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Zimbabwe: Bloggers Discuss President Mugabe's Legacy

Zimbabwe is a country where public discussion about President Mugabe's health or a future without him, can land one in a police cell. Blogs have become the only forum where this “sensitive issue” can be discussed by Zimbabwean netizens. Kubatana blogger Upenyu Makoni-Muchemwa asks about Mugabe's legacy:

On the issue of his legacy, only time will tell. Was land reform just a political manoeuvre to quell rebellion from war veterans? Or was it part of a grander scheme to restore dignity to the dispossessed black majority? Knowing several war vets of his generation, I am well acquainted with their mistrust of white people. How could they not when they grew up in a world where black people were classified as being of less value than livestock? But does that mean that he and his generation can no longer operate in a time in which race is an increasingly outmoded basis for discrimination? More importantly are his ideas less relevant today than they were when the nationalist movement began? I believe he is one of the last great southern African nationalists, so when his time comes what is the future of the nationalist movement? Does it have a future at all, or will it give way to the homogeneity offered by globalisation?

Robert Mugabe at Zimbabwe's Independence Day celebrations 2009, Harare. Image by Zimbo Zimbo, copyright Demotix (17/04/2009).

Robert Mugabe at Zimbabwe's Independence Day celebrations 2009, Harare. Image by Zimbo Zimbo, copyright Demotix (17/04/2009).

An article titled “Yes, Mugabe must be allowed to go home and rest” posted Newsday elicited responses that would not be recklessly expressed be it public transport or any other space where “anyone” can be listening. Bobby Fortune wrote in the comment section:

Zanu PF's heavy reliance on political violence, coercion and patronage can all be traced to the old-man's long stay at the helm. His overstay is also responsible for the emergence of an unhealthy large number of opportunists in zanu pf ranks like the chiyangwas, chombos, obert mpofus etc who under normal circumstances would not have been allowed so much influence on national resources because all they know is greed and more greed

Bobby Fortune (obviously a internet alias) was not yet finished:

Old Bob has to bite the bullet and do what is good for the country and also for the party he claims to love so much.That does not include him staying in power for one day longer. He has to stop being a hostage of naked and obscene interests of a few greedy and unpatriotic bunch in zanu pf.”

qopheni qopheni said:

Huff that Bob should retire and his succsessor should ractify the Hague agreement and nick him to face his crimes.

Matemai Idhara responded:

If you want Bob to go, then beat him at his own game at the polls. I'm sure that too we will hear stories of rigging. Otherwise these GO stories are a bit “old fashioned”. I guess they fill the pages if there is nothing else to report.

This is the kind of commentary that the authorities have for long tried to stifle through the enactment of various laws, yet it this space [blogging] that has become the most important “market place of ideas” despite a recent damning report by Freedom House that placed Zimbabwe among countries that continue to interfere with internet communications.

Bloggers continued their focus on the President over Easter, especially after Mugabe attacked Catholic bishops and this became the focus as bloggers asked if the President was “playing politics with his maker.”

Thus asked Clifford Chitupa Mashiri:

Mugabe’s recent attack on Catholic Bishops is very disturbing at a time when Christians all over the world were marking the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. What is even more worrying are reports of police intimidation of Anglicans in Zimbabwe…Surely, for Mugabe to disown the Catholic Church in which he was born 87 years ago and accuse the Bishops of being liars and puppets of the West is just unbelievable. Considering the fact that he was cared for by priests and bishops as a young boy then as a political prisoner and during the liberation struggle, Mugabe may soon have to apologise to his maker like he is doing to SADC leaders after losing it.

This is stuff that makes bloggers a unique species in Zimbabwe where newspapers would not dare publish such kind of free expression. There were tweets from elsewhere that indeed globalize sentiments from Zimbabweans themselves.

A good example is Sideny Stubbs who tweeted the following:

What does Donald Trump and Robert Mugabe have in common, they both throw “shit” at the fan, and hope that it would stick.

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