Robert Mugabe’s death: too late to undo the damage he caused

I can’t help feeling at least some pleasure at the news that Robert Mugabe, former dictator of Zimbabwe, has shuffled off this mortal coil.  He was personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his people, and transformed Zimbabwe from a flourishing economy, the breadbasket of Africa, to a famine-stricken wreck of a country.  As former Rhodesians were wont to say cynically, “People used to come to Rhodesia to see the Zimbabwe Ruins.  Now they come to Zimbabwe to see the ruins of Rhodesia.”  That was, overwhelmingly, Mugabe’s doing.

My friend Lawdog has written a less restrained farewell to Robert Mugabe.  He doesn’t mince his words.  Go read it for yourself.

The biggest tragedy is that, in African terms, Mugabe was a pretty common-or-garden tyrant.  He was merely one of a number of them, all just as bad as each other, and some worse.  Mobutu of the Congo, Amin of Uganda, “Emperor” Bokassa of the Central African Republic, Charles Taylor of Liberia, and many others join him in the pantheon of pariahs.

The fact that so many of them exist in Africa is one reason why that continent is in such dire straits.  Its people are desperate to flee anywhere that can offer them a better life, whether or not they are welcome there.  They’re trying in their thousands to reach the USA, and are causing a real problem for Mexico right now in the process.  It’s only going to get worse.

By tolerating the existence of such brutal dictators, the West has basically made the problem of Africa much worse . . . both for Africans, and for the West as a whole.



  1. Ah, tolerance. I would suggest that the problem is African culture, not the tolerance of the West. You have noted that this is a common issue in Africa, but don't go that extra step and look at why. You have noted it on many other occasions, why not now?

    African culture is tribal. The dictators of Africa steal everything they can from the other tribes they have control over, keep a bunch, and funnel the rest to their tribe. African 'nations' aren't really nations from the Western point of view, they're miniature empires that happen to be inside the colony lines drawn by the West.

    Yes, Africans are desperate to get to a better place. They will also damage or destroy that better place, because their culture and behavior create the life they are running from. Africa Wins Again, right?

  2. Africa ALWAYS wins… And agree with Tweell, Africa and Middle East EVERYTHING is always tribal, and the first rule is kill the educated… sigh

  3. It took Europe a very long time to get past tribalism. Even nationalism was just a more inclusive tribalism gathering together a group of more or less related groups. It will take Africa a very long time to get past tribalism, but so far they haven't been able to get to the starting point for that.

  4. My aunt spent more than a decade as a medical missionary in Mashonaland before the International Mission Board moved her to Mozambique to work in Niassa Province. As I recall, the Yao of Mozambique and the Shona of Zimbabwe speak related languages, so her fluency in Shona was probably helpful. Of course, she had to spend some time learning Portuguese first, so it wasn't a quick transition. I think by the time she got out onto the field in Mozambique, folks were already fleeing Zimbabwe into Mozambique, which was then trying to recover from 15 years of civil war. If it wasn't 'already', then it started happening pretty soon after.
    I once asked her why elections in Mozambique didn't seem to have the same chaos as elections elsewhere. I think at the time, the Kenyans were in another messy election cycle, and of course politics in Zimbabwe have had all the ugliness of a one -arty state for a very long time. She replied that the Communist regime had tried to foster a sense of national identity, above the tribal identity. That sounds a bit like what Tito tried to do in Yugoslavia. Of course, that worked like a charm, too, didn't it?

  5. Actually, as far as the dictators are concerned, most of them were equal opportunity offenders. They decimated and destroyed everybody, including their own tribes. They had "inner circles" of confidants and hangers-on whom they trusted to act as executioners and looters, but those circles were far smaller than tribal – even smaller than clans, usually. I think evil recognized its own, and gathered them together.

    I agree, tribalism is a very significant element in the African problem. However, it's not the only one. I've written about a number of them in these pages before. Ascribing all the woes of that continent and its people to a single cause is overly simplistic, IMHO.

  6. Why can't we just admit that in general Africans are stupid? Collectively they are not much above animal levels and can't get past their tribal BS. Yet, shit libs and libertardians and others think we should import these people in masses. Too bad the Africans can't express their desire for nationalism in less destructive ways given what the whites did for them. I'm sure after dealing with the Chinese the Whites will be angels in comparison.

    South Africa is going along the same path as well.

  7. Yes. What did these idiots THINK was going to happen, when they put people with average 65 IQ's in charge of nations? I'll tell you what will happen next – it's odds on that those idiots find someone equally bad or even worse to replace Mugabe.

    With respect, Pastor – screw you.

    I grew up listening to sanctimonious twits about how whites were responsible for all black misery in Africa, and how we had to all clear out, give them their nations back, and watch them bloom. Anyone that doubted this was a racist and a hater and had to be silenced.

    Now you are going to sit there and signal your virtue by trying to pawn this off on the west? Pull my other finger fella, it has bells on it. Shame on you.

  8. Peter, your final paragraph makes no sense at all to me. By stating that the problems in Africa have resulted because of the West's tolerance of these horrific dictators, it almost sounds as though you are absolving the peoples of those countries of any responsibility for taking control of their own lives and countries. No one else can solve their problems for them – and considering them as helpless children who require external help and control only perpetuates the conditions that have led to these problems. You obviously have a much more intimate understanding of the dynamics and cultures there, but the basics of human responsibility and accountability seem to be a constant in the human experience.

  9. @DaveS – The last paragraph makes sense when you remember that Western nations and international organizations poured millions, sometimes billions, of dollars of aid into these countries, even when they knew that the people in charge were corrupt criminals who were siphoning off almost all that "aid" into their own pockets. For example, at the time of his death, Mobutu of Zaire was worth an estimated five billion – with a B – US dollars. Most of what he stole has never been traced or recovered. His intimate circle has it still, safely out of reach of the people of the Congo, who will never see it again. The same applies to most other African dictators.

    By supporting such leaders financially and politically, for whatever reason, the West has at least some responsibility for their continuing to exist and prosper – no matter how unpalatable that may appear to us. So, of course, does the former Soviet Bloc and its adherents, and so does China today in its march to re-colonize Africa, economically speaking.

  10. One way to improve Africa – – if Africans accept it – – is to guarantee widespread distribution of dietary iodine supplements to all populations, which would have the effect of raising the mean IQ by one standard deviation. Since most of Sub-Saharan Africa operates at an IQ level that is viewed in the rest of the world as mental retardation, this can only be an improvement.

    The West can't do anything at this point in Africa that won't be viewed as racist in nature – – the most stability that the continent ever head was during the colonial period, and that wasn't acceptable. Best leave them to their own devices – – "Let Africa Sink" as the pessimistic South African exile Kim DuToit puts it.

    An interesting read is travel writer Paul Theroux's Dark Star Safari, his travel book on a north-to-south crossing of the African continent about 20 years ago. Theroux, one of our most perceptive and sympathetic of travel writers, was a Peace Corp volunteer in Africa in the 1960's, but even he, as much of a yellow-dog dyed-in-the-wool Democrat/Leftist as he is, finally lost patience with the shiftlessness he saw in what were former students of his, and the sloth and ignorance he found all over the continent. Well worth reading.

  11. So, Pastor… is there anyone on this planet that can take responsibility for themselves? Unless you are arguing for a total cessation of all foreign aid to these African chit holes? Because other than that your position is just fake virtue signalling…

  12. @Glen Filthie: Glen, the problem isn't me – it's you. You never stop lashing out at others with whom you disagree, refusing to actually examine and think about their positions, but merely slamming them because they don't see things your way. I've had occasion to correct you in the past, sometimes on your own blog, and you used to take correction well . . . but no longer. You persistently refuse to face facts, and appear determined to attack any individual who doesn't adopt your world view. Worse, your words don't disagree with their views – you attack them personally. Look up "Ad hominem argument" sometime to see how invalid that is.

    I wish you'd change, but I suppose that's not going to happen. That's a pity. If you did, you'd be a much better person for it. As it is, you've become a caricature of yourself – just another Internet troll.

  13. @Ray – Right now, I can't say there are, more's the pity. There are precisely two countries in Africa that are run at what I consider a reasonable (not outstanding) level of efficiency, honesty and integrity. Botswana is one. The other is Morocco, which is not as honest as I'd like to see (hey – Arab culture!), but is reasonably orderly and efficient.

  14. You can’t correct anyone unless you have a viable position Pete. Further, I’ve corrected YOU, and more than once. I admit that in the past I often let your intellectual dishonesty and sanctimony in defending yourself pass rather than fight about it, and perhaps I shouldnt have. There is no sin, Pastor, in challenging flawed arguments and demanding that proponents defend them with logic rather than virtue signalling and scolding. That crap does not constitute factual information and if you are going to insist that it does, people will get fed up with you. You are not being attacked, you are being challenged – so cut the crap.

    Far as I am concerned the question was legit. You’re supposedly a pastor and a man of the world; so maybe you can put on your big-boy pants and answer it: At what point do blacks assume responsibility for themselves and their actions? Why is that so hard for you?


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