I was interested to watch CNN’s interview with Robert Mugabe on Thursday. I believed that Christiane Amanpour would give an interesting and telling interview with one of the most despised political leaders of the 21st century. Yet I was left feeling thoroughly disappointed and feeling somewhat let down by a reporter that looked clearly out of her depths, and almost hesitant to even go there while facing the notorious dictator.
It would seem that in American politics Amanpour wields a powerful wand that has created this aura of respect that in my humble opinion is totally unfounded. I would love to see Mugabe before a more seasoned International Political Reporter like Stephen Sackur or be grilled by the world renowned Jon Snow. Then you know that the truth of Zimbabwe’s crime and corruption at the top.
Amanpour clearly had not researched the content of her questions to Robert Mugabe, and when she floundered in deep water before a man with more degree’s than most educated people in our world she looked out of place and sounded completely out of her depths. Had she bothered to look into the complexities of the Colonial issue in Zimbabwe, and realised that right from the moment that Zimbabwe was finally given its Independence in 1980 that the land had been promised to the people of Zimbabwe she would clearly have been better prepared to understand that there was a whole lot more to the land issue than Mugabe just simply bullying the white farmers off their land.
Furthermore I was horrified at her complete lack of research into a very public and very well documented Operation Murambatsvina. Everyone that has worked following the Zimbabwean story knows that “Operation Drive-Out Filth” in her words was aimed at Robert Mugabe’s opposition supporters that were grouped in make shift ghetto’s in and around Harare and had nothing what so ever to do with farm workers. These two blunders made Amanpour look a decisive armature in my book, and left me very disappointed at an opportunity that rarely presents itself to corner Robert Mugabe into facing up to his crimes and realising the error of his ways.
Even when she did manage to land a left hook by pressing the question home about Roy Bennett, a question that clearly flustered the self styles dictator in front of her, she totally failed to press home her upper hand allowing Mugabe to wriggle out of even presenting a reasonable answer to her question. Perhaps Amanpour should stick to American politics for which she has the time and passion for real research and presentation. And maybe the CNN should really think twice about its position as a world leader in presentation of the news and fulfil its role responsibly by allocating people who have the time and inclination to do the job properly.
But over and above the let down of Amanpour’s inadequate interview, what did I really expect from an interview with a man who has lived under a cloud of deluded fabrication for so long that the truth is clearly as murky to Robert Mugabe as the lies he spins to cover his inadequacies and failures. I knew as did every Zimbabwean that we would hear more of the same old line of his nationalist mantra. I knew as did every individual that is familiar with the ranting of the deluded leader that he would point a finger at the sanctions placed on him and his cabinet as being the root cause of all Zimbabwe’s woes. For the CNN to give politicians like Mugabe the type of platform for such antiquated raving without any real form of challenge is both wanton neglect to do its job responsibly and is part and parcel of the reason that Mugabe is able to return to Zimbabwe a hero before his supporters, having told the West once more it is to blame.
Mugabe is no fool. He does not agree to do anything without it first being beneficial to himself and second without ensuring that he will come out of it in a position of power. Perhaps it was a careful analysis of Amanpour’s style that prompted Mugabe to realise that she would be a soft target, easy to overcome and quick to sweep aside when facing his critics back home. (I am not sure that you will find many of those.) We all know that Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu is a verbally outspoken critique of Robert Mugabe’s rule, and even he was plundered by the Presidents tirade of abuse live on CNN.
I felt myself wondering what the purpose for Amanpour’s question to Robert Mugabe about citizenship and whether or not a white man could be a Zimbabwean. A vague and somewhat insufficient answer left me pondering whether my birth in Zimbabwe counted for anything. A white born city boy, whose family were not from British ancestry, had never farmed any colonial land, would be considered to owe Zimbabwe a debt. Mr Mugabe allow me to set you straight. You may have it in your head that I or any of my family owe you a debt of sorts, but there is nothing in this world that I will give to you but the contempt of my mind and the mistrust of my heart. I owe you nothing. I am a white man. I am a Zimbabwean. You may take my land, you may even take my home, hell you can take the money I have saved in my bank account, and if you’re really so desperate you can even have the shirt on my back though I doubt it will fit you. But there is one thing that you will never take from me, and that is my pride to stand here today to be counted and named as a Zimbabwean, and as long as you live you can never change that fact.
Mugabe’s interview read like a long list of denials, almost like a naughty school boy trying desperately to hide his indiscretions from the head master who is about to beat his backside mercilessly. He denied the country was in an economic meltdown. He denied that his people were living in Poverty and suffering from malnutrition. He denied that legitimate white farmers were being forced from their land. He denied that his party had lost the 2008 national elections. He denied that opposition supporters were harassed during the runoff election. He denied that the new power sharing government was failing. He denied that opposition leaders were still to this day being harassed by the police and defence forces. He denied his economic policies had wrecked the country. He denied he feared defeat again in the 2011 elections failing to say if he would run or not. My goodness Mr Mugabe that is an awful lot of denials. The problem is you have been caught with blood on your hands, red handed you could say, and this is before an international arena that are not as gullible as your supporters to believe every word that spills from your mouth. We don’t for one moment believe your drivel of words trying to hide your indiscretions so perhaps you best lower your pants and assume the position.
Unfortunately Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu is more the man than you will ever be, and having won the Nobel Prize for Peace, I am sure that his words describing you as a basket case will carry more weight that you attempting to declare him a little man. The international community laugh at your feeble attempts to throw dust up to create a sand storm of uncertainty. We are all able to read the black and white print that clearly spell out the limits of sanctions against yourself and your allies. We, unlike the people you are able to convince in Zimbabwe know that sanctions don’t for one moment affect the trade ability or normal day to day ability of your government to run your country properly. So if it is the fact that you are tired of Grace whining in your ear about her inability of being able to spend Zimbabwe’s millions on her shopping sprees in the style of New York and London, then please have the courage to stand up and ask to have sanctions removed because you cannot tolerate her incessant complaining. We might after all be more willing to consider your request based on your honesty.
With all seriousness, it is easy for me to have a cheap dig sitting here without you before me to listen to my sarcasim, but the reality of the situation is that no matter how hard you try to create a smoke screen to hide your corruption, you can’t. You stand before the international community in the UN and tell us that there is a direct violation of the principal and practice of democracy in International Relations because of these illegal sanctions we place on you from the west. I call on every nation that has placed sanctions on Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe to never lift them till the day Mugabe dies. Mr Mugabe, you ask what it is that we would see you do? Let me present you with a list. One resign. Two stand before an international court of human rights and admit your crimes. Three forfeit your ill gotten gains and let your family fend for themselves. Three die in the cell in which you belong. We as Zimbabweans do not forget the crimes that you have perpetuated against our beautiful nation in your own name. It is not the sanctions imposed on you that destroy our country but your greed and malice which you deal out against anyone who speaks out against you. It is your inability to stand up for what is right and good. It is your failure to be an honourable man. You bring shame on the house of Nehanda. You bring disgrace to the door of the house of Kagivi. Through your malpractice and poor leadership you have broken the back of the Monomatapa and the kin of Lobengula regard you with hatred.
It is a sad thing. There will come a day when you will die and leave this world with nothing but the hairs upon your body and the spirit within your soul. You will stand before your god naked and ashamed, scorned and mocked by a multitude of angles. No one will morn your passing. There will be great rejoicing when the breath leaves your lungs and your body lies lifeless. History has already forgotten Sadam Hussein. His name is not even mentioned, and if it is it conjures up images of evil in much the same way that the name Mugabe will for a millennium of Zimbabweans after you.
We have watched time after time as crimes have been perpetuated on your behalf, or people been struck off the hit list as they became a threat to you. When Maurice Nyagumbo came close to exposing you during the Sandura Commission we saw a familiar military vehicle accident. When the UN in 2002 singled out Emmerson Mnangagwe and Vitalis Zvinavashe as being key players of the rape and plunder of the Congo on your behalf. Yes we noted in your own Land Reform and Resettlement Program National Audit that three cabinet ministers, four provincial governors, two leading businessmen and members of the Mugabe family had all obtained vast tracts of land illegally and inappropriately, frequently having evicted peasant farmers to whom the land have been redistributed in the first wave of land grabs.
Oh I could carry on with a list and produce a document hundreds of pages long if we were to really sit down and document the criminal extent of your life as leader of the Zimbabwean nation Mr Mugabe. Even the war veterans whom used to support you in their thousands now quietly sit and contemplate the true nature of life under Mugabe, and the truth is that you have to be pretty foolish to cherish a man so hell bent on destruction. At no time can we look back and admire your work as a leader. We cannot draw any parallel with it other than to teach a world of future leaders what not to do to land up as hated and disrespected as you. There is a difference about acknowledging you to be polite and acknowledging you out of respect, of this you are well aware, as you were taught the lessons of being a gentleman. However somewhere along the way you lost your right to be called a gentleman, and gained the right to be considered a devil instead.
Robert Mugabe is on record as saying he was appointed by God and it is only God that will remove him from power. While this may well be true, he forgets that he will be judged one day, and as long as that will happen I take satisfaction in this fact. One day I will be standing at that day of judgement, and I will cheer for every time that he is found lacking and wanting before his maker, cast down and committed to a life of destruction and debauchery to which he belongs. On that day those whom have died at his hands will know that his time has come and his regret will be greatest.