By Maynard Manyowa
The revolution began with the forefathers of the land we now call Zimbabwe vowing that their bones would with assurance rise several years beyond their demise, to deliver unpalatable defeat to white settlers, and bring back luxuries of freedom that native black Zimbabweans had enjoyed many years preceding ruthless colonialism.
On April 18, 1980, true to the vow of Nehanda and Chaminuka, the Zimbabwean flag was raised for the first time, amid waves of unrepentant euphoria. The revolution had delivered on its promise, to bring freedom, human dignity, and majority rule.
The nation of Zimbabwe as promised was won back, and founded on sacrosanct values of equality, order, parliamentary democracy and rule of law.
After several attempts to depose a protracted racist system, the majority black, and white citizens of the new nation finally stood on heaven’s gates, as the proverbial paradise was born.
However, several years of inequality, discrimination and white privilege doomed the struggle to continue beyond the defeat of colonial masters, foreign systems, and racial segregation. The perpetuation of black exploitation for over a century created a lopsided playing field that needed redress.
It was collective fact in 1980 that the government would need to calibrate the unequal distribution of wealth and establish an atmosphere of equality and equal opportunity.
If this was not done, then the revolution would in very little time be reduced to no more than a farce, a violent attempt to allow black people the uninterrupted rights to walk in Central Business Districts and the affluent neighborhoods that surround them.
The demonised themes of resettlement, indigenisation, empowerment, and sovereignty were noble, necessary and unavoidable tenants that had to be pursued at one point or another.
Even Zimbabwe’s opposition movements, in their entirety agree that the nation needed a ‘second liberation’ after Independence Day.
Land redistribution, Indigenisation, and redistribution of wealth were by all accounts necessary pursuits for our liberation crusade. When a deliverance struggle is nothing beyond rose-tainted glass, it creates an ugly legacy of crime, poverty, self-hate and anathemas in wealth distribution, as seen in South Africa.
The current disillusionment among vast majorities of South Africa’s black population is the most apt epitome of a revolution discontinued. A freedom fight that has delivered temporary respite alone to its less fortunate dark coloured populaces. One that has returned freedom, but not returned the ‘wealth’ to its owners.
The Zanu PF administration admirably has attempted to engage in the liberation movement that must follow the attainment of simple freedom.
However, it must be indicated with great sadness and grief that, consistent with all available evidence, it has failed to realise that objective outstandingly.
In actual deplorable fact, the administration has taken up the role of its colonial predecessor. The role of dominant oppressor, chief denier, and principal monster.
Firstly, the government made the cardinal mistake of pushing the race agenda too far, so far as to become racist themselves. Racism is a global evil, in any form or matter, yet the government in Zimbabwe often makes unwise decisions based on colour.
Like the incumbent government, that segregated and exploited Zimbabweans based on the colour of their skin, the current one over the last 2 decades has done exactly the same. Reverse racism is just as bad as racism, and it has cost us dearly.
Secondly, the revolution that delivered freedom has only succeeded in replacing its predecessor’s system of oppression, by another.
Zimbabwe has one of the most authoritarian and stringent laws that suppress free speech, freedom of association, rights to sex, worship, and many other human dignities.
POSA, AIPA, Insult laws, and many others are collectively repressive laws smuggled into our constitution for reasons to maintain a hard line vice grip on civil society.
Thirdly, a revolution that betrays its objectives, is much better than a revolution that eats its own offspring. Amazingly, the revolution in Zimbabwe has done both.
Not only have they failed to deliver the objectives, and gone against the values that inspired the liberation movement, but, as I pen this, the party is embroiled in never ending soap opera like scandals that have seen unwarranted and incoherent expulsions, ruthless yet calculated suspensions, unsubstantiated yet horrific exterminations, mindboggling disorder, and shameless bare knuckle brawling.
Several of the party’s members have died in very suspicious circumstances, amid rumour that they had been ‘taken out’. Unexplainable fires, accidents, and unfortunate circumstances have all followed the residences of those that the revolution had deemed ‘enemies of the people’.
Opposition supporters have been killed, and their wives raped. Consequently, the citizens who look to the government for protection are literally scared to death of the party.
The now ex-Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru, an immense figure in Zimbabwe’s independence struggle, the wife of the first black commander of the Zimbabwe Defense forces who himself met violent death in a mysterious fire with strong indications of arson and murder has been rightly but unceremoniously kicked out of government for plotting to kill the president
A very serious accusation that the Information Minister Jonathan Moyo ominously dismissed as ‘political banter’.
That a first lady can accuse a sitting Vice President of treason, and that the accusation ultimately leads to her warranted expulsion based on this assertion is right to some degree. But it is an apt demonstration of the confusion vice-gripping the party, that almost a year later, not a shred of evidence has been produced to support that accusation.
And that the ‘weevil’ accused of the most despicable capital crime in the land walks free today speaks volume of the circus that has become Jongwe House.
Fourthly, and probably more significantly. The majority of the Zimbabwean people are starving, and faced with unrelenting lack. If you take a trip down the rural areas you will meet rude poverty of biblical proportions.
If you visit the high density settlements of the country, you will be confronted with sickening sights of famishing people who have zero access to clean water, humane sanitation, and healthcare.
To use the simplest dictions, the people of Zimbabwe are hungry, sick, supressed, and dying.
The resettlement program that was meant to resettle poor and impoverished black people from the slums of unforgiving reserves into the paradise of productive commercial farm lands has in actuality only resettled poverty, removing it from the rural areas, and placing it in the fertile farmlands and the streets of Harare.
The indigenisation program has driven away all potential investors, in a country so desperate for foreign direct investments to resuscitate its dead economy.
The initiative has reinforced the notion that ours is a cruel racist country that would rather see its citizens wallow in abject poverty while sitting on gold mines, than allow skilled foreign help to bring prosperity to the masses.
The empowerment rhetoric which smacks more of fantasy than anything else has not created entrepreneurs as we were promised. Instead, the initiative has created enterprising destitute vendors who brave blazing sun selling all and sundry in the streets of Harare.
The revolution has indeed lost its way, considerably. Or perhaps it lost its way ages ago. From the early 80’s Zanu PF top dogs have become self-made billionaires by the hand of corruption.
Rigorous infighting, public undressing(s), humiliations, mind games, and ignorant arrogance have become the defining hinge pin, by which the movement defines itself by. Corruption, theft, violence, authoritarianism and duplicity have become the constants of the revolution.
Zanu PF, the ‘once upon a time’ embodiment of African renaissance, has become the paragon of heartbreak, circus, and monumental pettiness. The personification of corruption, racism, homophobia, greed, grand theft, and as Ken Yamamoto put it, tsotsi-ocracy.
As one scholar once put it, ‘the revolution, like Satan devours its own offspring’.
Our revolution has condemned us to poverty, our revolution now oppresses us with exceedingly unpleasant cruelty and vehemence, and it has grassed its own people, and now demolishes its own.
35 years after independence, Zimbabwe regrettably threatens to become the greatest tragedy since Weimer Germany.
The nation has traversed the line from bread basket, to basket case, from model state to banana republic. The euphoria that gripped millions on Independence Day in 1980 has been replaced by frantic incessant despair.
As things stand, ‘The Revolution’ is lifeless, betrayed, trampled, over and done.
The revolution lies crumbled, destroyed, and deathly at the soles of our feet, right next to our dying bodies, dead by its hand.
Enough said, This Is Africa!
Maynard Manyowa is a political & social analyst. You can reach him for feedback via his website www.maynardmanyowa.com, on Twitter – @iAmKudaMaynard or by liking his FB page – Maynard Kudakwashe Manyowa