By David Hwangwa,

Once upon a time, Zimbabwe was envied across the whole African divide. Barring South Africa, it had the strongest economy, quality education and a vibrant health system. This was made possible by the policies introduced by the then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe at the turn

of Zimbabwe’s independence from the British in 1980. Robert Mugabe did not only make Zimbabwe a model African country, but he also made himself popular with the white minority.


Prior to independence, Mugabe had studied socialism and Marxism ideologies during the liberation struggle. The white minority government was afraid that a black government

Could create another socialist state in the region, following the models of Mozambique and Angola.


Mugabe surprised many and sundry when he preached reconciliation. Emphasizing the need for racial integration towards national development goals, Mugabe brought some reprieve to many. He became popular with the minorities in the country as they developed confidence through elimination of potential fear of property losses or acts of retribution.

President Mugabe

32 years in power…President Mugabe


Zimbabwe was moving forward. Mugabe was seen as the shining star in an otherwise dark continent. Zimbabwe’s economy was second only to South Africa. It could feed the country and create surplus for regional needs. Despite the problems faced by any new state, the world was always ready to help Zimbabwe. Millions of funding were poured into the country to cure the post war gap as the road for development was paved for the country.


The world saw Mugabe as a prudent saint.


Like all good things, it all came to pass. Comparing the present day Zimbabwe, and a Zimbabwe of two decades ago, one can scream, “Cry my Beloved Zimbabwe Cry. Indeed cry.”


It’s now like a nightmare, Mugabe single-handedly took Zimbabwe from the echelons of

political and economic success to the peripheries of collapse and disaster, all at one go. Some proponents allege that the entry of the Movement of Democratic Change at the turn of the new millenium caused Mugabe to panic, dragging Zimbabwe down with him. The MDC was an

important entry into the political for a. They had to come in and be the check and balance to the might of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF but there was little they could do.


As if Mugabe had been pushed to the edge, images of Tsvangirai receiving envelops of money from white farmers further infuriated Mugabe leaving him with no option but to go on that

infamous land-invasion of white owned farms. The world could not understand whether this was the man who had, at independence in 1980 preached reconciliation and peaceful co-existence with the white neighbour. Was this the same man who had made Zimbabwe the pride and

envy of its neighbours on the continent? Noone could understand.


From the year 2000 it was all downhill for Mugabe. The agricultural sector died a painful death, the economy was sliding at an alarming rate, industries closed one by one in seriatim. Amid fear triggered by bad news of a racist agenda against white commercial farners, tourists lost interest in coming to Zimbabwe.  Zimbabwe became notorious for racism. Victoria Falls was almost a ghost town.


The Zimbabwe dollar was virtually not worth the paper it was printed on. Basic foodstuff disappeared on the shelves. Zimbabwe became a nation where people would spend more time waiting in queues for food, fuel and even their money at the banks. Police corruption, political violence and disputed elections became the order of the day. Mugabe was a desperate fellow, hanging on the throne by hook or crook.


When 2008 elections came, Mugabe lost dismally but hanged on the throne. Zimbabweans are too tolerant at times. Revolutions have been happening in the Arab world but all we can do is watch because we seem to be tolerant to the situation. All we can do is wait for Mugabe to heed

the call that his time is up. That he should pass the baton to someone. We have had enough. He  he was once a great man who ushered Zimbabwe forward but his time is up.


Soccer lovers across the world will also argue that Mugabe is just like Arsene Wenger, the celebrated manager of English football club, Arsenal FC. When Arsene Wenger came to Arsenal, he revolutionalised the game in England bringing a different style of soccer that made Arsenal a marvel to watch as they won everything in England. Those days Arsenal even went the whole season without suffering defeat. Arsenal was the team to beat and Wenger was the man at the helm. He looked invincible, everything was working so well, but that was eight years ago.


Look at Arsenal now, look at Zimbabwe right now, pale shadows of their former selves. Arsene Wenger and Robert Mugabe have one thing in common, once upon a time they were great but their time is up, it is high time they pass the reigns to someone for a new start. There was a

time when things were going so well in Zimbabwe that chants of ‘Mugabe must go’ would be termed outrageous. Now that chant is screamed everywhere and openly.


On the other side Arsenal fans carry banners written ‘In Wenger we trust’ yet secretly those

very same people cry in their hearts everyday with the words ‘Wenger must go.’ Mugabe and Wenger are birds of the same feathers and they know everyone wants them to pass the baton but over the years they have increasingly become so stubborn and irrational. Obviously, they are

living in their own world where power cannot be relinquished until they die. Mugabe and Wenger, your time is up and both Zimbabwe and Arsenal appreciates your input over the years but enough is enough now. Please go!