"We just want our land and will take it the way we know how. What can they do?"Mugabe speaking of his government's 'Land Reform' programme in May 2000.
Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe is 84 years old. He rose to prominence in the 1960s as a freedom fighter leading a guerrilla war against white-minoprity rule in the then Rhodesia. He endured many years of imprisonment and left Rhodesia in 1976 to continue his efforts for the Zimbabwe Liberation Struggle from bases in Mozambique. At the end of the Rhodesian Bush Wars Mugabe emerged as a national hero in the minds of many Africans and a natural candidate for leadership of the newly independent Zimbabwe, as such he won the elections of 1980, though even at this time his electoral victory was marked by reports of violence and intimidation practiced by the Bush War veterans acting on his orders.
Mugabe became the first Prime Minister and was often to be heard preaching 'reconciliation' and 'unity' not just between formerly warring parties and factions (most notably between his own party ZANU and the dissident followers of ZAPU between whom an agreement was eventually reached resulting in a merger which saw the formation of the present ruling party ZANU PF) but also between blacks and whites. Since 1998 however, Mugabe's policies have increasingly elicited domestic and international denunciation and his rhetoric, once so apparently progressive and unifying has become evermore aggressive and devisive.
"The white man is not indigenous to Africa. Africa is for Africans. Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans." Robert Mugabe
His government's mistakes have been predominantly economic and have transformed a country once regarded as the bread basket of Africa into a ravaged ghostland of poverty, starvation and nurturing a pervasive discontent subdued at every turn by a ruthless government fearful of any threat to its retention of power. Mugabe's government pursued a costly intervention in the Second Congo War, it then introduced a programme of 'Land Reform' forcibly expropriating thousands of white-owned farms and distributing them not among capable black farmers but among government associates and VIPs with no experience or interest in farming. The government responded to the first flushes of economic hardship by printing hundreds of trillions of Zimbabwean dollars which in turn triggered hyperinflation and even graver ecomonic devastation.
"Britain and her allies are telling a lot of lies about Zimbabwe, saying a lot of people are dying. These are all lies." Robert Mugabe, 25 June 2008
Throughout the decades since he came to power Mugabe and his administration have been accused of harassing and brutalising political opponents, particularly members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Zimbabwe's economy spiraled ever further downward, with food and oil shortages, and with massive internal displacement and emigration. The more serious the situation in Zimbabwe the more fiercely Mugabe has repelled his critcs and opponents and pursued ever more vigorously his policies, most notably his Land Reform programme, used to reward and secure the loyalty of would-be challengers to his authority from among the elite. But Mugabe has also recognised that threatening dissent and unrest also ferments elsewhere, specifically among the urban poor, in the slums and shanty-towns of Harare. In 2005 he addressed this with a programme known as 'Operation: Drive Out the Rubbish' which resulted in the loss of homes and livelihoods of more than 700,000 residents, a further 2.4 million were adversely affected.
"That's nonsense... anyone who wants facts should come and see what's happening. We removed them from slums and put them in new places." Robert Mugabe, speaking in an ABC News interview, November 2005
Unwilling to acknowledge his own responsibility for the crises that have befallen his country and determined to retain his grip on power, Mugabe has resorted to diversionary tactics to galvanise his increasingly discontented populace. By exploiting latent reactionary racism and the memory of the country's colonial past Mugabe has sought to channel the discontent and animosity among the black majority toward a 'common enemy'. He describes his critics in the West and at home as "born again colonialists", and Zimbabwe's problems as the legacy of imperialism, aggravated by Western economic meddling. In so doing Mugabe has distorted the struggle for a better future for Zimbabwe and recast it as a racial conflict to which there can only be one logical conclusion, the expulsion or subjugation of all white africans whatever the consequences and by whatever means necessary. He and his government care nothing for democracy, nothing for legality, nothing for human rights and ultimately it must be acknowledged that he and his government care nothing for Zimbabwe, for how else can the country's predicament be explained other than as the consequence of a monstrous failure of leadership?
"It may be necessary to use methods other than constitutional ones..." Robert Mugabe
Mugabe and the White African is a film that serves not only as a document of one family's plight at the hands of systemic racism in Zimbabwe, but as a clarion call to the world, alerting all civilized nations, all civilized hearts and minds, to the shocking truth about what is really taking place there.
"I am still the Hitler of the times. This Hitler has only one objective: Justice for his people; sovereignty for his people. If that is Hitler, right... then let me be a Hitler ten fold!"