The South African Parliament has passed a motion to honour and respect the legacy of the late former Zimbabwe president, Robert Mugabe.
The motion was moved by the opposition party, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and was only met with one objection and two abstentions.
In passing the Draft resolution on Condolences for former President of Zimbabwe in the National Assembly Plenary on Parliament Tuesday, EFF leader, Julius Malema, described the strongman as a devoted pan Africanist, a principled revolutionary dedicated to liberating the continent.
“The draft resolution notes on September 6 2019, one of the most visionary and the bravest of the leaders produced by the African anti-colonial movement, Mr Robert Gabriel Mugabe, the former president of Zimbabwe passed on. Further knows that the president Robert Mugabe was devoted, pan Africanist, a principled revolutionary with unwavering commitment to the cause for the liberation of African and development of the African continent in a manner that puts African people first,” he said.
The development also shared by EFF’s deputy leader, Floyd Shivambu on twitter was met with widespread condemnation as some Zimbabweans rubbished the honour and blamed Mugabe for the country’s misrule and role in the 1980s genocide.
Mugabe who ruled Zimbabwe for three decades was seen as the ‘face of failure’ as he reigned over economic chaos and political misgovernance.
Online users on twitter made their feelings clear that there was no love lost for the former leader who was deposed in a coup d’etat in 2017.
“Get away. A genocidal tyrant who murdered more than 20 000 people in Matabeleland,” said one twitter user.
Another user added: “Thousands of Zimbabweans are loitering in your streets undocumented, living like fugitives, running, ducking and diving at the sight of police and immigration because of the administration chaired by that man but here you are focusing on the dead yet the screams of the living goes unnoticed.”
“Your obsession with the late wicked dictator is misguided energy best channeled somewhere else. He singlehandedly destroyed a country pregnant and fertile possibilities. To undo most it will take us years,” said another commentator.
But in his motion, Malema acknowledged that Mugabe stood head and shoulder above the rest in his commitment to resolve the timeless question of the return of land back to African people and use of wealth for the development of Africa.
He also cited that due to the fast track land reform programme in Zimbabwe, Mugabe “faced unimaginable attacks in the quest for the return of the land to the African people and that Zimbabwe was punished for daring to redefine itself as a sovereign nation.”
Malema said colonialist forces has no moral authority to impose how Mugabe should be remembered and how African states should be run.
“If you dare touch privilege of colonialists, you better be prepared for the full might of the racist global institutions…”he said, adding that Zimbabwe’s troubles started when Zimbabweans began taking back their land.
“Whites stood up and vowed to punish President Mugabe and all Zimbabwean for daring to take back what rightfully belonged to them.”
He also urged Mugabe’s widow, Grace to remain strong, protect her husband’s legacy “as there were opportunists with the ranks of the ruling party who wanted to destroy his legacy.”
In the same vein, Malema urged South Africa to unapologetically reclaim their land and called those who were apologetic about the country’s expropriation of land without compensation – cowards.
Analysts have said that Mugabe is man of many faces from idealistic to dictator, who many Zimbabweans have no fond memories of.
“Look at his rule when he came to power. Mugabe presided over political repression, political intolerance, poverty, hyperinflation, a collapsed education and health system while some will revere him as an icon of pan-African nationalism for standing up to the West. It is no wonder the two separate lines of feelings or thought coming from Zimbabweans and those across the border who admired his unwavering dedication to African idealism,” said Khanyile Mlotshwa.