This is not a propaganda pamphlet, my collection of thoughts and reflections on our country, the problems we face, the scale of the changes involved and the complexity, responsibility and uniqueness of our time. A candid confrontation as a collective with the diabolical machinations that have backtracked the People’s Revolution. Reengaging in the discourse of our future and refuting falsehoods in the struggle narrative which has deliberately placed one individual at the centre of the struggle and undermined the sacrifice of thousands of Zimbabweans dead or alive who fought for the liberation of our country and the dignity of our people.
Firstly I have to put it to everyone that Mugabe is not a god or a Jesus for that matter or a man any better than Joshua Nkomo, J M Tongogara, J Z Moyo, Rekayi Tangwena or the many men and women who gallantly collapsed white minority rule in Zimbabwe and broadly the many people across Africa who fought against imperialism and colonialism. I intend to place him after the thousands of Africans who have contributed far more than him, intentionally challenging and defying the narrative that has been imposed which seeks to place him as exceptional and an exception.
I have listened to many people alluding dishonestly of his greatness and I have sought desperately any evidence of such greatness beyond the melodramatic speeches on various international forums. I have learned painfully to demand evidence and not to accept prima facie what man say. I speak of Zimbabwe as an insider and of Zanu Pf as a young man who grew up in the party, the night vigils, the misleading ward meetings, the Independence Day celebrations and what not. I participated until I understood that the direction with which the party was taking was perilous, and the party had lost its connection with the true ideals of the people. This point of realisation was heart-breaking and traumatic, for years I had to struggle to get over the sentimental attachment to the liberation movement and such a conundrum is very common in many African states. You have to wean yourself first for you to grow as a person and indeed as a country.
In 1988, Robert Mugabe declared a Kenyan professor ‘persona non grata’ and gave him 48 hours to exit the country, his name is Professor Shadreck Gutto, a constitutional law expert and internationally recognised law professor whose contributions in the field of African Renaissance studies is invaluable. Gutto had criticised the amendments to the constitution which gave Mugabe absolute powers, with arrogance he disregarded academic freedom and institutional autonomy of the University of Zimbabwe. These where early intimations of his brutality and intolerance. At the same period there erupted pickets and demonstrations against his rule by student movements which were violently thwarted by the police and resulted in the semi militarisation of the academic space. This was only about twenty years ago and the violence would persist and escalate, now we have recent abductions and disappearances of critics of his rule such as Jestina Mukoko and Itai Dzamara of which the latter has not been found. Jestina Mukoko was released by State operatives into police custody after National and International outcry, unfortunately Mr Dzamara is still at large.
This history is common cause to many Zimbabweans actually his brutality has been confirmed by the recently leaked CIO files of his dissipated wife which gives insight on the illogical killings of many Zimbabweans including secret service agents. I have intentionally recorded the early student protests because it saves to illustrate lucidly our mistake as a country in sustaining the continued misrule of his administration and the devastating footprint his rule will forever have on our history and lives which validates the dictum, “a stitch in time saves nine”.
Paulo Friere speaks of praxis as the marriage between ideological theory and practise and one without the other is dead. This exactly describes Mugabe’s rants on the international platforms which has led him to be depicted as a continental giant. Yet if one attempts to assess the progressive nature of his politics, there is not anything to support this image of an African giant except the land redistribution programme of which he had been the stumbling block all along, it was Mugabe who persuaded delegates to accede to the demands of the Ian Smith government and the British government at Lancaster House that redistribution of land would only commence after the first ten years and on a willing buyer willing seller basis. In my own analysis there is nothing thathighlights the ideological impoverishment of Mugabe than these concessions. People went to war primarily for land and the one thing you leave the negotiation table without is land. Dignity for Africans can only be brought by an unconditional restoration of land to Africans and any ideology that fails to assert strongly African dignity is in itself a sell-out ideology and totally misplaced in Africa.
In the late nineties the land question became emotive and out of control, unsanctioned and unilateral invasions on white farms erupted across the country due to people’s discontent of the government‘s handling of the issue, it is true that Mugabe had no interest in redistributing land until it became politically convenient for him. He used the land reform as a major campaign propaganda to rally his support and attack the Western powers who by then were refusing to continue with funding his government because of the opulent,extravagant spending and unaccountability of his administration. I do not support Western powers’ approach to Africa but also cannot support Mugabe’s despotic misrule of our beautiful country, it must never appear as though one has to make a choice between the two devils. Africa has the capacity to breed visionary leaders who have the consciousness to place Africa first selflessly, we must be vigilant.
The conundrum that Zimbabwe finds herself is the queer post-colonial jeopardy of (1) an oppressive black state and (2) a thriving and cunning global Capital. The fall of global leftist politics have created a serious vacuum which has crippled the capacity of post colonial Africa to deal with this jeopardy. This reality exposes the ordinary mass to emergent black orligachies with, to their disposal, state apparatus to anhillate any dessent or opposition ruthlessly without consideration.
Zimbabwe has to proceed with the actualisation of the ideals of the revolution without Zanu Pf because the party was hijacked by a thug who masquerade as a saint and a revolutionary, a power mongering individual who has meted violence to any dissenting view, Zimbabwe needs a builder, a progressive unifier, a leader who emulates the peaceful nature of Zimbabweans and not take advantage of it. We have to hold high the touch of light that represents our true nature but in order for us to reclaim our destiny it might be that we have to go back to the trenches and the bush because we all know that there is no ballot that would deliver the true aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe as long as Zanu Pf is still in government. We have to prepare ourselves physically and psychologically to do whatever is necessary to defend our destiny, the struggle continues!
Long Live Zimbabwe, Long Live Africa
By Wadzanai Mazhetese