A Nation in Pain – Restating the case against an oppressive black state: Zimbabwe

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‘Beware of assuming the sterile attitude of a spectator, for life is not a spectacle…’- Aime Cesaire

I have argued quite recently that Zimbabwe is probably the saddest post-liberation case in Africa, a peacetime country that has allowed tyranny to stand unchallenged for so long, with so many victims, is almost unbelievable. The arrest of Pastor Evan Mawarire has directly prompted me to reflect on my own contribution or lack thereof, to the broader struggles of my people. Instructed strongly by the words of Aime Cesaire, “beware of assuming the sterile attitude of a spectator, for life is not a spectacle…”and inspired by the consistency of many individuals in their efforts to challenge the regime, I choose to join the likes of Pastor Evan and many more.

On Saturday 23 September, Pastor Evan went around the streets of Harare in an attempt to expose the crisis in the capital marked by the return of petrol ques and food shortages in grocery stores. The video of which led to his eventual arrest. I do not wish to narrate the incident rather attempt to demonstrate from this very incident the extent to which the regime is oppressive and undemocratic.

The post-colonial milieu has been marked with an increasing and unwarranted excessive use of violence as a form of repression against citizens. It appears strongly that the liberator grossly misunderstood the notion of ‘liberation’. This is quite evident from the elementary years of our independence through acts such as the Gukurahundi and the suppression of early opposition formation, ZUM of the former liberation leader Cde Edgar Tekere.

I state these incidents briefly to prove that ZANU PF has never led a non-violent government but also to unsettle deliberately many who might underestimate the extent to which the regime is prepared to go, the vulnerability in which Pastor Evan was exposed to every second he was in the hands of this callous regime.

One of the key tenets of the liberation struggles was the universal accrual of such basic human rights for the native, freedom of speech and of opinion, freedom of association and movement. This was the struggle at its most basic form. It is unimaginable how Zimbabweans have lived for so long after the collapse of the colonial project 37 years ago without these rights. We have freedom of speech, to speak on anything except against the regime. Such a sharp contradiction is disappointing at the least but instructive at best, it calls urgently for a candid re-engagement with the self in the most uncomfortable of ways. To understand that we have to do exactly, that which our forebears did when they had uncomfortable conversations with themselves about the Ian Smith regime. This is despite the fact that one ought to understand that this is not the Ian Smith regime and with it, the ZANU PF brings forth completely new dynamics with the potentiality of proving to be far more complex scenario than it was 50 years ago.

This last statement brings me to the most problematic dynamic, which is the ‘oppressive black state in the post-colony and defining the rules of engagement’. It is easy to say that ‘confronting’ the regime is the only answer and quite rightly it must be the answer but it must never be easy. The experience of Africa after independence has taught us that native regimes have an even greater propensity for violence against their own people. Therefore, this question ought to be approached carefully and more so strategically.

I want then to advance only two submissions in as far as the above conundrum is concerned. Firstly, that tyranny must always be confronted- I prescribe confrontation with restrictions, it must not be presumed as a prescription for violence. The State has inherent capacity to respond to violence thus the call to violent insurrection and its efficacy is quite questionable. However, the nature of the confrontation must always be within a controlled and coordinated space that would allow for a sustained program. I propose the full exploitation of the Right to Protest peacefully, as espoused by the Constitution and provisions in various international treaties such as Articles 18 to 22 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Secondly and most importantly would be ‘civic organisation’, it is unimaginable how any action against the State can be sustained without a high-level grassroots organisation. Many political formations that dominate the opposition in Zimbabwe continue to lose touch with the masses and fail to derive direct mandate from them. The membership is always neglected and undermined thus the people feel distanced from their organisation. The effect of which becomes that the masses fail to take ownership of the political programs of the organisation. The ability to organise is the key element of any political or civic program, and having said this, it is fair to say Pastor Evan has succeeded albeit unconventionally to  and agitate modern day Zimbabwe.

What Zimbabweans need to understand is that the forces of change can no longer afford to continue to pull in different directions. We must agree on a minimum program, which I assume would be to dislodge the oppressive regime and the pursuance of a National Democratic Revolution. To insinuate that there exists no contradictions in the fabric of our society would be a fallacy, however these contradictions are far from being antagonistic. The notion of Unity and Struggle as explained by Amilcar Cabral must begin to inspire more of us if we are to rebuild our Nation State.

Zimbabwe is a nation in pain and for so long, time has come for its rebirth. The burden remains upon all of its citizens to move it out of this cesspit and unleash the true potential of its people.The Struggle Continues!

 

By Wadzanai Mazhetese

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Devil on the cross: Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s arch nemesis.

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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

Twitter: @meet_Wadza 

http://www.ForgetMeNotAfrica.wordpress.com 

 

Q- WHO IS AN AFRICAN ?

This question is indesolubly connected with what it is that constitutes the future and destiny of a people whom for a long time and even in this time are still bieng oppressed , manipulated and denigrated the global economic system and status quo works against the seed of our future , thus the challenge arises to clearly define ourselves as individuals in our respected communities , as tribes , as nations and as a continent . That is why it feels imperative to begin by asking you – WHO IS AN AFRICAN ?

How Africa could feed the world

Global Public Square

By Olusegun Obasanjo, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Olusegun Obasanjo is a former president of Nigeria and a member of the Africa Progress Panel, chaired by Kofi Annan. The views expressed are the author’s own.

Images of starving children, epitomised in news coverage from Ethiopia in the 1980s, have given Africa a reputation for famine that does an injustice to the continent’s potential.

It’s true that a recent report by three U.N. agencies said nearly 239 million in Africa are hungry, a figure some 20 million higher than four years ago. And recent crises in the Horn of Africa and Sahel certainly highlight the desperate uncertainties of food supply for millions – malnutrition still cuts deep scars into progress on health and education.

But the Africa Progress Panel and many others believe that Africa has the potential not only to feed itself, but also to become a…

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Africa needs you , today

This bieng the first of many to come it would rather be courteous for me peharps to start by introducing myself , so i hope this interview with myself would give more insight into knowing who i am and what i hope to archive with this blog , thank you
Q- YOUR NAME IS WADZANAI MAZHETESE ?
A; correct
Q-WHERE ARE YOU FROM ?
A; i was born in Gweru ,Zimbabwe but i come from Zaka in Masvingo
Q-EXPLAIN PLEASE?
A; you see that question for most Africans like myself where you come from does not particularly mean where you grew up ,see we grew up in the city but our roots are in the rural areas ,that is where our ancestoral roots can be traced back to.
Q-WHICH PLACE WOULD YOU LIKE TO IDENTIFY YOURSELF WITH?
A;Zaka would be appropriate because it can also easily identify itself with me too
Q-I GUESS THAT MEANS YOU ARE A TRADITIONALIST
A; what do you mean ?
Q-DO YOU BELIEVE IN AFRICAN TRADITION AS A RELIGION?
A; i don’t think any of what i ve said depicts me as a traditionalist yet i am not denying that as well.My religious orientation is grossly distorted ,i find myself in this dilema where christianity is most appealing and easily acceptable , and African tradition has everything to do with me , my identity and my history a part of me that can’t easily be erased ….
Q- OKAY , WHY DID YOU START THIS BLOG?
A;i grew up singing praise and worship songs to the liberation movements in this case it was the ZANU-PF , i remember singing one song in particular wich went more like this “simudza gumbo ,harizi rako , ndere musangano ….” which means lift your leg up , it is not your leg ,it is for the party ,this directly meant that the party was bigger than the people. Such songs made me wonder everytime my father would come home every other day empty handed and there is no food on the table , i could not understand how it was possible for a liberated nation to watch its own people starve and at times even die.This was the early nighteen ninties and to find myself some twenty years later in a foregn nation with yet another liberation movement trying to starve its own people to death makes me frankly terrified. Tell me if this does not compel you to take a stand ?
Q-SO YOU SAY LIBERATION MOVEMENTS DESTROY PEOPLE ‘S LIVES?
A;No , not at all , i am saying power does , remember the song we used to sing , it was us giving too much power to individuals which i see happening again here in South Africa.I read that “power leads to corruption and absolute power leads to absolute corruption ”
Q- SO WHY DID YOU START THIS BLOG?
A; Africa is a place where knowledge is not easily availlable,thanks to technology anyone can share their minds uncensored . The greatest assert we can give our people is information (knowledge) , to help them make informed decisions.i believe at the end of the day it is our collective informed decision that will count. This is why i have created this blog , and if we could just take a moment to listen to one another we could probably find ourselves much better than we could imagine.
Q-ARE YOU AN EDUCATED PERSON?
A; when does one become an educated person , i am a student of LAW
Q-WHO DO YOU TARGET WITH THIS BLOG?
A; i am targeting the youth of the world ,even the old .It is the youth that can change by bieng the leaders of tomorrow i believe they are crucial to our future .Also those in power , with the hope that they will know how the person on the ground really feels and not misconstrue criticism as an attempt to decampaign anyone .
Q- HOW DO YOU INTEND TO ARCHIVE YOUR GOALS ?
A; We will be brutally honest , on this blog we will call a spade a spade , however if you intend to insult anyone you are not invited , i am sorry we welcome only developemental criticism.To archive the desired effect we need not reduce ourselves to cheap politicians because we are not , we are not politicians for one , we are citizens of this continent ,when they go to war, we become refugees , when they steal from state caufers it is us who get hungry , so i beg you to take a moment and take us seriously
Q-WHO ARE AFRICANS ?
A; today that question is interesting , but for me Africans are not defined by colour ,race or creed, anyone who today has been legally accepted as an Africa is , whether you are here or in the diaspora .But i would like to make this our first point of discussion . thank you