Grace Mugabe’s greatest robbery


“Ten years ago, I investigated the expropriations being funded and organised in Africa by another member of the Commonwealth. Canada had paid for the ploughing and planting with wheat of the Basotu Plains in Tanzania. Wheat was eaten in that country only by the rich, but by planting that crop, rather than maize or beans or cassava, Canada could secure contracts for its chemical and machinery companies, which were world leaders in wheat technology. The scheme required the dispossession of the 40 000 members of the Barabaig tribe. Those who tried to return to their lands were beaten by the project’s workers, imprisoned and tortured with electric shocks. The women were gang-raped. For the first time in a century, the Barabaig were malnourished. When I raised these issues with one of the people running the project, she told me, ‘I won’t shed a tear for anybody if it means development.’

“The rich world’s press took much the same attitude: only the Guardian carried the story. Now yet another member of the Commonwealth, the United Kingdom, is funding a much bigger scheme in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Some 20 million people will be dispossessed. Again this atrocity has been ignored by most of the media.

“These are dark-skinned people being expelled by whites, rather than whites being expelled by black people. They are, as such, assuming their rightful place, as invisible obstacles to the rich world’s projects. Mugabe is a monster because he has usurped the natural order.”

This is what made Mugabe a hero across Africa and the oppressed people but unfortunately not at home where most people, probably brainwashed by the West, revered the late South African President Nelson Mandela. But in the same article, Monbiot concluded:  “The president of Zimbabwe is a very minor devil in the hellish politics of land and food. The sainted Nelson Mandela has arguably done just as much harm to the people of Africa, by surrendering his powers to the IMF as soon as he had wrested them from apartheid. Let us condemn Mugabe’s racist attacks upon Zimbabwe’s whites by all means, but only if we are also prepared to condemn the far bloodier war which the rich world wages against the poor.”

This is probably what most Zimbabweans should be thinking about. The land issue is in the news right now and people should be talking about Mugabe because he masterminded the take-over, but Grace robbed the people of this great opportunity.

No matter what his critics say he remains a hero.  Like any human being, he had his mistakes but no one can rob him of what he did about land. The land reform programme might have been brutal or chaotic, but there was no other way to get as much land and in such a short period as Mugabe did.

It is now much easier to rectify and regularise the land issue.

Maybe Grace Mugabe could also rectify what she did.

Mugabe deserves to be at Heroes Acre where future generations can come and pay respects to a Great leader.

See also: Mugabe a cash cow

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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