The great betrayal of Zimbabwe
We cannot allow ZANU (PF) to continue the lie, that they only are the rightful custodians and protectors of the ideals and objectives of the liberation struggle.
I have a brilliant idea! I am going to make a movie titled; “The Great Betrayal”. In this movie, an oppressed people decide to go to war with the oppressor. Many people take the risk of leaving the country to go and get trained to fight the oppressor. During the terrible war that follows, thousands go into the battle field, into direct combat with the enemy and suffer great loss. Others administer the war effort from afar while some of them go and become educated overseas. Those that do not join the war remain behind at home, but do all they can and risk their lives to assist those executing the war in the battle field. Many die during that war, others get maimed for life while some, through sheer providence, survive.
In this movie, at the end of the war, those that were being educated during the war return become the new rulers, while those that actually fought in the war, are mostly sidelined and left broken to fend for themselves. The families that remained behind and assisted in the execution of the war are all but forgotten.
The new rulers then insist that, they are the only ones entitled to political power and effectively take over the land and the assets of the country. They also persist that only “they” are the heroes of the war, and will not respect (or salute) anyone else who did not “participate” in the war against the oppressor. They plunder the resources of the country; millions leave in disgust while most tolerate the whims of their new rulers. However, at the end of my movie, the people rise up but only after thirty three years of lies and oppression by the war “heroes” and democracy is restored. The millions, who had the country return, apply their experience and the country becomes the most advanced economies in Africa.
A happy ending I guess, but sadly, this is not a movie nor is it fiction. This is the state of affairs in a country called Zimbabwe, my motherland. A country that the likes of the late Herbert Chitepo sacrificed for and gave up all they had going, in order to help create. He truly believed, as Bob Markey sang, that every man has got the right to decide his own destiny. Unfortunately he paid the ultimate price for this belief. A country where the late Josiah Tongogara and many others dreamt that one day, they would return to, and would see little black boys and little white boys playing together., without the color of their skin having anything to do with whom and what they may become They imagined a country where all would have equal opportunity to pursue their dreams. They must have seen in their imagination, a new society where only talent and hard work would become the only decisive factors in how far all of its citizens can go. They saw a country full of potential, whose vast land is so fertile and pregnant with mineral resources; a country, whose fruits are shared fairly amongst all who labor in it, black and white.
Unfortunately this grand dream has been betrayed. It has been betrayed by ZANU (PF) whose greed and selfishness have resulted in the suppression of all potentials and the stifling of public debate and progressive voices of reason. Their actions have effectively rubbished the sacrifice of blood and sweat of many Zimbabweans who fought in the war. They have claimed the unchallengeable right to power and the benefits thereof at the expense of the ideals and aspirations of our true heroes.
You see, if by any chance Zimbabwe and its resources were being managed efficiently and in the interest of all, in line with the objectives of the founders of the liberation struggle, it would be unnecessary to amplify some of these truths because; it would be pointless and unprofitable to do so. But the mere fact that the incumbents have failed to execute this responsibility, compels us to closely re-examine our history.
My conclusion is that, unfortunately, the realization of this grand vision of a new Zimbabwe will not be possible if we continue on the path that we are now. This country will not lift itself out of the difficulties that it has, as long a small group of men and women hold onto power and continue to usurp a responsibility which they have clearly failed to fulfill. It is time for a change.
We cannot endorse entitlement to power, nor can we allow a unitary state with centralized power that only acts in the economic interests of the few to continue. If we have learnt our lesson from the recent past, we cannot afford to give too much political power and discretion to one man or a few, who could then use it to dictate to us what we can and cannot become.
More important, we cannot allow ZANU (PF) to continue the lie, that they are the only rightful custodians and protectors of the ideals and objectives of the liberation struggle when their behavior and actions in the last thirty two years have shown us otherwise and actually sabotaged the honorable intentions of the founders of ZANU.
In my opinion, all Zimbabweans contributed to the war effort somehow and somewhere and they too, must enjoy the honor and the responsibility it places upon them to work towards fulfillment its ideals. This responsibility does not belong to one individual or a select group, but to all of us.
I want to believe that we are truly at the cusp of meaningful change, where we can begin to do those things that will allow us to achieve this dream. I trust that my happy ending in the “imagined” movie above, will come to pass, as millions upon millions of us realize that we have been unwilling accomplices in this great betrayal.
Our country needs to fundamentally shift direction. It needs a new value system, new thinking and new authentic leaders. We must see the beginning of a new political dispensation based on the freedoms that our heroes imagined. A dispensation based on liberty, peace and prosperity for all. Zimbabwe belongs to all who were born in it, black and white. Only then, can history judge us and truly say that, this generation of Zimbabweans did the necessary and did not betray the ideals of those who gave up so much for so little.
The question is; what are YOU doing to make this dream a reality?
Vince Musewe is an independent economist in Harare and you may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org