MDC manifesto should neutralise Zanu PF
By Courage Shumba
Whilst the MDC continues to play the political prodigal squandering the opportunity for radical change by remaining on the periphery of the main liberation argument it becomes difficult to stop the Zanu PF propaganda machinery from abusing the electorate and national institutions in the name of the liberation struggle.
There is a somewhat irritation caused by the failure of the MDC to deliver a manifesto that neutralises the Zanu PF fable that only through itself can Zimbabwe truly be emancipated from the tentacles of colonial political and economic patronage.
It appears that the MDC lacks the courage to state openly and without ambiguity that the issues of indigenisation, the empowerment of the majority black people, the sovereignty of Zimbabwe and the total emancipation of the Zimbabwean black are issues beyond the control and radar of western influence and opinion.
By refusing to solidly identify with the radical agenda of the liberation struggle the M.D.C positions itself in the most awkward and vulnerable of postures leaving Zanu PF to assume centre stage in campaigning on the basis of being the champions in orchestrating programmes that challenge directly the root causes of poverty in Africa, Zimbabwe in our case, the inequalities and legacy of colonial, racist and supremacist settler ideology.
An antagonistic attitude against the liberation of black Africans from being kitchen boys, teachers, police officers and clerks to being self-dependent florists and horticulturists creates and allows the argument that we are ignorant sell outs to prevail. Indeed we must be up in arms advancing our case for a Zimbabwe in which the owners of industry and bourgeoisie are men and women of our own colour after so many years of settler injustice. We must be proud to fight for the limelight when it comes to promoting the economic ideals of the liberation struggle in as much as we spearhead the case for democratic governance and human rights.
The land reform programme was at one point so demonised that even to support it in principle became difficult even if it was as clear as a blue sky that there were barking inequalities about how white farmers controlled vast tracts of land whilst the blacks remained where they had been forced to under draconian settler legislation such as the Land Appropriation Act. Others even argued that the black majority had no experience in farming operations and so they should leave the whole exercise to their white counterparts.
What was incredible about this argument was that the African indigenous had been moved to a level of so much despair, hopelessness and self-hatred that he had accepted to connive with the residue of the principles of colonialism so much he had begun to fight against himself running away from opportunities in the name of incompetence for a trade he was notoriously and mischievously blocked from through colonial racial policy. Melancholically the African indigenous had been mentally poisoned to the extent he begun to accept and see the sense behind his own oppression.
Even then we are yet to recover from the deep seated effects of colonial psychology and its devastation. Many of us want us to be the custodians of White Africa a hunting ground, exploration zone and dump site for the western world. Many of us still think the white man is superior and that from him we must take orders. Colonialism was a witchcraft that robbed us of our self-worth and identity and the panacea rests nowhere else except in reclaiming our resources for our own profit and gain by any means we can.
Truly the land issue could not have been solved through a normal court with a caucus of rich white untouchables who were rightly convinced and had connived that no other trade in the world could give them the riches and wealth farming offered them. Truthfully, why would anybody for that matter sell a farm ?Who in his right mind would sell a farm merely to satisfy some gestures of racial equality at the cost of leaving such a priceless possession to his own future generation.
That such a political and emotive issue would be solved through a court was reckless undermining of the sacrifices of the fallen heroes. Already the concession to let the farmers consolidate their grip from 1980 to 1990 had allowed them to mutate into a political formation that was capable of all manner of evil if they had a reason for wanting to arm twist politicians and dictate events in the country.
And they often did. They controlled the wheat which made bread, the meat which made dinner, the maize which made sadza, the sugar which made breakfast, the timber which made roofs, paper, books, the oranges which made juice, the apples, the milk you name it. In short they had all our dinner tables in their hands whilst we still ran amok pursuing the legacy of pen pushing as teachers and clerks itself the mould and scope and limit of bottleneck education itself a policy of colonial Rhodesia.
In short it is unwise for the MDC to sing the chorus of human rights in the context of freedom of speech and assembly only as if it does not care about the inequality caused by settler policy when it is common knowledge that these settlers deliberately frog marched Africans from rich fertile soils to become squatters in their own country and further strangled them through racist laws that made them less human than their white counter-parts. Through such policy a lot of indigenous people were squeezed out of the race for equal opportunity and that cannot be allowed to go on let alone stand.
It is important for the M.D.C to understand this argument that as movement that seeks to finish the execution of the liberation agenda its chorus must go beyond simplistic demands for Mugabe to go without detail and definition of the presence of continuity processes to accomplish the struggle in which Mugabe should have contributed through transparent and credible land reform .He failed. His reign of course has been a messy ridicule of the same people he was supposed to liberate.
Mugabe’s ridicule of the people who trusted him to deliver change in a post-colonial Zimbabwe is the reason why the M.D.C must adopt the language and behaviour of a revolutionary party that has the temerity to wrestle this agenda from Zanu PF and re-deliver the promise of the liberation struggle along with more practical economic benefits such as farms and preferential treatment over foreign investment. In some sense that is what gives the 51%indeginasation legislation sense yet of course we are aware that those who authored it did not have the majority of us in mind.
The land reform which resulted from the chaotic land grabbing spree weakened the incontestability of the cause for a just system of land ownership. I have, personally, nothing against the invasions but I am completely opposed to the idea that what was a genuine need for redress of colonial imbalances was hijacked to feed a bloated and well-connected political elite, its children, cousins and friends without minute justice to the many other Zimbabweans who remain landless and stark where they were forced to live through land dispossession in colonial times in the 1930’s.
By absconding the argument for ownership reform that is radical and robust the MDC can now only watch the aftermath of a mayhem that has created further inequalities now between top politicians and the common man. It is a disaster. Zimbabwe is now faced with shameless daylight robbers who steal and loot in the name of the liberation struggle except that this group robs to feed just its small circle. Someone has to stop them in their tracks. Ahoy!
What we have now in this Animal Farm scenario is the pigs now living in the main house and walking on two legs. We are for all purposes back in Rhodesia faced with an elite Rhodesian mafia to whom Zimbabwe is a shadow and figment of playful minds which will never happen in a 1000 years. We are back to Ian Smith.
We are back to U.D.I seeing how Zimbabwe flees the commonwealth, blocks foreign election observers, and ignores the reports and findings of United Nations and African union on Zimbabwe. Typical U.D.I how the regime ignores the courts and tribunals of regional blocs to which it has obligations as a member. Mugabe, whilst flying the Zimbabwean national flag, has remained in Rhodesia, a Rhodesian, a settler whose political conduct has undermined the economic emancipation and democratic development of the indigenous Zimbabwean.
Mugabe who was supposed to the custodian and strongman of creating a legacy of economic freedom has thrown it all away to enrich his few friends and puppets around him. If there was a chance of a vibrant political movement that is not choked and paralyzed by vindictive ex Rhodesians, a party that believes that indeed the land reform cannot be reversed but can surely and definitely be audited for the purposes of fair play.
If only the party could rightly insist that the duty to pay for compensation of white farmers rests with Britain as agreed at Lancaster, if only we had a party that had the bravado to realise that the national find at Marange is for every household to shine, if only we could have three or four Lovemore Madhuku’s men guided by nothing else beyond liberation of their kind our country would be free within a few months.
We need people that are strong and resolute. We need people who are aware that we cannot forge fragile friendships with the West before we address the wrongs they committed against us in years past. We need people that are able to realise that farms and mines should be utilised to produce an economic powerhouse that is strong and self-sufficient, sanctions or no sanctions. We need leadership that is able to appreciate the causes and sacrifice of the liberation struggle and pursue those ideals against any resentment and as an equal among other nations with a right to determine its own destination.
From Zanu PF we have seen corruption, violence, kidnappings, torture, mismanagement, murder and a raft of other social and political wickedness we associate with tyrannical despotic regimes. Zanu PF has remained in the bush ambushing and stealing from the people it had a duty to serve and protect. Mugabe allowed the people around him to become corrupt and amass staggering wealth through corruption.
The M.D.C has remained tied down to the ugly image of being a white led but black headed movement with no control over its policy. The failure of the M.D.C to articulate clearly the past injustices and the way forward as of today has rubbed in the impression that this party is only a cowboy assembly of faces with no soul. The M.D.C has a duty to come out and speak clearly that Zanu PF has no veteran status when it comes to the unfinished business of the liberation struggle.
The M.D.C has to say it loud that Zanu PF has sold out and that itself, if it does, as a party embraces the liberation agenda beyond the right to move without a pass, the right to drink clear beer, walk around about in Harare Botanical Gardens, take your wife with you to Harare, and marry a white woman if you want without breaking the law..
MDC must enter and fight for this country conscious of the fact that by absconding the sensitive political ground on economic rights they leave Zanu PF to run unchecked manipulating any gullible they find along the way. If the M.D.C fails to deliver this time because it has refused to steal the nationalist argument from Zanu PF sell outs and criminals it will not be forgiven and other alternatives may have to be found to man the continuing struggle for the liberation of Zimbabwe.
We want our own free Zimbabwe and the demand for that must always awaken us to the variety of roots through which such a dream can be achieved.
Let’s keep fighting. Together we can.
Courage Shumba is a former Student Leader and currently a human rights activist