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  PRESIDENT MUGABE: A SYMBOL OF CONTINENTAL RESISTANCE AGAINST IMPERIALISM AND NEO-COLONIALISM   1 Mavhungu Elias Musitha (Dr: Ph.D in Public Affairs), Vhutali Leadership and Management Institute   9 Waterbessie Street, Makhado, 0920 Republic of South Africa   Email: mavhungu.musitha@gmail.com   Mobile no: 0824524965 / 0726873557   2 Mavhungu Abel Mafukata (Dr: Ph.D Development Studies)   Vhutali Leadership and Management Institute   PO Box 331, Makhado, 0920 Republic of South Africa Email: drmafukata@gmail.com   Mobile: +27763881622   3 Manare Constance Morobane (MA student) Vhutali Leadership and Management Institute Republic of South Africa Email: selolomc1212@gmail.com Mobile: 27797702358  ABSTRACT Local and international events have often but at different epochs produced and shaped the life of ordinary people into heroes such French Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler of Germany. This is a qualitative study which analysed literature about President Robert Gabriel Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Through the analysis of literature this paper has contributed new knowledge and understanding to social science body knowledge that local and international events have produced and shaped Mugabe to emerge as a symbol of Africa’s continental resistance against Western Europe and the US imperialism and neo-colonialism. The paper further notes that he has emerged as the voice and defender of the continent. The paper concludes by revealing that African leaders acknowledge this role by applauding and giving him standing ovation where ever he touches in Africa. Key words: President Gabriel Robert Mugabe; Imperialism; Continental resistance; Neo-colonialism INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND “ We are not Europeans. We have not asked for any inch of Europe, any square inch of that territory. So (Tony) Blair, keep your England and let me keep my Zimbabwe ” (Robert Mugabe 2002)   President Robert Gabriel Mugabe of the Republic of Zimbabwe receives standing ovation where ever he touches in Africa. This is to the dismay of European leaders particularly of Britain and the US countries who have labelled him a pariah. Mugabe technically became  president of Zimbabwe in 1980 after the Lancaster settlement in Britain. The settlement was  between freedom fighters led by Zimbabwean African National Union (ZANU) and Zimbabwean African People Union (ZAPU) on the one hand and Zimbabwean White minority government on the other. Lancaster conference was reversing century old occupation of Zimbabwe by white settlers. At the time Zimbabwe was known as Southern Rhodesia named after the British magnate Cecil John Rhodes. In fact Rhodes dreamed a construction of a railway line from Cape to Cairo as a symbol of controlling the whole continent on behalf of the British that he represented (Hill 2005:73). The ‘government’ which was in power was represented by new Prime Minister Bishop Abel Muzorewa at Lancaster and Patriotic Front by Mr Joshua Nkomo and Mr Robert Mugabe. The occupation of  Zimbabwe followed the widespread European imperialism which was born in 1884-1885 at the Berlin Conference. At this conference these countries were represented: Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden-Norway (unified from 1814-1905), Turkey, and the United States of America. However, France, Germany, Great Britain, and Portugal were the major players who dominated the whole of the continent. This period was the beginning of colonialism over the African continent. The Europeans were driven to Africa because of the minerals and international markets. In short colonialism was influenced by technological or economic exploitation of the colonised (Clapham 1985:12). The Berlin Conference created new borders which caused much confusion which at independence, Africa could not reverse and are source of civil wars based on ethnicity. Walter Rodney (2012) posits that Berlin Conference heralded the beginning of the under-development of Africa. The occupation of Africa by these powers took forms of political subordination and this was enforced by governors, colonial officials, police, courts, and the army (Rodney 2012:26; Clapham 1985:39). All these were used to apply force on the majority indigenous people to accept alien rule and the occupation of their country by force (Clapham 1985:18). Colonialism had established territories and territorial boundaries which did not exist in pre-colonial Africa. Fixed lines were drawn on places which were without them and people interacting freely (Clapham 1985:18). The biggest beneficiaries of colonial expansion were France which dominated the north and Britain that dominated central, eastern and southern Africa while Portugal occupied Mozambique in the east and Angola. The three took over 80% of spoils in Africa. When dealing with the question of under-development of Africa by Europe, Rodney (2012:27)  postulated that: ‘  the operation of the imperialist system bore major responsibility for African economic retardation by draining African wealth and by making it impossible to develop more rapidly the resources of the continent  ’  . Rodney (2012:27) further posits that in order to address the anomalies of imperialists the following should be done: ‘one has to deal with those who manipulate the system and those who are either agents or unwittingly accomplices of the said system’ However, this should begin from acknowledgement by Africans that Africa is their only home and nowhere else. President Mugabe has explicitly stressed this point when he declared  at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 in South Africa where he said, ‘w e belong to this continent’.   Mugabe also indicated that the belongingness to Africa could not be taken away irrespective of the reprisals by colonisers or those who wanted to use their accomplices or agents to control Zimbabwe. He challenged Europe that the sanctions imposed to force it into submission would not have effect. This he expressed in the following line that said that: w e do not mind having and bearing sanctions banning us from Europe’.  We are not  Europeans. We have not asked for any inch of Europe, any square inch of that territory. So (Tony) Blair, keep your England and let me keep my Zimbabwe (2002). Sanctions are tools imposed on all those countries which refuse to comply with the European establishment of establishing hegemony to plunder the resources of their countries by Europe. Zimbabwe was targeted for demanding that the provisions of land issue as agreed at Lancaster be honoured. Britain refused to address the land issue question and the Republic of Zimbabwe took it upon itself to resolve it and because Zimbabwe was still occupied by those of European dissent economically and the land, Zimbabwe suffered sustainable sanctions to force it to accept that the status quo be maintained. PROBLEM STATEMENT / SETTING THE SCENE President Mugabe has over the years before and after Nelson Mandela positioned himself as the face of continental resistance against Western Europe and American imperialism and neo-colonialism. He is the only African leader known to date who has the guts and courage to face off them and remind them that Africa is for Africans. He has resisted any form of  pressure whether in the form of sanctions to subdue him or threats to remove him militarily. Below is testimony to what he told United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to tell United Nations that Africa is a huge continent to be ignored. Tell them, tell them we are not ghosts that we also belong to the world … part of the world called Africa, and Africans shall no longer tolerate a position of slavery, slavery by any other name. By denial of rights, slavery by being treated in a manner we regard as not equal to the manner in which they treat themselves (2016) Through the whole speech Mugabe was interrupted often with loud applause and at times standing ovation from the member countries as he questioned the location of the UN  headquarters  –   New York  –   saying it should be where the majority of its members are, namely Africa and Asia (2006). This paper therefore, argues that the west and the US have transformed Mugabe into the status of sacrificial lamb to be a symbol of continental resistance against imperialism and neo-colonialism. LIFE’S PHILOSOPHY   Mugabe was born at Kutama in Zimbabwe. Kutama should be differentiated from Kutama of Vhembe in South Africa. Yet, this similarity is key to the title of this study. President Mugabe’s philosophy is that of a leader who is determined to speak not only of his country  but the whole continent. He risked his country when he supported exiled African National Congress of South Africa and its leaders. This is the man who sent his troops to Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) when the government there was under siege from external threats after the assassination of President Laurent Kabila in 2002. He is such a leader who ceaselessly advocates for Africa to be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. To defend the sovereignty of Africa any form of imperialism and neo-colonialism through proxies should be confronted without fear. Mugabe sees Africa’s development integrated in the land question. The following statement bears it all, ‘ Tell them, tell them we are not ghosts that we also belong to the world … part of the world called Africa’,   AFRICA’S PERCEPTION OF ZIMBABWE African leaders’ perception on Mugabe and Zimbabwe is aptly captured by Kenneth Good in his Democracy and the Control of Elites in Melber (2003:11). He said:  A meeting of the ruling parties from Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe congratulated President Mugabe on his “convincing” win “against all odds” in the March elections. They condemned the “grossly fabricated   and  far-fetched propaganda deliberately perpetrated against the government”, and what they called “attempts to install puppet regimes that guarantee the exploitation of our resources” Consistent to the above, Secretary-General of SWAPO to Administrative Secretary of ZANU-PF said: … Your party’s triumph is indeed victory of Southern Africa in particular and the African continent at large. It is a victory over neo-colonialism, imperialism and foreign puppetry  (Melber 2003:146).
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