Responses to Mugabe’s death speak volumes

Staff Writer | Sep 07, 2019
The reactions of South Africa’s political parties to news of the death of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe starkly reflect their true natures.

The African National Congress (ANC) tweeted: ‘ANC mourns the passing of friend, statesman & revolutionary comrade Robert Mugabe #RIPMugabe #RIPRobertMugabe #Zimbabwe.’

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane responded: ‘Mugabe’s legacy is that of a liberator who sadly failed to liberate his own people from poverty and despair. I send my condolences to the family and loved ones of former President Robert Mugabe. May his soul rest in peace.’

Unsurprisingly, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) tweeted: ‘We join the world and the continent in saluting the formidability and bravery of President Robert Mugabe at the face of imperialists with their regime change agenda on Zimbabwe. (sic) May his soul rest in revolutionary peace. #RIPRobertMugabe.’

Said the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus): ‘We should not normalize what he did even in his death. That has been our greatest hypocrisy. Mugabe was greedy and selfish. #RIPMugabe.’

The ANC expresses its friendship with and admiration of Mugabe without acknowledging any of his wrongdoing. Maimane’s contribution presents Mugabe as having been unable to liberate his people rather as having been responsible for driving his people to the depths of poverty and despair. The party's response is deeply disappointing in that it reflects a DA that is uncritical and chooses to venerate Mugabe in death.

The EFF didn’t disappoint in its untrammelled devotion to Mugabe and its exhortation that implied that right-thinking African countries would feel the same way. Julius Malema, the EFF’s Commander-in-Chief, said: ‘We must not allow our enemies to tell us how to remember Mugabe.’ It’s unlikely that anyone would do so.

The FF Plus gave no quarter to any supposed good side to Mugabe.

Thus, South African politics writ large.


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