There is no need to outline in detail the kind of relationship that exists between Zimbabwe on one hand, and the United Kingdom and its Western allies on the other.
We all know the story of colonialism, Chimurenga, Independence, land reforms, sanctions and economic empowerment.
Throughout this narrative, a figure that looms large and ever present is President Mugabe.
He was there in just about all the critical phases in the evolution of this sometimes frosty and sometimes hot-as-war relationship.
President Mugabe was there during the early days of modern nationalist awakening during colonialism; he was at the centre of the liberation struggle; he was in the spotlight at Independence; and has led the country to land reforms and economic empowerment.
In the process, his efforts have earned the reward of illegal sanctions against not only him and his family, but also on a Zimbabwean nation that is being punished for believing in President Mugabe’s emancipation and development agenda.
In short, it would not be far off the mark to say that people rarely talk of Zimbabwe without talking about President Mugabe.
This is not about personality cults or any such narrow and self-serving politics. It is about the way President Mugabe thinks.
Britain and its Western friends long realised that President Mugabe thinks in a particular way and they have just as long tried to change that mindset. It is a mind-set that they cannot stomach an African having.
But try as they may to kill it, it is a mindset that has been planted like a seed in the hearts and consciousness of millions of Zimbabweans.
It is not going away. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever.
So what is that mindset? Well, the answer to that question comes from the very people who would rather see that way of thinking perish.
Douglas Hurd, the former Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary of the United Kingdom once reportedly remarked: “The trouble with (President) Mugabe is that he thinks like us.”
This is the same Douglas Hurd who recommended a knighthood for President Mugabe back in 1994, obviously as part of an attempt to bribe him into changing his thinking. Later, that same Douglas Hurd would claim he could not remember making that recommen- dation.
This was after the Zimbabwean leader went full steam ahead with land reforms a few years later.
President Mugabe remains the dominant force in our politics because of the way he thinks: that all men are created equal and are masters their destiny.
The British and their allies do not accept subservience. President Mugabe too does not accept it. No one should.
Still, many Africans mostly think like victims.
They consider themselves children of a lesser god and are ready to allow the rest of the world to treat them as such.
President Mugabe envisioned a Zimbabwe where the indigenous people owned their land and their economy.
The realisation of that vision is painful at both a personal and national level.
But it is a price worth paying. It is the price that comes with thinking of yourself as an equal in the comity of nations. And its reward is development.
If we envision ourselves as incapable of feeding ourselves, of providing healthcare to our people, of giving them an empowering education, of providing them with dignified accommodation; without aid and general budgetary support from the West, then we are doomed to remain with a victim mentality.
It all starts with a state of mind, and a positive state of mind is consciously nurtured and fed the very kind of self-belief that has developed the West.
And it is this state of mind that President Mugabe has been nurturing since before Independence and up to the present in general; and more specifically in his most recent public addresses.
At the Presidential Youth Interface Rallies, in remarks to mourners at the sombre ceremonies that have come too thick and fast this year at the National Heroes Acre, in engagements with leaders of business and other sectors, President Mugabe’s underlying message has been that of an empowered mindset.
As Zimbabwe enters a defining phase ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections, let us be guided by an empowering mindset.
President Mugabe has shown us that the mental shackles that have held us back for so long can be thrown off.
How we perceive ourselves of more importance than how our enemies perceive us. This is the lasting legacy that President Mugabe has bequeathed to this nation.
And it is a legacy that we must cherish and build on for the sake of our children.
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