By Rawlings Magede
They killed him in cold blood, yes comrade Thomas Sankara. His only crime was that of being passionate about his own country, Burkina Faso- the land of upright people. His only crime committed to his murderers was his ideas for self-sufficiency among the Burkinabes.
His close compatriot Blaise Compaore, with the aid and support of foreign powers betrayed him in 1987 and murdered him quietly and quickly buried him in a shallow grave. They killed him for his own ideas. Yes ideas that were going to transform Burkina Faso.
His famous declaration “Our Homeland or death, we will win” fostered a culture of self-belief in the Burkinabe’s and still does today to the rest of us Africans.
During the October 2014 uprisings in Burkina Faso, when the populace felt short-changed by government’s failure to actualise what Sankara had promised them 27 years back, some Burkinabes’ thoughts turned to slain leader Thomas Sankara for inspiration. His belief that, while revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas proved to be true.
The man who overthrew Sankara, Blaise Compaore, had failed to actualise the vision of Sankara. All the 27 years that had gone by Burkinabes, were being short changed in their pursuit of what they believed in.
Many of the protesters esteemed deeply the vision of Sankara, who had only reigned for a mere 4 years, which seemed to have impacted their livelihood in a tremendous way. While some would argue that Sankara ascended to presidency by means of a coup, what remains true is that he had undying affection and commitment for his country.
Although there is less poverty now than back then, a growing number of Burkinabés had, in recent years, started to feel that Sankara’s nationalisation policies may have made the perpetually arid nation a more prosperous and self-reliant place than it is today.
According to one Burkinabe,” Ishmael Kaboré, a 47-year-old lawyer in Ouagadougou, “At first, people felt the name Burkina Faso was odd, awkward and far from the modern and foreign names other countries were bearing in Africa. “But they realised after his death that Sankara wanted to give us a unique and special identity that tells our history and depicts our character”
Sankara was a determined pan-Africanist, whose foreign policies were largely centred on anti-imperialism. His government spurned foreign aid and tried to stamp out the influence of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in the country by adopting debt reduction policies and nationalising all land and mineral wealth.
Self-sufficiency and land reform policies were designed to fight famine, a nationwide literacy campaign was launched, and families were ordered to have their children vaccinated.
What a rich history for a real Pan-Africanist whose love and commitment to his country was unparalleled. In this part of the world of ours called Zimbabwe, we have well decorated pseudo Pan-Africanists who masquerade today as champions of black empowerment that has however turned to only benefit only those close to the corridors of power. What a pity!
Long live comrade Sankara! Long live the Land of Upright man! Long live Burkina Faso!
When Politicians become the watchdog over Media
I have been completely appalled by a particular daily newspaper that is running the hash tag”ZIM @35 SO FAR SO GOOD” both in their daily and weekly publications.
What baffles my intellect is that whoever ordered that message to run every day might have a preconceived motive bent on selling a perished and stale message that keeps bouncing against a reality check on a daily basis that is representative of the pressures and sufferings that ordinary people are going through every day.
The idea is meant to take the people to a fool’s paradise where everything is “nice and smooth”. But nay, all is not well.
In that light, the said newspaper is both unique and puzzling in its messaging, the more so when measured against what is representative on the ground. Zimbabweans are known to boast of their vaunted literacy and what is unquestionable is their capacity to discern points of betrayal in the message.
Surely such a message cannot make for badges of honour!
I hate arguments that invoke a false sense of patriotism all in order to wash ugly sins and atrocities done by the ZANU PF regime since independence. History on one end has very tough questions for people who think that patriotism means impoverishing and literally collapsing the economy and blame it on Western sanctions. Patriotism doesn’t mean not accounting for diamonds revenue and blaming it on Western embargo.
35 and still going down!
I have turned down numerous opportunities extended to me by several comrades to write on Zimbabwe’s independence. While I feel a bit sad that I let my fellow comrades down, I however feel vindicated that events that have been unfolding in Zimbabwe are somehow self-explanatory on what our much cherished independence has brought. Of course my analysis is representative of what I hold dear, my beliefs on what has gotten us to where we are.
While numerous reasons have been suggested on why Zimbabwe’s economy collapsed, what remains apparent is that today all these suggestions have one convergence point. Zimbabwe’s economy has collapsed.
Independence Day comes and passes without even invoking feelings of nationalism or patriotism. The videos that our failed broadcaster usually broadcast in the run up to independence day of great revolutionaries like Joshua Nkomo, Herbert Chitepo outlining what they envisaged a new Zimbabwe should bring, are representative of the greatest betrayal of what they stood for.
These videos remind Zimbabweans how the ZANU PF government has grossly failed to make such visions alive.
What we have today after 35 years of the so called independence is a regime that cannot even stamp out corruption let alone pay its own civil servants. A regime that has rendered millions jobless due to implementation of insane economic policies.
Surely, a country that cannot account for its economic actions right across the whole gamut of its endeavours! Where everything is left to conjecture. A country that cannot audit and evaluate itself!
Of Denialists and Bootlickers…
While the going gets tougher every day for the ordinary citizen, the government on one hand is seized with the ostensible responsibility of igniting fast dashing hopes from its citizens, by hook or crook.
It is really disgusting that in this abyss of economic turmoil and mess, there are still individuals within the government who are busy selling green lies to the citizenry about how the government has worked tirelessly to address the state of the economy.
What remains true is that the economy is in a terrible bad state and no amount of lectures would dissolve that fact. With each passing day for the unemployed graduates, the aorta of hope that was still there continues to fade away with governments’ regular pronouncements of empty “mega deals” that they think will herald economic revival.
[email protected] is not so far so good as some people would want us to believe. Actually, independence has become a detested day especially by people like me as it represents great betrayal by the ZANU PF government.
They have drifted greatly from the populist socialistic ideology that they heralded soon after independence. At the moment, capitalist reigns supreme in our country, with those close to the powers that be, benefitting at the expense of the whole population.
Rawlings Magede is a writer based in Nkayi, Matebeleland North Province email [email protected]