It is often a sad situation to witness when people try to compare failures like Robert Mugabe to great men like Nelson Mandela.Those who don't know much about Africa think Robert is a hero simply because he (Robert Mugabe) is both anti-white and anti-west forgetting the fact that, only fools and cowards hide under the dark shadows of racism, tribalism and ethnocentrism, extreme nationalism, etc. Robert Mugabe thinks the west is the enemy and so he (Robert Mugabe) does not want to have anything to do with the west. The truth however is that, the enemy is within. In fact, we are our own worst enemy.
Robert Mugabe thought white people were the major problem facing Zimbabwe his country and so used his power and influence to drive white people away by force from Zimbabwe, taking away their lands and properties. Robert Mugabe drove the White people away and has been in power for nearly 4 decades now.
Has Robert Mugabe been able to improve Zimbabwe his "beloved" country? The answer is NO. Has Robert Mugabe been able to do something great to better the lives of his poor countrymen after nearly 4 decades in power? The answer once again is a very big NO. Zimbabwe is now among the poorest (bottom 5 according to a recent UN multi-dimensional poverty index.) countries in Africa if not the poorest of them all. Does this make a leader a hero?
The white people living in Zimbabwe were great farmers who owned large farms and properties and contributed greatly to the economy of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe had a very hopeful economy. Robert Mugabe forcefully drove those white people away from Zimbabwe because he considered white people parasites. Robert Mugabe took away their lands and properties but what did he do with those lands and properties? Robert Mugabe gave those lands and properties to his immediate friends and relatives while the poor farmer had no land at all to farm on. Does this make a leader a hero? Some people often argue the white people in power in Zimbabwe were some insane "overlords" and needed to be put in their proper place and I do agree to some extent. However, does it make much sense to take a farmer's land but fail to cultivate the land? Also, does it make much sense for Robert Mugabe to continue to blame white people for our current problems? Some argue those sanctions placed on Zimbabwe by the west are the reasons why Zimbabwe wallows in poverty forgetting the fact that countries like Cuba survived even worse.
Robert Mugabe has about 7 degrees (2 of which are masters degrees) and I think it is safe to say Robert Mugabe is very book "smart". However, is Robert Mugabe the smartest in Zimbabwe like he once claimed? Is Robert Mugabe the wisest amongst men like the image he once projected? the answer to both questions is simply NO. Why? Because wisdom and common sense have very little to do with books and degrees. Robert Mugabe considers himself the wisest amongst men. He even thought he had what it takes to refer to all oppositions as "garbage". Robert Mugabe even had the gut to refer to Nelson Mandela as a "coward" simply because, unlike Robert Mugabe, Nelson Mandela decided to make peace with his enemies and helped unite his country South Africa for the better. Robert Mugabe expected Mandela to drive away all the white people from South Africa and because Nelson Mandela decided to choose peace over violence, Robert Mugabe considered Mandela a coward. Meanwhile, after all Robert Mugabe's "courage" and "wisdom", Zimbabwe remains one of the poorest in Africa. Does this make a leader a hero?
He is an African and a very old man and so it is our duty as Africans to respect his age and that is why some of us continue to respect him despite all his failures. We don't respect his evil deeds and we don't respect his character and nature. We just respect his age as an African. But does that make him a hero? The answer is a very big NO.
UPDATE: Robert Mugabe passed away on 9/6/19 at 95.
UPDATE: Robert Mugabe officially resigned on 11/21/17.