The world mourns late Robert Mugabe: An Icon of Liberation

The global news channels made headlines over the weekend, following the death on Friday of former longest serving President of Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, at a the Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore, where he had been hospitalised, since April, this year.

The late 95-year-old liberation fighter, was ousted from power by the military two years ago, after 37 years in power, having led his people to independence from British colonial administration in 1980, to become his country’s Prime Minster and later President.

His death was received with mixed reactions as tributes continue to pour in.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported the death of the late Mugabe, as published in Ghanaian Times, Saturday, September 7, 2019, issue that “Robert Gabriel Mugabe was a man who divide global public opinion like few others.

“To some, he was an evil dictator, who should have ended his days in jail for crimes against humanity. To others, he was a revolutionary hero, who fought racial oppression and stood up to western imperialism and neo-colonialism,” BBC explained.

Indeed, the late Mugabe’s contributions to humanity can be a mixed blessing and inexhaustible.

The Western countries may not see any good in the late Mugabe because of some of his policies, especially the human rights record of his government and his controversial land reform agenda, resulting in sanctions on his administration that brought the economy of Zimbabwe to its knees.

However, to Africa, especially Southern African countries, the late Mugabe is most revered, as reflected in the tribute of his colleagues and other statesmen.

Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, said “Southern Africans join the people and government of Zimbabwe in mourning the passing of a liberation fighter and champion of Africa’s cause against colonialism.”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, described him as an ‘Icon of Liberation’, in a televised address to announce the passing on of his former boss, and ally in the liberation struggle of Zimbabwe.

He announced that the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union- Popular Front has accorded him a ‘National Hero Status,’ which he said Mugabe ‘richly deserves.’

As a result, he would be laid to rest at the National Heros Acre, located on the hilltops in the national capital Harare, from where stands a huge bronze status of three other Zimbabwean guerrilla fighters.

The National Heros Acre, is exclusively reserved for the internment of Zimbabweans, deemed to have made significant sacrifices for the nation, which emerged as Zimbabwe, from colonial Rhodesia.

Flags are flying at half-mast in Southern African countries, while the people await the arrival of the remains of Mugabe for burial.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has Twittered “Robert Mugabe will be remembered, above all, for his immense contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe and Southern Africa from imperialism, colonialism and racist rule. His dedication to the cause of pan-Africanism is fully acknowledged.”

For us in Ghana, whether dead or alive, Mugabe would remain our ‘own,’ and indeed an in-law, having married our daughter, sister and mother, Sally Mugabe of blessed memory, while in Ghana as teacher, and for liberation struggle tutorials.

We pray Zimbabweans will forgive the great pan Africanist for his past deeds, come together and accord him a befitting state burial, and forge ahead as a united country.

As Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman philosopher, statesman, orator and lawyer postulated “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living”, we extend to Zimbabweans our deepest condolences, and urge them to be guided by the experiences of the past in national building as they mourn one of their beloved great heroes.

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