Almost three decades ago, Robert G. Mugabe – now 84 years old – assumed political office in Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia. Zimbabwe is located in the southern part of Africa surrounded on the south and southwest by South Africa and Botswana; on the northwest by Zambia; and, the northeast and east by Mozambique.

Photo credit: CIA Factbook


During the 1960s and 1970s, Mugabe was a political prisoner in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He left Rhodesia in 1976 to join the Liberation Struggle – Rhodesian Bush War – in Mozambique. At the end of the war, Mugabe was hailed by Africans as a hero, and he won in the general elections of 1980: the first elections in which the majority black Africans participated.

Mugabe became the first Prime Minister of black-ruled Zimbabwe in 1980 after calling for reconciliation between formerly warring parties, including whites as well as rival parties. But today he is seen as a power hungry ruler in control of a country where inflation is running rampant. A 2-ply sheet of toilet paper costs $417 – the entire roll costs $145,750 or $.69 in American coinage.

In March of this year a presidential election as well as a parliamentary election were held with no clear results. One of the two challengers, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) garnered a greater percentage than Mugabe but not enough to seal his role as president of Zimbabwe. With the lack of a clear winner, a second election – a run-off – was necessary to establish the election of the president.

But Mugabe and his forces have other ideas as to how to corner the vote and remain entrenched in power. By intimidating and killing supporters of Tsvangirai, Mugabe has forced Tsvangirai to withdraw rather than see continuing slaughter of his supporters. While reaction from non-African nations has been swift and negative, few African leaders have voiced an opinion on Mugabe’s thug tactics.

As the old saying goes, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” After years of leading Zimbabwe and overseeing change and growth, Mugabe has now succumbed to the lure of power over the welfare of his people and his country.


About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
This entry was posted in Democracy, Human Rights, International Elections, Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Glad to see you cover Zimbabwe. Yesterday I made a post on Zimbabwe (which you may want to check out), but I had the feeling that no one is even paying any attention- everyone seems to be absorbed in US politics.

    There is one mis-truth in your article- quite a number of African leaders have spoken out about Mugabe’s abuses in this case. Just yesterday, Nelson Mandela commented on it, I saw Desmond Tutu saying that “Mugabe has become a kind of Frankenstein figure” on BBC, etc. As far as I have seen, only Ghadafi supports him, and Thabo Mbeki has been waffling (although he is a mediator in the conflict, so its perhaps understandable).

    Since you say you are a liberal, you may also want to check out some of the discussions on various blogs about neoliberalism, imperialism, etc. in the West’s treatment of Zimbabwe. Personally, I don’t agree with their logic, but it makes for a more well rounded view of the situation.

  2. Pingback: Blog Posts on Zimbabwe: Action, Mugabe Madness, Boycott and Racism « International Issue Forum

  3. Hi Patrick:

    My statement on the lack of African leaders speaking out was based on many of the services covering the situation, and they only mentioned the typical non-African world. Like you noted, it seems like the African world doesn’t draw a lot of attention in the U.S. I believe the sites I looked at mentioned a couple of leaders, and I was looking at it from the perspective of all the nations in Africa, which are quite a few.

    I did see the reference by Tutu.

    Thanks for stopping by. I will check out the items you suggested.

  4. ice-ironman says:

    Where were the N. Mendelas speaking out when Mugabe was forcing white farmers out. Oh that doesnt matter. He has ruled as a prick for years but now blacks are suffering so we had better listen up because the story sells better. Read the article. All Mugabe wants to do is redistribute wealth- sounds like Obaman and dems to me.

  5. Ice-ironman:

    Nelson Mandela was probably in prison. He was imprisoned by the ruling white government for opposing apartheid and spent 27 years in prison just because he believed – shocker – that the Africans should have the same rights as the controlling whites.

    Apartheid was legalized separation. Probably similar to the legalized segregation in our country prior to the Brown v. Board decision.

    And I don’t think Nelson Mandela is speaking out now because of blacks suffering in the way they previously suffered from apartheid. He is speaking out against the way the election is being run and the dictatorial nature of Mugabe’s government.

    Mandela is actually being consistent. He spoke out against the white governments and their misuse of power and he is speaking out against Mugabe and his misuse of power.

    As I said, “absolute power corrupts absolutely’, and it doesn’t matter what color you are.

  6. ice-ironman says:

    Mendela was out of jail when the farmers where given the boot.

  7. Ice-ironman:

    Perhaps he was trying to get his life back together after 27 years of wrongfully being imprisoned by the white minority. After all look what opposing apartheid got him got under their rule. And yes, he was convicted of committing crimes against the white government because he worked to take back the country and put it back in the hands of the original inhabitants.

    Isn’t that exactly what we did in our revolution? We fought and killed and destroyed to be free from England. How is that any different than the struggle by those in Africa to be free from colonial powers? The only difference is that this country was inhabited by Native Americans who attempted to get us to leave and were not successful. In Africa the original inhabitants were successful in a number of countries.

    A number of Asian countries also fought to get rid of the effects of colonialism – Vietnam springs to mind.

    At the end of our Revolutionary War, about 5% of the population was forced to leave – exiled – because they supported Britain. I wonder what happened to their land and holdings? I bet they were confiscated and redistributed – maybe for money, maybe for rewards – to others who fought in support of the new nation.

  8. ice-ironman says:

    I guess on that theory we should give back the sw to The Mexicans who were there? And dont through native Ameicans into it. They were just peace loving docile people right? And i have heard many say they were so huncky dory that they didnt even have a word for Mine. Everything was shared right. If they didnt have a word for mine or possesion, how could we have taken anything away?

    My point with Mugabe is that if he was willing to kill whites and take ownership away—why the hell would he let someone take power away from him. The difference in us and England is that we had the rightousness to declare war. Govt taking property is not declaring war. It is simple Socialism, and it doesnt work. So since white folks were settled into Dearborn MI and Detoit for the last 250 years, should we kick the muslim population to the curb. I mean the whites were there 1st right?

  9. Let me start with your statements in order:

    1. We should give back the sw to the Mexicans. We have not been discussing voluntary turning over of areas to those who first inhabited the areas, we have been talking about involuntary taking through warfare and the counter-force of using war to take back previously indigenously-occupied areas.

    2. Don’t throw in Native Americans into it. Their propensity to fight among themselves is not relevant to the situation in Zimbabwe. Many nations have ethnic issues which leads to fighting among themselves. That doesn’t have any bearing on the fact that we came in and claimed the land. And as to the word “mine”, many words are culturally relative. We have a word “mine”; Native Americans didn’t. This is simply an ethnocentric way of justifying what happened.

    3. My point with Mugabe is that if he was willing to kill whites to take ownership away … He is trying his best to keep from losing power. His previous actions in taking away property and consolidating power should have been a warning sign to the people of Zimbabwe.

    4. The difference between us and England is that we had the righteousness to declare war. And those people who have been murdered by those in power so they can keep power – i.e. South Africa, Zimbabwe, etc. – don’t have the right to fight and free themselves from those governments? We – the Colonists – came up with a list of items that we needed to justify the Revolution. If you read the Declaration, all the items we enumerated apply to the African nations who have sought to free themselves from their minority governments – just as we did.

    5. Should we kick the Muslim population to the curb? Again, no one is fighting to implant themselves in government in Detroit. The Muslims didn’t come to Detroit and start killing people in order to take power. They are living in the community, not usurping authority and overtaking the government.

  10. OK, I think some things are getting confused here. The original question was about Mandela protesting when Mugabe took over white owned lands.

    First, I don’t thing Mugabe or his subordinates killed any whites during the takeover of land. The killing of whites you are referring to I assume is from the war to rid Rhodesia/ Zimbabwe from white rule. So its not relevant to the original question.

    As for the takeover of the land, personally I think it was politically motivated. But let’s assume it was not. Although I believe in the right to property (I would like to own property myself), I don’t think it is always inviolable. In the moral calculus, one has to consider the circumstances under which the property was acquired. For example, if whites acquired property in South Africa under colonial rule or white apartheid, when blacks were denied equal opportunity to earn a living to buy property for themselves, then I don’t really think that would be fair. So in that case I could see some support for redistribution of land.

    On the other hand, I saw a video on YouTube the other night which claimed that 95% of the white owned land in Zimbabwe was legitimately acquired (i.e. purchased) after Zimbabwe’s independence (but I have to check whether that is true.)

    As to why Mandela didn’t say anything about it. 1- I don’t know if that is true. 2- I think Africans, having been colonized, understand that other nations are particularly sensitive about violations of their sovereignty. Plus, since Mugabe is a former independence leader, he still has/had some good “karma” in the eyes of blacks, which has shielded him from criticism in the past.

    But personally I think its a positive sign that African leaders are speaking out against what they see happening in Zimbabwe now.

  11. ice-ironman says:

    So Hitler should have good “karma” because he helped invent the peoples car. And with that where can white people not be kicked out of based on you anaylis of land aquirement? My point is when socialist cheer loudly on govt power they had better be careful because as Charlotte mentioned absolute power corrupts absolutely. Absolute power over Social security, medicade, healthcare–you name it.

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