In the last 24 hours, I have observed with mixed feelings, the jubilations on the streets of Zimbabwe, London and parts of South Africa, carried in the international news media, following the obviously induced resignation of President Robert Gabriel Mugabe last Tuesday.
The pictures give me an idea of what might have happened in my own Ghana on February 24, 1966 after the overthrow of Dr Kwame Nkrumah in a military cum police coup d’état. Accounts, both written and oral, have it that there were jubilations even among some of the people believed to be “lovers” of Nkrumah.
My mixed feelings stemmed from the fact that I have also seen pictures of similar jubilations after the overthrow of dictators like Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. The two nations are still struggling to recover from the trauma of forced exits of those dictators; which may justify sentiments from certain observers, asking Zimbabwe to proceed cautiously.
In the resignation letter, read by speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, President Mugabe said: “My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire for a smooth, non-violent transfer of power” how thoughtful!
To some people, this may be a shade late in the day given the human rights records of Mugabe. But I believe it is a sincere statement. I am not interested in the choices available to him, even if he had one.
I am also persuaded by this move that Mugabe really loves Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe will begin to rise again before he leaves for eternity. In the run-up to the 2016 general election in Ghana, I had the privilege of meeting the Commonwealth Observer Mission led by former South African President, Thabo Mbeki—a very nice man.
President Mbeki had succeeded the legendry Nelson Mandela. Soon there were agitations from his party for him to step down. And he stood down quietly to the surprise of many. After my meeting with his observer mission at the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel, Accra, I asked Mr Mbeki in an aside, why he yielded power without any resistance.
He said he loved his country, and knowing that if he put up any resistance the military would have stepped in to defend him as head of state and that could have thrown the country into a state of uncertainties, he yielded. I was impressed by Mbeki and encouraged by the fact that we do have some leaders in Africa who love their countries so much so that they are willing to yield power to preserve it.
The Holy Bible in Ecclesiastes 3 King James Version (KJV) says: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” To that end, I believe the second liberation of Zimbabwe has just taken place with the Mugabe resignation, offering the country a fresh opportunity to start again.
Unfortunate as the long years of stagnation under Mugabe may be, we; the Progressive Pan Africanists, can remain optimistic. That all the good things that Zimbabweans could do that they did not do because of Mugabe can now be done. And all the bad things that they did which they should not have done because of Mugabe would be a thing of the past.
In December 2015, I had the privilege of visiting Rwanda. The country of eight million people; plunged into chaos of slaughter leaving one million dead. How betrayers, schemers, conspirators, widowers, widows, orphans, murderers and survivors could find places in their hearts to come together to re-build a new Rwanda of flowers from ashes inspires hope.
When the President of Rwanda recently offered to help my Ghana develop further our Information, Communication and Technology (ITC) sector, I felt humbled. The Rwandan success story may be exaggerated sometimes. But it is a wonder that all of Africa can learn from for our individual and collective progress and development. We must stop whining about history and focus on our destiny! I believe Zimbabwe will rise again. God bless Africa!!
The Last Uprising
…with Willliam Dowokpor