwe in the name of land distribution
 

They should have handled the land issue in a better way as a national issue but not politicise it to ensure their survival in power at the expense of the country's economy.

African leaders should wake up and put selfishness aside instead of blaming the West if Africa is to develop.

I think Mugabe's time is up and he should let go of power because he will never sort out the mess he created with the land issues even if he rules for another 100 years. We need more Mandelas who know when to leave.


 
 
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