Pragoti is reproducing the debate between Patrick Bond and Mahmood Mamdani,on the political impasse in Zimbabwe that was triggered off by Mamdani's article - 'Lessons of Zimbabwe'. Patrick Bond argues that Mugabe's survival is closely linked with the existing system of crony capitalism buttressed by extensive patronage. Mamdani on the other hand,traces the historic roots of the land question, and asserts the role of Western imperialism in the current situation and excessive vilification of Mugabe.
It is hard to think of a figure more reviled in the West than Robert Mugabe. Liberal and conservative commentators alike portray him as a brutal dictator, and blame him for Zimbabwe’s descent into hyperinflation and poverty. The seizure of white-owned farms by his black supporters has been depicted as a form of thuggery, and as a cause of the country’s declining production, as if these lands were doomed by black ownership. Sanctions have been imposed, and opposition groups funded with the explicit aim of unseating him. Writes Mahmood Mamdani
This article is excerpted from the conclusion to Mahmood Mamdani's book Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics and the War on Terror, forthcoming from Pantheon in January. This article appeared in the September 29, 2008 edition of The Nation.