I used to admire our former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad to a fault. I still do to certain extend but with some reservations to some of his recent outbursts which has kind of put me in a dilemma. Call it disappointment if you wish but I certainly do hope he tones down a little and minces his words before he says them.
Honesty and frankness are good virtues and helping a friend in distress is no less a good virtue too. As the saying goes "A friend in need is a friend indeed"
Does Robert Mugabe fits as that kind of a friend.A despot who robbed and ruined his country and shattered the economy that will take generations to recover.
Mugabe was once hailed as a symbol of the new Africa.During his 28 years rule the well-being and health of his people has dropped dramatically.It has the world's shortest life expectancy....37 for men and 34 for women, the highest percentage of orphans and abuse of human rights using arbitrary arrest and torture of political opponents.
When Zimbabwe gained independence 46.5% of the country's arable land was owned by around 6,000 commercial farmers.Mugabe accepted a "willing buyer, willing seller" among other concessions to the white minority.The compensations were paid by the British government to white settlers to return land to poor Zimbabwean farmers. As part of this agreement, land redistribution was blocked for a period of 10 years.
In 1997 the British government led by Tony Blair unilaterally stopped funding the "willing buyer, willing seller" land reform programme on the basis that the initial 44 million pound sterling allocated under the Thatcher government was used to purchase land for members of the ruling elite rather than landless peasants.
Mugabe's family owns three farms: Highfield Estate in Norton, 45 km west of Harare, Iron Mask Estate in Mazowe, about 40 km from Harare, and Foyle Farm in Mazowe, formerly owned by Ian Webster and adjacent to Iron Mask Farm, renamed to Gushungo Farm after Mugabe's own clan name.These farms were seized forcibly from their previous owners.
He has allowed seizure of white-owned farmland without compensations.This are the very people he asked to stay back and guarantee them security of their land when the country gained independence.
Zimbabwe once the "bread basket" of southern Africa is now economically crippled and its farmlands lay in ruins. It now depend on food program and help from outside to feed at least one-third of its population.
Mugabe who has a string of academic degrees hanging around his neck is one of the most useless and corrupted African despots. He is responsible for the freefall of the country's economy by his appalling economic mismanagement, corruption and brutal repression.
It's so disheartening to hear our former Prime Minister Mahathir to ask our government to give asylum to this crook who had destroyed a nation and makes its people suffer immeasurably.
I don't think we need this kind of despot in our midst and I urge the government not to let him enter the country let alone give him asylum.
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