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Mugabe's major accomplishments

by Staff reporter
07 Sep 2019 at 09:06hrs | Views
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the country's founding President having served as Prime Minister from 1980 to 1987 and then as Executive President from 1987 to 2017.  

He chaired the former Zanu from 1975 to 1980 and led its successor political party, the Zanu-Patriotic Front, from 1980 to 2017.  

During his tenure of office, particularly soon after independence in 1989, the country recorded a tremendous economic growth and some of the positive developments that are worth highlighting include programmes such Free Education for All, Health for All in 1980, the 1987 Unity Accord between former-PF-Zapu and Zanu-PF and the Land Reform programme in 2000.

Renowned historian Mr Pathisa Nyathi said Mugabe belonged to a group of nationalists such as the late Vice-President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, Cdes Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo, George Silundika and Herbert Chitepo among others, who sacrificed their lives to liberate the country.

"We have to acknowledge that in terms of our liberation heritage, Mugabe was instrumental and he belongs to that cadre of people who sacrificed a lot to ensure the independence of what we now term Zimbabwe from the colonial yoke. He belongs to the same class as Joshua Nkomo, JZ Moyo, George Silundika and Leopold Takawira, Herbert Chitepo and many others. Although he was not part of the nationalist movement when it started in 1957 on the 12th of September, but even then it had been realised that he had some qualities which the nationalist movements in Southern Rhodesia and the African National Congress needed so they sent for him to be brought back into the country from Ghana where he was a teaching," he said.

Mr Nyathi said when the National Democratic Party (NDP) was established on January 1, 1960, Mugabe was a publicity secretary whose election was done on the basis of his oratory skills having majored in English at Fort Hare University. He lauded Mugabe for spearheading the land reform programme, which saw thousands of landless blacks being resettled on prime land which was formerly a preserve for the whites.

"He is the first Prime Minister of this country and we see in that period the Lancaster House talks had certain clauses that did not allow land acquisition and all that was there was the willing-buyer-willing seller and there were not many white farmers who were willing to sell their land, so the resettlement process was at a skewed rate.  

"It was through Mugabe that the land reform programme was fast tracked in 2000 and more land was made available to the landless black majority and generally the empowerment of black people economically was important as it was at the heart of the liberation struggle," said Mr Nyathi

"Soon after independence great strides were made in the education sector and in 1980 we had only one university, which is now the University of Zimbabwe, which had been opened in 1957 as the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, but today we have lots of them, both State and private universities.  

"We had many people who had lost out in terms of education because of the liberation struggle and several upper tops as they were called then, were opened and these are commendable strides in education."

Mr Nyathi said several district hospitals and rural health centres were opened.  He, however, said his shortcomings included his failure to mould Zimbabwe into a solid united nation by failing to resolve the Gukurahundi issue beyond merely referring to it as "a moment of madness."

Renowned academic Professor Lovemore Madhuku said Mugabe's administration played a key role in the development of a robust education system in the country, which also catered for the less privileged. He said his generation benefited from the Free Education for All programme.

"My parents are poor peasants in Chipinge. They could not have afforded to pay for my university education. Under the leadership of Robert Gabriel Mugabe, the Government of an independent Zimbabwe paid for my university education. My generation benefited from that vision. The colonial regime wanted a secondary or high school to look like something so spectacular and that accessing them was a privilege of only a few," he said.

Prof Madhuku, however, said when the Government of former President Mugabe came into power, school was made compulsory and free.

"When Mugabe's government came in 1980, he said we wanted every child to go past primary school and secondary schools were then established near primary schools. There was massive and expansive development of primary and secondary schools throughout the country. There was also an expansive development of teacher training colleges and we are where we are now, rated as one of the most literate societies in the world, and Zimbabweans are regarded as highly educated and you can't talk of a highly educated Zimbabwean without at the same time talking of a person called Robert Gabriel Mugabe and his government," he said.

Retired journalist, Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu, echoed Prof Madhuku's sentiments saying Mugabe played a key role in spearheading a programme of free and compulsory education for all which ran up to O-Level.

"He introduced free and compulsory education and services, which is what we really fought for and we called it socialism and that is to say the State was going to control the means of production and means of distribution.  

"The land reform programme was inevitable because we fought for land and colonialism was all about land and the British government wanted to own land in Africa, Asia, South America and parts of Europe such as Malta so that its people could be settled there and  we the indigenous people of those lands would then be dispersed and dispossessed," he said.

"It was in pursuance of that that Ian Smith made a Unilateral Declaration of Independence on November 11, 1965. He wanted his regime to have full control of this country so that land is given permanently to white settlers."

Zanu-PF National Deputy Commissar Omega Hungwe said Mugabe was a distinguished revolutionary who will always remain the country's icon despite circumstances surrounding his retirement on November 21, 2017 following Operation Restore Legacy. She said Mugabe's illustrious record could not be expunged from the history of Zimbabwe.

Operation Restore Legacy, which was led by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, was aimed at restoring the legacy of the liberation struggle that was under threat from the excesses of counter-revolutionaries who had wormed their way into the top echelons of Zanu-PF and Government.

This culminated in Operation Restore Legacy whose high point was the resignation of Mugabe.

The military made it quite clear that their intervention did not constitute a military takeover, but as stockholders of the governance process, they could not continue to watch as the very fabric of what they fought for was being shredded to pieces by elements bent on destroying both the former President Mugabe and Zanu-PF's legacies.

Source - chronicle