Bye Bye Mugabe

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

"Bye Bye Mugabe" is Out!

My historical fiction of the agonies in Zimbabwe under the draconian rule of President Robert Mugabe, "Bye Bye Mugabe" is live on Amazon.

Domboramwari, a young Zimbabwean blogger and proofreader for the Zimbabwean Times was sympathetic to President Robert Mugabe. But Domboramwari had to go on exile to escape from political persecution when he refused to join the notorious Green Bombers after collecting the financial payment to do so. He fled with his South African girlfriend Nkosi to Johannesburg after telling his old uncle. And he had to help in digging a grave to bury the dead grandson of his mother's neighbor. This is the story of the millions of the traumatized Zimbabweans suffering under the draconian rule of one of the worst dictators in Africa.

"When you give someone a book, you don't give him just paper, ink, and glue. You give him the possibility of a whole new life."
– Christopher Morley, 1890-1957, Novelist, Journalist and Poet

Monday, 15 October 2007

I Saw Mugabe in Another Dream

I saw President Robert Mugabe visitng Nigeria and he came with his family.

This time, he was looking older than the last dream and he was saying something to me that I forgot when I woke up.

I wonder why Mugabe is showing up in my dreams.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Piling on Mugabe: A Better Metaphor

Piling on Mugabe: A Better Metaphor

~ By Rudolph Lewis
The Publisher/Editor of Chickenbones

Ablorh, you're probably right. I don't know. You're probably much more informed about the African situation than I, and more specifically the Zimbabwe dilemma. I'm being rather intuitive about the whole situation. My tendency is to grant Mugabe the utmost respect and dignity for his past sacrifices, regardless of his errors. I have heard arguments on both sides from both black and white. Those arguments opposed to Mugabe have been mostly absurd and mostly racist (coming from the USA and the UK). One Zimbabwean detractor said that they were better off under Ian Smith! That's how far his detractors have gone.

I am not opposed to criticism of Mugabe. Read the short story by Zimbabwe: In The House of Stone by Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, which deals with the out-migration to South Africa. I cannot/will not deny any of the problems of Zimbabwe, though many of them are common to other African nations. But Mugabe detractors try to make them peculiar to Zimbabwe. I have heard them on BBC, radio, TV, online.

For me the worst mismanagement of an African nation occurs in Sudan. I have yet to hear the kind of vilification of Bashir from Washington and London that I hear about Mugabe on media outlets from those countries, especially the BBC. For me there is something wrong with that picture, sadly wrong. And as long as Bashir remains sitting pretty in eyes from those capitols, there will be no shaming of Mugabe coming from me.

I have no problem with your baseball metaphor. You use it however inappropriately. Mugabe is not a pitcher to be yanked out of a game; he is the manager, more, the CEO of the team, responsible to his corporate investors, in this case the Zimbabwe people. Your metaphor, for me, indicates to me how the man as head of state has been diminished in the popular press.

My metaphor comes from football. The player stumbles and falls and his opponents though he is down piles on. Maybe I am being perverse here and argumentative to no end. But I am being sincere, and possibly excessively sentimental. I'm willing to allow the Zimbabweans to work out their problems. It is within reach. But certainly I will not be adding to Western anti-Mugabe propaganda, even if means I lose every friend and associate I have.

Mugabe is fighting back, admirably. Read his UN Speech (President Robert G. Mugabe's UN Speech), possibly he is headed toward martyrdom. If it must be, let it be. But I know such hatred. It reminds me very much of that which was leveled on MLK while he lived. His detractors from all quarters were just as unfair and envious as those we have today with Mugabe. They wanted him to step down. They offered him a college presidency, all kinds of goodies. And when he continued to resist, they assassinated him.

That looks to me what some Western nations desire, are prompting, and some of their black stooges will love it too and when he is dead they will cry their crocodile tears and build a monument in his name. Such too was the case with Nkrumah.

Jane Musoke-Nteyafas on Professor Rudolp Lewis:
First published: April 18, 2006

For those with an interest and involvement in the writing and publishing industry, especially when it comes to black culture, his name would be familiar. Rudolph Lewis is one of the hardest working, dedicated and respected men in the online publishing world. Yet very little is known about his personal life. He is the editor and founder of Chickenbones: A Journal for Literary and Artistic African-American Themes ( This is an educational web site which explores black culture with the aims of uplifting and educating black people as well as non black people about black culture.

Initiated in the fall of 2001, Chickenbones: A Journal has accumulated a faithful following of readers as well as a wide range of literary contributors from all over the world. In 2005, Chickenbones attracted about 5,000 visitors on a daily basis and is already exceeding 1 million visitors for the year 2006. This is a meteoric rise from 2003 when traffic included about 500,000 visitors. Chickenbones has produced and featured the works of several celebrated and new writers including Kalamu Ya Salaam, Amiri Baraka, Zora Neale Hurston, Askia Touré, Niyi Osundare, Latorial Faison, Lasana Sekou, Ras Baraka, DB Cox, Stacey Tolbert, Nicholas Berdyaev, Kiini Ibura Salaam, Kola Boof,Danyel Smith, Yambo Ouologuem, Claire Carew and Drisana Deborah Jack to mention a few. Chickenbones is in short, a national treasure.

Behind all that work is Rudolph Lewis. Lewis is a prolific writer of the Black Arts Movement generation. He is the author of numerous essays, poems, interviews and articles for various journals. He has also done editorial jobs with positions such as the editor of I Am New Orleans & Other Poems by Marcus Bruce Christian. New Orleans: Xavier Review Press, 1999, Editorial Assistant Labor's Heritage, Spring 1997. Contributing Editor The New Laurel Review, Spring/Fall 1984; Spring/Fall 1987 Editor (& Founder) CRICKET: Poems and Other Jazz. New Orleans, 1985.

Literature has always been a part of his life. Lewis was also an English and Literature instructor at the following institutions: Coppin State College, University of New Orleans, Northeast Louisiana University, and the University of District of Columbia. He has in addition reviewed several books and performed interviews with notable writers such as Yusef Komunyakaa. Yet despite all this, he has never been interviewed in any literary magazine. So it was a great pleasure to be able to pay homage to this illustrious writer/poet/editor/publisher and instructor by interviewing him and getting his readers and supporters to know more about the amazing presence behind Chickenbones. He shared several things with me; among them, his love for New Orleans, the origins of Chickenbones, his relationship with several historic icons and his beautiful poetry on women.

President Robert G. Mugabe's UN Speech on September 26, 2007

I lost eleven precious years of my life in the jail of a white man whose freedom and well-being

I have assured from the first day of Zimbabwe's Independence.

I lost a further fifteen years fighting white injustice in my country

Statement by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe

Comrade R. G. Mugabe,

on the occasion of the 62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly,

New York, 26 September, 2007

Your Excellency, President of the 62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Srgjan Kerim

Your Majesties

Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government

Your Excellency the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon

Distinguished Delegates

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Mr. President,

Allow me to congratulate you on your election to preside over this august assembly. We are confident that through your stewardship, issues on this 62nd Session agenda be dealt with in a balanced manner and to the satisfaction of all.

Let me also pay tribute to your predecessor, Madame Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, who steered the work of the 61st Session in a very competent and impartial manner.

Her ability to identify the crucial issues facing the world today will be remembered as the hallmark of her presidency.

Mr. President,

We extend our hearty welcome to the new Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, who has taken up this challenging job requiting dynamism in confronting the global challenges of the 21st Century. Balancing global interests and steering the United Nations in a direction that gives hope to the multitudes of the poor, the sick, the hungry and the marginalized, is indeed a mammoth task. We would like to assure him that Zimbabwe will continue to support an open, transparent and all-inclusive multilateral approach in dealing with these global challenges.

Mr. President,

Climate change is one of the most pressing global issues of our time. Its negative impact is greatest in developing countries, particularly those on the African continent. We believe that if the international community is going to seriously address the challenges of climate change, then we need to get our priorities right. In Zimbabwe, the effects of climate change have become more evident in the past decade as we have witnessed increased and recurrent droughts as well as occasional floods, leading to enormous humanitarian challenges.

Mr. President,

We are for a United Nations that recognises the equality of sovereign nations and peoples whether big or small. We are averse to a body in which the economically and militarily powerful behave like bullies, trampling on the rights of weak and smaller states as sadly happened in Iraq. In the light of these inauspicious developments, this Organisation must surely examine the essence of its authority and the extent of its power when challenged in this manner.

Such challenges to the authority of the UN and its Charter underpin our repeated call for the revitalisation of the United Nations General Assembly, itself the most representative organ of the UN. The General Assembly should be more active in all areas including those of peace and security. The encroachment of some U.N. organs upon the work of the General Assembly is of great concern to us. Thus any process of revitalizing or strengthening of the General Assembly should necessarily avoid eroding the principle of the accountability of all principal and subsidiary organs to the General Assembly.

Mr. President,

Once again we reiterate our position that the Security Council as presently constituted is not democratic. In its present configuration, the Council has shown that it is not in a position to protect the weaker states who find themselves at loggerheads with a marauding super-power. Most importantly, justice demands that any Security Council reform redresses the fact that Africa is the only continent without a permanent seat and veto power in the Security Council. Africa's demands are known and enunciated in the Ezulwini consensus.

Mr. President,

We further call for the U.N. system to refrain from interfering in matters that are clearly the domain of member states and are not a threat to international peace and security. Development at country level should continue to be country-led, and not subject to the whims of powerful donor states.

Mr President,

Zimbabwe won its independence on 18th April, 1980, after a protracted war against British colonial imperialism which denied us human rights and democracy. That colonial system which suppressed and oppressed us enjoyed the support of many countries of the West who were signatories to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Even after 1945, it would appear that the Berlin Conference of 1884, through which Africa was parcelled to colonial European powers, remained stronger than the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is therefore clear that for the West, vested economic interests, racial and ethnocentric considerations proved stronger than their adherence to principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The West still negates our sovereignties by way of control of our resources, in the process making us mere chattels in out own lands, mere minders of its trans-national interests. In my own country and other sister states in Southern Africa, the most visible form of this control has been over land despoiled from us at the onset of British colonialism.

That control largely persists, although it stands firmly challenged in Zimbabwe, thereby triggering the current stand-off between us and Britain, supported by her cousin states, most notably the United States and Australia. Mr Bush, Mr. Blair and now Mr Brown's sense of human rights precludes our people's right to their God-given resources, which in their view must be controlled by their kith and kin. I am termed dictator because I have rejected this supremacist view and frustrated the neo-colonialists.

Mr President,

Clearly the history of the struggle for out own national and people's rights is unknown to the president of the United States of America. He thinks the Declaration of Human Rights starts with his last term in office! He thinks she can introduce to us, who bore the brunt of fighting for the freedoms of our peoples, the virtues of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What rank hypocrisy!

Mr President,

I lost eleven precious years of my life in the jail of a white man whose freedom and well- being I have assured from the first day of Zimbabwe's Independence. I lost a further fifteen years fighting white injustice in my country.

Ian Smith is responsible for the death of well over 50 000 of my people. I bear scars of his tyranny which Britain and America condoned. I meet his victims everyday. Yet he walks free. He farms free. He talks freely, associates freely under a black Government.

We taught him democracy. We gave him back his humanity.

He would have faced a different fate here and in Europe if the 50 000 he killed were Europeans. Africa has not called for a Nuremberg trial against the white world which committed heinous crimes against its own humanity. It has not hunted perpetrators of this genocide, many of whom live to this day, nor has it got reparations from those who offended against it. Instead it is Africa which is in the dock, facing trial from the same world that persecuted it for centuries.

Let Mr. Bush read history correctly. Let him realise that both personally and in his representative capacity as the current President of the United States, he stands for this "civilisation" which occupied, which colonised, which incarcerated, which killed. He has much to atone for and very little to lecture us on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. His hands drip with innocent blood of many nationalities.

He still kills.

He kills in Iraq. He kills in Afghanistan. And this is supposed to be out master on human rights?

He imprisons.

He imprisons and tortures at Guantanamo. He imprisoned and tortured at Abu Ghraib. He has secret torture chambers in Europe. Yes, he imprisons even here in the United States, with his jails carrying more blacks than his universities can ever enroll. He even suspends the provisions of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Take Guantanamo for example; at that concentration camp international law does not apply. The national laws of the people there do not apply. Laws of the United States of America do not apply. Only Bush's law applies. Can the international community accept being lectured by this man on the provisions of the universal declaration of human rights? Definitely not!

Mr President, We are alarmed that under his leadership, basic rights of his own people and those of the rest of the world have summarily been rolled back. America is primarily responsible for rewriting core tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We seem all guilty for 9/11. Mr. Bush thinks he stands above all structures of governance, whether national or international.

At home, he apparently does not need the Congress. Abroad, he does not need the UN, international law and opinion. This forum did not sanction Blair and Bush's misadventures in Iraq. The two rode roughshod over the UN and international opinion. Almighty Bush is now coming back to the UN for a rescue package because his nose is bloodied! Yet he dares lecture us on tyranny. Indeed, he wants us to praise him! We say No to him and encourage him to get out of Iraq. Indeed he should mend his ways before he clambers up the pulpit to deliver pieties of democracy.

Mr President,

The British and the Americans have gone on a relentless campaign of destabilising and vilifying my country. They have sponsored surrogate forces to challenge lawful authority in my country. They seek regime change, placing themselves in the role of the Zimbabwean people in whose collective will democracy places the right to define and change regimes.

Let these sinister governments be told here and now that Zimbabwe will not allow a regime change authored by outsiders. We do not interfere with their own systems in America and Britain. Mr Bush and Mr Brown have no role to play in our national affairs. They are outsiders and mischievous outsiders and should therefore keep out! The colonial sun set a long time ago; in 1980 in the case of Zimbabwe, and hence Zimbabwe will never be a colony again. Never!

We do not deserve sanctions. We are Zimbabweans and we know how to deal with our problems. We have done so in the past, well before Bush and Brown were known politically. We have our own regional and continental organizations and communities.

In that vein, I wish to express my country's gratitude to President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa who, on behalf of SADC, successfully facilitated the dialogue between the Ruling Party and the Opposition Parties, which yielded the agreement that has now resulted in the constitutional provisions being finally adopted. Consequently, we will be holding multiple democratic elections in March 2008. Indeed we have always had timely general and presidential elections since our independence.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, let me stress once more that the strength of the United Nations lies in its universality and impartiality as it implements its mandate to promote peace and security, economic and social development, human rights and international law as outlined in the Charter. Zimbabwe stands ready to play its part in all efforts and programmes aimed at achieving these noble goals.

I thank you.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Bye Bye Mugabe

Bye Bye Mugabe

Dear Uncle Bob,
You do not know me.
You do not need to know me.
I am one of the millions of your fellow Zimbabweans you do not know, and so you do not care about us. But I have to let you know that you are forcing me to leave our beloved motherland.
I never thought it would come to this.
As Tuku sang, Moto Moto, fire is fire, and we don’t have to wait until we are engulfed in the flames before we shout there is fire on the mountain!
Did you know that a little kid and an old man were crushed to death in the stampede for bread today?
While your wife, graceless Grace is busy shopping at Harrods in London, we see nothing but empty shelves in our supermarkets in Zimbabwe, except in your Spar in the Borrowdale Brooke where you and your cronies and goons like Ray Kaukonde, the governor of Mashonaland East province feast on all the goodies you have stolen from us.
Magumo acho chii? How will it all end?
That I who sang and danced on stage with Bob Marley as he sang “Zimbabwe” on our glorious and victorious Independence Day, am now going on exile. Why?
You have turned our beautiful dream into a sorrowful nightmare.
Are you the same Uncle Bob I loved so much that I said I would name my first boy after you? I have since changed my mind, because you whom we thought were a blessing have become a curse.
I was shedding tears in my heart as I dug a grave for Mbira, a seven-year-old boy who had dreams of a brighter future. Dreams of becoming someone his family would be proud of. But your evils eclipsed his sun even before noon. You silenced the sound of Mbira. Thousands of mothers are burying the children they hoped would grow up to comfort them in old age. Thousands of shallow graves dot the landscape of Zimbabwe, from Mashonaland to Matabeland. I know you know how the heart bleeds when the bereaved wallow in sorrow, because you lost your own baby boy decades ago and lost our beloved Aunty Sally not quite long ago. I know that the bosom of your graceless Grace has provided little comfort for your troubled soul, for she does not have the milk of human kindness and without kindness, there can be only sadness and no happiness. We can no longer bear the sadness in Zimbabwe, because this is not what you promised us on Independence Day.
Uncle Bob, you have broken your promise and yet you do not feel any remorse.
But as Tuku also asked Magumo acho chii?
How will it all end?
I cannot leave without saying goodbye to you, because I may not see you when I return.
So, Bye-bye Uncle Bob.