Why is Mugabe a racist

Stubbornness, hatred and lust for power

Mugabe liberated Rhodesia from white racists and destroyed Zimbabwe as a black racist. When Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980, other African presidents said to Robert Mugabe: "You have the jewel of Africa in your hands, take good care of it." Today the country is ruined and Mugabe persecutes his people with brutal violence. Until recently, Mugabe could assume that he would never be prosecuted for his crimes against humanity - but the times of the quiet evening for dictators are over.

A dictator who rules like a dictator - bad, but consistent. Detto a tyrant who tyrannizes or a despotic despot. But what should one think of an African hero of independence and a bearer of hope for democracy for an entire continent who has changed into a dictator, tyrant and despot? Nothing, even less than nothing, can be said of such a person, one can think of Zimbabwe's President Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

For Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Mugabe was "never a great man, despite his initial reputation; he was always a scared little man". Lessing grew up in southern Rhodesia, today's Zimbabwe, as the child of British farmers and left the country in 1949 at the age of thirty. In the same year, the 25-year-old teacher Mugabe receives a scholarship in South Africa. With this, he can start the second career leap after he has made it from the poor shepherd boy on the field to behind the school cadre with the financial support of Jesuit missionaries.

In South Africa, Mugabe meets future African presidents such as Julius Nyerere from Tanzania and Kenneth Kaunda from Zambia; Nelson Mandela had recently attended the same college - all three become independence heroes. And Mugabe emulates them; initially only ideologically and intellectually, but after he was involved in a demonstration against the colonial government in 1960, he gave up teaching and joined the opposition. In 1964 he was jailed for ten years. Mugabe uses the time for distance learning in economics and law.

Dead son, living hatred

Mugabe's son dies in 1966. His biographers believe that this stroke of fate provides an explanation for Mugabe's earlier hatred of the colonial rulers and today's hatred of everything that comes against him: Mugabe cries for days and asks for leave of absence for the funeral - his guards agree to the proposal, but they Government refuses. Mugabe was only allowed to leave prison in 1974 - as a bitter man and bitter revolutionary. From Mozambique he organizes the liberation struggle.

Mugabe's escape across the border there was organized by a German Jesuit priest, in whose parish on the outskirts of Salisbury, now Harare, Mugabe took refuge in April 1975 from the henchmen of the Rhodesian secret service. Back then, Father Dieter Scholz saw Mugabe as "a person who was innocently locked up and embittered about it, a closed eccentric without friends, an African nationalist". The violence of the blacks against their white occupiers, the father said in a Spiegel interview a few years ago, "was not a problem for us. It was clear that armed struggle was a legitimate means against the cruel rule of the white minority." Hidden in a group of nuns, Mugabe manages to cross the border. In 1979, the Rhodesian colonial government of white racist Ian Smith collapsed under the pressure of the liberation struggle. In 1980 Mugabe was elected Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.

"Never before has a ruler come to power," says Doris Lessing, "to whom his people have granted such a leap of faith." Almost everyone expected him to make their dreams come true. Anyone who traveled through Zimbabwe in Mugabe's early years, says Lessing, could hear everywhere: "Mugabe will do this and Comrade Mugabe will do it!" If Mugabe had been wise enough to take what he heard from his people seriously, Lessing believes, he would have been able to transform the country from the ground up: "But he didn't know how people trusted him, and instead he just surrounded himself Droolers and old pals. "

His racial hatred remains

Just as an abused child often becomes a perpetrator himself later, at the moment of taking power, the liberators of a country adopt the brutal structures of the former rulers. Studies on political laws after revolutions like to try this comparison, which also applies to Zimbabwe. "There was no telling that Mugabe would develop like this," justifies his former escape helper, Father Scholz, but "Mugabe is like Smith: the same stubbornness, the same hatred, the same addiction to power!" And the same quick ending?

The resulting withdrawal of the opposition points in the other direction and Doris Lessing is also skeptical: "Mugabe has produced a caste of greedy people who are just like himself. When he is gone, there will be other people who are just as bad." And what Mugabe also outlasts: "The racial hatred that Mugabe has fomented will not die out!"