Written by: Peter Bismark
The 37 year old Baobab government led by the Marxism-Leninist, President Robert Mugabe of the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), ended in a deal to allow for a transition and election in 2018.
Mugabe is considered by many as a father of the revolution, to the extent of naming his own son Nhamodzenyika (which translates to “the suffering country”). One cannot tell if that name could have made Zimbabwe to have suffered under his regime. There’s an adage that goes, “a good beginning makes a good ending”. But in the context of “Mugabetarianism” (a newly-coined political philosophy; this is the first time it is used publicly on this platform), this statement is a fallacy of hasty generalization. Another favorable quote from Abraham Lincoln that, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”, depicts the leadership Mugabe administered. This expounds that good leaders often don’t make for good leadership. Many coined names of his leadership deportments have been credited to his administration, including “Mugabeism”.
As a Marxist-Leninist, Mugabe embraced universal social welfare in his dictatorship. With education, public health and Mugabe-directed social services, he faced unending challenges with low productivity bringing in a resource-cursed economy. Government’s inability to adequately fund public health in 2014 forced and denied many the access to good healthcare, and most public hospitals went understaffed because of frozen public sector employment. Nearly all rural public schools were closed. Mugabe’s education programme saw the attenuation of teachers due to poor salaries and bureaucratic release of funds for smooth operationalisation of educational activities. Even though Zimbabwe has the highest literacy rate in Africa, the educational sector’s welfare assistance killed the gene of success.
Marxist-Leninism, as a stamped-out name for communist-socialism, and its accompanying welfare system and economic planning, antagonises the market forces of demand and supply. Its element of communist wages was made possible in Zimbabwe, according to ones’ dexterity and intensity of work at work place. Between 1990 and 2000, the living standard plummeted. High inflation and the abandoning of its currency in favour of four other currencies scared investors, deforming the economic genotype of Zimbabwe. Mugabe’s opposition to colonialism and imperialism became popular, directing the blame for every economic, political and social challenge at the West.
The country has deposits of minerals and other natural resources of value that could have made the citizenry prosperous with the right ideology in governance and trade.
Mugabe’s absence in governance until a new democratic election will hopefully wash away the Mugabetarian ideology that uphold anti-imperialism, economic dictatorship and frowns on internationalisation, breeding economic insecurity. Revolutionaries must be backed with the right ideology that allows individuals to create wealth for themselves through voluntary exchange determined by the market. The end of Mugabe is not the end of poverty, welfarism and unstable micro-economic indicators, but the end of Mugabetarianism.
Author: Peter Bismark is a policy research analyst at the Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation in Ghana.