Robert Mugabe: 'Sjambok Mzungu' (Whip of the White Man)
By Garikai Chengu*
For Sons of Malcolm
10 May 2012
A young Robert Mugabe once remarked that if you “educate the masses, politicize the
masses and instill ideology in the masses then Empire will crumble under the weight of the
For daring to politicise people Robert Mugabe endured a decade in Ian Smith's jails.
During this time Mugabe continued educating the masses and himself, obtaining several
degrees. The world's most educated Head of State knew that all three revolutions revolve
around education: the first that frees the native's mind. The second that captures the State
House and the third that transfers economic power from the white minority to the black
Comrade Mugabe often notes that his greatest weapon in the trenches against white
minority rule was the politicised mind of the masses. The comrades on the front line, the
villagers that harboured the comrades, the musicians and ideologues that graced all night
politicisation vigils or “Pungwes”organised by villagers, the native financiers that bankrolled
the vigils and supplies for comrades on the front line – all played a part in liberating
Zimbabwean minds and inevitably territory.
Robert Mugabe carried the radicalism and militancy needed to overthrow white minority
rule into office and he has consistently applied that same militancy to democratising the
economy. This unwavering quest for political as well as economic democratisation is the
essence of Mugabeism.
Cde Mugabe's socialist “Education-For-All” policy adopted at independence - much to the
chagrin of the IMF - is the reason why Zimbabwe has the highest literacy rate in Africa.
A hungry man will gnaw away at his ideals. Whitehall knows this. As such, the British
sought to bring down Cde Mugabe's socialist project by way of illegal economic sanctions.
The prevailing level of education amongst Zimbabweans meant that the people knew who
their true enemy was. Infact, far from gnawing away at pro-people ideals at the ballot box,
Zimbabweans are set to resoundingly re-elect Cde Mugabe in a matter of months.
At independence, a staggering 42% of Zimbabwe's land area was owned by just 4000
white farmers. Today that land has been divvied up amongst 413,000 black households.
Benefiting 1,000,000 people – who have been part of the largest demographic movement
in southern Africa in the past decade. A bloodless revolution if ever there was one.
70 per cent of the redistributed land has benefited 270,000 poor rural families and their
urban counterparts, who on average have acquired 20 hectares of land.
If President Mugabe has simply dished out this land to “cousins and cronies” as British
media would have us believe, then 1 million beneficiaries or 1 million “cousins of Mugabe”
will make election night a long one for the British establishment.
Despite recurrent droughts and dry spells and sanctions induced lack of capital, Land
Democratisation has been a resounding success. Thanks to new black farmers, today
Zimbabwe boasts the fastest growing agricultural sector (19.8%) in the world.
The final chapter in the ongoing struggle for economic independence is Cde Mugabe's
Indigenastion and Economic Empowerment Legislation. Today Zimbabwe also boasts
the fastest growing mining sector (44%) in the world and Indigenisation is set to create
a Sovereign Mineral Wealth fund. The economic democratisation programme will aslo
transfer 51% ownership of all corporations to the black majority; establish Community
Share Ownership Trusts and Employee Share Ownership Schemes.
The National Economic Empowerment board estimates that over the next five years
Indigenisation will transfer $3billion dollars from predominantly foreign owners to local
employees and communities. Indigenisation is also set to create 1 million jobs. In short,
Indigenisation shall re-orient Zimbabwe's economy to put poor before profiteer.
Robert Mugabe is affectionately known by the common man up and down the African
continent as “sjambok mzungu” or “whip of the white man.” The west loathes President
Mugabe because his policies have the power to transform Zimbabwe into a truly
independent, egalitarian and prosperous socialist nation. Whitehall and Washington also
detest Mugabeism because its resource nationalism will invariably encourage neighbours
to follow suite.
In short, Mugabeism is an ideology that believes in transferring not only political power
from the minority elite to the masses but also an unwavering commitment to the transfer of
the means of production – land, minerals and corporations – from the privileged few to the
Robert Mugabe's western detractors waste no opportunity to remind the world of his
mortality. So much so that the western media's rather macabre practice of “Mugabe
watching” has been elevated to somewhere between a fetish and a creed.
Robert Mugabe's supporters, however, also waste no opportunity to remind detractors of
the irrelevance of President Mugabe's mortality: a leader that rules by way of politicising
the masses, economically empowering the masses and instilling ideology in the masses
shall continue to rule from the grave.
*Garikai Chengu is a graduate student at Harvard University and author of - The Black Man's Burden: A manifesto for an African Century, 2013. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org