By Pofela Ndzozi
Leaders for Africa Network (LAN) in partnership with renowned academic Ibbo Mandaza’s regional think-tank, the Southern African Political-Economy Series (SAPES) Trust, is set to launch a book tracing the philosophical footpath and political grounding of the former President of Zimbabwe, the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe. The book will be launched at an extraordinary session of the SAPES Policy Dialogue on Thursday, 09 September 2021.
As indicated in the introduction of this book, ‘‘Robert Gabriel Mugabe (21 February 1924 – 6 September 2019) was Zimbabwe’s head of state for almost four decades. First as prime minister (1980 – 1987) and later as executive president (1987 – 2017). He was eventually succeeded by his former vice president, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, whom he had fired in November 2017 following pronounced power wrangles within ZANU PF” (Sabao, Mahomva & Mhandara 2021: xiv). This book was published by Leaders for Africa Network’s research unit, LAN Readers.
The launch of the book, Re/membering Robert Gabriel Mugabe: Politics, Legacy, Philosophy, Life and Death, is a befitting homage to an African leader. Through this book launch, LAN and SAPES Trust join Zimbabwe and the rest of the world in commemorating the second-anniversary commemorations of Robert Mugabe’s passing on the 6th of September 2019.
The book highlights Robert Mugabe’s statecraft milestones and pitfalls before and after Zimbabwe’s independence in April 1980. The essays in the book also interrogate Mugabe’s statesmanship within the broad-based ideological benchmarks of African nationalism and pan-Africanism. In his foreword, the founding proponent of the Afrocentricity theory, Prof. Molefi Kete Asante, who is also Professor and Chair, Department of Africology and African American Studies, Temple University, applauded LAN Readers for producing this book:
This good work should be credited to the editors of the volume who have championed science and decency, love of truth and revelations about inadequacies, and achievements that have sustained the nation. The readers will understand that Robert Mugabe as a Zimbabwean political figure was not a perfect man; neither was he the devil that he was painted to be by the Western media. That is not to say that he was not eccentric in some ways, but rather to try to understand the circumstances of his paranoia at being surrounded by international forces seeking to bring down one’s country.
Re/membering Robert Gabriel Mugabe: Politics, Legacy, Philosophy, Life, and Death was edited by Namibian-based Zimbabwean scholar Dr. Collen Sabao, Richard Runyararo Mahomva, the Executive Coordinator of Leaders for Africa Network, and Dr. Lawrence Mhandara, a senior lecturer with the University of Zimbabwe’s Department of Governance and Public Management.
This fourteen-chapter volume draws its contributions from a cohort of reputable and upcoming academics and practising politicians. ZANU PF’s Secretary for Administration and a long-serving cabinet minister in Mugabe’s government, Dr. Obert Mpofu, is among the contributors of this book. Other notable figures among the contributors include Prof Jairos Kangura, Dr. Enerst Jakaza, Isaac Mhute, Nelson Mlambo, Richard Muranda, Lenin Chisaira, and Avoid Masiraha, among others.