And then a horrid man with little interest in the well-being of his fellow citizens snatched the reins of power. He surrounded himself with odious and misshapen creatures and half-listened to their mewing advice. The task in front of him was huge, it would take monumental focus and energy. But then whoever said that bringing a great and proud nation to its knees would be easy? First things first, truth in all of its one shade would have to be challenged daily, hourly, insistently. Alternative facts would have to be created, Diogenes’ lamp would have to be shattered, and attempts must be made to cow those who purport to report events in a accurate manner. Next distrust and, if possible, hate for ones neighbors must be instilled in the population. The quaint notion that all residents of a nation share a certain je ne sai quoi and therefore a fraternity must be quashed. The populace must understand that some people (and animals) are more equal than others. The next step is economic mayhem and following that is the invasion of anther country to further deplete a nation’s treasury.
“Did this really happen?” one might ask. The author apologizes if he has misled the reader by starting this off with “once upon a time …”, but, alas, yes this did happen. Robert Mugabe came to power in 1980 in what was known as “the breadbasket of Africa”, the Republic of Zimbabwe. 1980 to 2017 is thirty-seven years. For thirty-seven years Mugabe has managed to stay in power by bringing the breadbasket of Africa down to the beggars basket of Africa. He had great success in his attempts to muzzle the press. He sowed seeds of hate between the Shona and Ndebele resulting in “gukurahundi” or acts of ethnic cleansing. He created economic mayhem by a ham handed handing over of flourishing farm land to those with little experience farming. By all means, those who had been forced to the least arable land while the country was known as Rhodesia surely had claim to some of the better land but a period of transition might have prevented decades of food shortages. Last but not least Mugabe sought to really set back his country but getting involved in the Second Congo War.
A real textbook example of how to create a failed state. It has happened elsewhere in various forms and could certainly happen again. This is why we resist and must continue to resist for all 1461 days that any Mugabe Doppelganger might be in power.