“We will fight a fight for our own identity, our own integrity and personality as Africans, We are Africans. If we decide, as we shall certainly do so one of these days, that down with the United Nations, …we can’t continue to be artificial members of it. If the United Nations is to survive, we have to be equal members of it.” (Mugabe, 36th AU Summit, 2016)
Like in typical African fashion, the grandfather has spoken words laced with wisdom, wisdom addressed to his family of youngsters he may not get to meet again trying to instill a sense of pride and dignity in them to fight the course of their motherland.
Unfortunately for us, when Mugabe speaks, it is a case of shooting the messenger, in the process his message gets lost amidst arguments of whether that was the right occasion to say some of the things he said, or whether he shouldn’t more focused on the governance issues on the continent. Some even suggesting that he should die and leave us alone already. It seems his detractors, those determined to see him reduced to no more than an old senile man and his ramblings, are winning. They have succeeded in making our minds up for us about Mugabe, at least some of us. Tragic!
Mugabe is certainly no saint, points alluded to in an earlier post; just like no political leader in our modern world is. He is one of those people you cannot sit on the fence for, you either love him or hate him. Whatever side you’re on, let’s not fall victim to discarding his message in its entirety because he spoke them. Africa is at a crossroads, as is indeed the world at large. We can use every perspective we can get to help shape the future of the continent.
Africa’s problems and challenges are numerous, but in the mind of the so called intelligentsia, with their Eurocentric perspective needless to say, none of it has anything to do with the West or the institutions they fund and their relationship with Africa. Where a case is established that in fact such institutions pose a challenge to Africa’s progress economically or otherwise, the suggestion the same intellectual class comes up with is that let Africa take care of its leadership and governance problems first before shifting the blame outside. And sadly, they are the ones given the platform to shape the views of the word on Africa and African affairs. As always, there is that exception to any rule, a lot of the intellectual class is speaking for the Africans and the unfair dealings Africa gets with the West.
What about the proposition that Africa leaves the United Nations? Will there be consequences for leaving? Certainly; is it an extreme proposition? Probably. Is the African Union functional enough to be an effective alternative? Likely not. But does that change the fact that Africa and her interests are dealt a bad hand at the UN with hardly a voice that gets listened to? Unless there is reform as proposed, that fact will remain. As a global body, all members, regardless of economic, political, or military status should have equal say on world affairs. But as he pointed out, that sadly is not the case.
A lot of his counterparts probably giggled at the idea of a UN exit, and should some agree and make the move, they’ll be hung out to dry. Remember Sankara and his proposal for a refusal to pay IMF and World Bank debt with their exorbitant interests? He knew that “If [he] go it alone, they will come after [him], so it can only be done together.” Why, because the economic situation in Africa was so dire that we cannot afford those huge loan repayment terms. He stated that “They will not die if we do not repay, but our people will die if we pay that loan.” Meaning taking that much money out of an already broken economy for debt servicing will deprive the poor masses of much needed economic booster. What happened to him for proposing such ideas needs no further elaboration.
Truth is, Mugabe is sick and tired of the same game being played on Africans and that some Africans agree to be used as pawns in that game of self-destruction. He has been in the struggle for Africa’s liberation longer than any on that platform. He knows the game being played and we can’t seem to see things from his perspective. At the very least, we can give him the respect he deserves as a hero for the struggle of the dignity of the African people. He may have used the wrong formula sometimes, but who doesn’t make mistakes? The younger generation of Africans and people of African descent see in him a hero worth celebrating in so many respects. One or two flaws here and there wouldn’t be enough to cast a dark shadow on his long struggle for a dignified Africa.
That much we owe him.
The bigger question is, can Africa afford such a move?