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Malema walks in the shadow of Uncle Bob

25 Sep 2019 at 21:11hrs | Views
Julius Malema's entourage is a political spectacle anywhere, at least for those gifted with a political eye.

So when the boyish-looking 'Juju' jetted into Harare's Robert Gabriel Mugabe International airport this week to pay his last respects to Uncle Bob, he arrived with pomb and fanfare at the gloriously plush and famed Blue Roof.  

Mugabe was a man he deeply adored for his ideas as a Pan-Africanist.

Just like Robert Mugabe, Malema exhorted poor, landless black South Africans to occupy every open piece of land in the country and not apologise for it.

The land previously belonged to black ancestors but was forcibly taken away by imperial powers. Resultantly, sprawling black settlements mushroomed across South Africa in areas previously undesignated for such purposes.

Consequently, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, which Malema co-founded and leads won an increased number of votes in this year's national elections. It garnered a considerable number of Parliamentary seats thanks to the support given by the poor, land hungry and black populace.

But far from the iconasitation of Mugabe as a darling of black people emancipation, Malema despised and loathed him for a protracted grip on power eventually bending the constitution to scoop extended terms in office despite failing health and an advanced age.

That did not cloud his views on Mugabe and the vision he espoused as an African. He disliked the man, but not the ideas and like a shadow is hot on his heels.

He equally breathed fire and brimstone with the same zeal when Mugabe was overthrown by the military generals barring him from standing in as Zanu--PF Presidential candidate for elections held in July 2017. Malema minced no words, he made his feelings public. Mugabe had to be let go, but not killed.

Nonetheless this week, he ate at the higher table with Grace, the former First Lady while Mugabe lay dead , forlorn in magnificent rooms rooms adjacent.
There are no permanent foes in politics but interests.

The trait of shooting from the hip was also shared with the late Mugabe who gained a reputation for acidic albeit truthful, pro -African speeches at international fora. He would froth at the mouth telling off imperial powers and perceived enemies of Zimbabwe in no uncertain terms.

Additionally this week, in typical Mugabe fashion, he did not disappoint at the  Blue Roof in Harare laying bare his soul unscripted to the world amid the clink of cameras and the company of the party spokesperson, the kinky haired Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

The leader of the red berets extolled the work of the deceased and unburied Mugabe, a move that many people would shy away from because of the deadman' s inclinations .He spoke so passionately about regional politics and the African continent at large encouraging the youths to participate in politics as it had a direct bearing in their lives.

Youths, he said should take the lead and not sit on their laurels while their fate was discussed buy some myopic old men. Mugabe always believed in the youths by giving them a good education even though in the latter years, jobs were hard to come by.

A renowned rhetorician of note in the mould of Mugabe , Kwame NKrumah, Julius Nyerere et al , Malema also took daminng and unbridled potshots at the Zanu-PF government for seemingly wanting to have the last word on Mugabe' s final resting place, taking a lion role in decisions overriding whatever family wishes and traditions there could be in the Gushungo clan.

Of course Mugabe belonged to Zimbabwe, it's environs, body politic and the African continent largely, if tributes in his honour are anything to go by.

In honour, Kenya declared three days of national mourning with flags flying at half mast. Down in South Africa, a number of memorials by leading political parties were witnessed in the halls of Pretoria and beyond.
Majorly, public discourse centred on Mugabe the man and his leadership style.  Some talk zoomed on his ideas, his Pan -African beliefs that some say are larger- than- life. Mugabe believed in the progress of the black man. He strongly advocated for the use of Africa' s God-given natural resources such as minerals and agricultural land to uplift his case. Thenceforth, he would  take his place on the global stage as an equal being with human races of the world.

 But like a cowboy in western movies, the Harare trip also gave Malema an opportunity to shoot from the hip, taking no prisoners.

He decried fake promises in the form of Presidential packages and benefits made to Mugabe before he capitulated under immense military pressure to leave office.

With that, he stole the thunder from Zimbabwean opposition politicians by discussing accountability issues right on their doorstep. An opposition party keeps the governing party on its toes by pushing for transparency and accountability issues.

The main opposition, the MDC Alliance, for lack of creativity, impetus or direction chose to be passive and leaders enjoyed VIP seats at the public memorials in honour of Mugabe, a man they despised to hell and back.

With all eyes zoomed at the passing on of Mugabe, a revered and despised persona, I think it would have been a golden chance to decry abuses and showcase grievances wrought on the nation.

Nevertheless, Malema addressed issues afflicting the continent too.  The African Union was saved neither. He literally man- handled leadership at the continental body for pontificating long range projects that given the natural forces of elimination in the human race, none of the contemporary leaders would be present. Their failures to honour  such promises would be exonerated by their absence through death Malema hinted.

The Harare sojourn could also have been South Africa 's best export this week. He touched on a raw nerve when he comfortably admitted being home when in Harare. Mugabe' s compound was his home too as he had been welcomed by the late himself. This throws egg in the face of xenophobic citizens in South Africa hell-bent in making their country an island unto itself by flushing out all non- citizens back to their countries of origin. Purportedly, foreigners steal jobs, women and are blamed for all manner of vices which in some instances hold true but others is simply a Trojan horse to hoodwink the masses on the failures of the government.

Given the calibre of Malema who is more inclined to speak his mind at at given time without fee or favour, he, like Mugabe steps on many toes. He is likely to have more enemies than friends.  

During mama Winnie Madikizela- Mandela's memorial at Orlando Stadium, Malema stole the hearts of many by insinuating publicly that the people who behaved the most agrieved by the death on Mam Winnie were the very same people hell-bent in plots to bring about her demise.

We, as Africans might choose to love or hate such folks, but the truth is always liberating. Other leaders could also borrow a leaf.
Josiah Mucharowana is a Zimbabwean- trained journalist. Feedback on +27 84 587 4121 or

Source - Josiah Mucharowana
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