Some more on land — now Zimbabwe

From time to time, we hear reports about Mugabe and his misrule of Zimbabwe. Now know that I was at Pearson College with the first student from Zimbabwe, Zobo Chimurenga, and I watched him conduct his own flagraising ceremony — alone — on Zimbabwean Independence Day in February 1980. Mugabe was for us then a hero, a man who had led his people to victory in a war of liberation.Mugabe's no longer a hero.What has dominated the news, though, is what a tyrant he is. Like many great leaders, it's said, corruption and paranoia have overtaken him and have turned him into a dictator who is destroying the very country he created. Like Castro.I've often wondered what the other side of the story is. I had some idea; one of my favourite ethnographies during my MPhil studies at Cambridge was Guns and Rain. But Rosemary Ekosso gives yet another perspective — the point of view of a fellow African.Well worth the read. And follow her links, too.Here's a bit of what she has to say:Zimbabwe: White Lies, Black Victims

Despite their pious claims, Britain and the others are not angry because Mugabe is a corrupt dictator. They sponsor corrupt dictators when it suits them. They are not angry because ordinary Zimbabweans are suffering under Mugabe. They don’t care about ordinary Zimbabweans. They were quite happy to herd them into reserves when it suited them.No, what they care about is the expropriation of white farmers. They express indignation at Mugabe’s cronies acquiring the land. That is a bad thing, of course. I myself come from an area where government or government-affiliated bigwigs are buying up all the prime sea-front locations because they can afford them. But in the case of Zimbabwe only 0.3% of people settled on land have acquired it through undue influence or corruption. So 99.7% of Zimbabweans got their land fair and square.So we agree that Mugabe is doing a BAD THING. The bad thing is not, however, the fact that he has taken land that should go to poor landless Zimbabweans and given it to his friends. The bad thing is that he has taken the land from white people.