mugabe and tsvangirai failing Zimbabwe

There comes a time when convention and ideology needs to be brushed aside for the sake of the well being of a nation. Now is such a time for Zimbabwe, once Southern Africa’s bread basket but now a basket case in its own right. The truth be said, Robert Mugabe’s land policies had some merit. It is inconceivable in any democracy that a tiny percentage of the population (most of foreign origin whose grandparents and parents stole land from native Zimbabweans) should own huge tracts of land while the vast majority subsist on tiny parcels. This system was simply unsustainable and was bound to explode with or without uncle Rob (next watch South Africa under Zuma…..). That said, it is indisputable that Mugabe bungled the entire process. Forceful evictions, cronyism and outright thuggery made the whole process seem like it was being run by a bunch of kids.

So now the water has been spilled. As they say where I come from, maji yakimwagika hayazoleki (once water has been spilled you can’t put it back into a container). The Zimbabwean economy is paying dearly for Rob’s misadventures. The political process has also been a major casualty of the land mess. And millions of Zimbabweans have been forced to flee their own country. A few questionable elections have been held. Many have been jailed for political reasons.

With all the above in mind, I can’t help but wonder why the hell Robert Mugabe and Robert Tsvangirai are continuing in their dillying and dallying instead of reaching an agreement to start fixing the country. Perhaps Tsvangirai does not want to cede any ground on principle. But this is no time for principles or unncessary fights. People – with only one life to live like all of us – are dying daily because of the intransigence of these two men and their aides. Someone needs to lock them up in a room without food or bathroom break until they come up with a plan to save Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, South Africa continues to be a big disappointment in this affair. They are the last country one would expect to tolerate arbitrary tyranny – regardless of the color of the skin of the tyran.

what an obama presidency could do for african leadership

There is excitement in the air. All around the world and here in the US in particular everyone seems thrilled by the idea that tomorrow Barrack Obama, the son of a Kenyan man and a Kansan woman, will be sworn in to become the 44th president of the United States. I am excited too, partly because of my own political persuasion and partly because being a Kenyan this is a special moment when the son of a Kenyan becomes the most powerful man in the world. I am not big on identity politics but I simply could not let this one go.

Back to the topic of this post. As we await the arrival of the Obamas in the White House I cannot help but wonder how an Obama presidency will affect leadership on the continent of his father – Africa. Already in Europe and Israel we have seen candidates mimic Obama as they attempt to woo voters. I hope that the same enthusiasm for this man’s brand of politics and political organization spreads to Africa. I hope that an Obama presidency will plant the seeds for African leadership based on lasting ideals and ideologies and not myopic ethno-economic calculations.

So let us all make merry and be happy as the world begins a new chapter with a renewed America. And let us strive to imitate what is best about America – it’s resiliency and unique ability of self-regeneration and most of all its peoples belief in themselves, even when the odds seem longer than they can overcome.