Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye: Independence – A wedding without a bride
.... As ED and his cronies eat the tree of independence
Today is independence day, that hallowed Uhuru day when we commemorate the gallantry of the sons and daughters of this land some of whom lost life and limb so that the whims and aspirations of future generations could walk again.
Our independence did not come cheap and some of our gallant sons and daughters paid the ultimate price.
We remember them. We salute them.
However, Al Jazeera’s Gold Mafia documentary has revealed that only a selected few are enjoying the fruits of our national independence. ED, his cronies and relatives are truly enjoying life— kudya rifa renyika —while the rest of us are wallowing in unmitigated poverty.
This year’s independence celebrations, often a lavish affair are being held in the Mt Darwin area near the border with Mozambique. The area bore the brunt of the liberation struggle. When we went there with the late Dr Tsvangirai in 2013, we heard harrowing tales of poverty and underdevelopment.
Today, celebratory planes will fly over Mt Darwin’s desolate landscape. A lavish ceremony will be held while the Gold Mafia chefs will enjoy sumptuous meals, with the weather-beaten ordinary folk watching while sitting in the scorching sun.
The people of Mt Darwin have nothing to show for their independence. Only very recently, the Rushinga MP was complaining that the students in his constituency walk between 15 and 20 kilometres to the nearest school, 43 years after independence.
And yet today, the Gold Mafia crew will tell them they have done a lot for the people of Mt Darwin and the country!
The Gold Mafia are the owners of the country and they can loot and plunder the country’s vast resources at will. We now understand that it’s not just the gold as the top family is now shockingly said to own part of the Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world. He—and you know who I am referring to—is now said to be owner of part of our famed global spectacle, the Victoria Falls. Primitive theft..
Given this level of grand theft and personalisation of the nation’s vast mineral wealth and tourist attractions, it will come as no surprise to hear in the near future that ED and family hold full title and ownership of the Domboshava caves, the Mutarazi and Nyangombe Falls, the Nyanyadzi hot-springs as well as the entire scenic and picturesque Nyanga terrain.
Now that’s what I call enjoying the fruits of independence, if one can, with his cronies, afford the luxury of plundering at will the country’s vast wealth.
In fact, ED and the ruling political elite have since finished eating the fruits of independence. They are now eating the very tree of independence itself, including the roots bark and stem!
The war of independence was fought by an entire nation, across geography and tribe. We were all in it together, the indigenous people of this land. But now across the political divide, we are all shocked by this shameful plunder of the country’s vast wealth by a few.
We fought the war together and very soon, there will be no party card when Zimbabweans deliver the ultimate electoral punishment to those stealing the country’s vast wealth.
We fought the war simply as a citizens’ movement demanding political, social and economic justice. Similarly, in our huge numbers in the forthcoming election, there will be no Zanu PF, CCC nor any other political label.
There will just be citizens who will all contribute to this great, monumental wave that will certainly result in political change under the leadership of the people’s champion, pastor Advocate Nelson Chamisa.
This column has previously posited that the right to vote was at the core of our brutal war of independence, which independence has now been betrayed by an avaricious political elite that is denying citizens the same right to vote for which they waged a brutal struggle.
Some have even been killed for their political choice and Nyasha Zhambe and Mboneni Ncube fall into this category.
Also at the core of our struggle for independence was the issue of land. The sanctity and centrality of land to our brutal struggle is common cause.
Sadly, both our rural and urban areas remain congested because the land has been parcelled out only to the political elite and those oligarchs umbilically connected to Zanu PF, known variously either as land barons or multiple farm owners.
The land story is a sad story and it tragically reflects the hollowness of the independence that we ought to be celebrating today .
In my other life as a journalist, it was always every journalist’s wish to interview Eddison Jonas Mudadirwa Zvobgo. The eloquent Harvard-trained lawyer had this knack of giving you a quotable quote and a potential lead story.
I remember when Zanu PF started its senseless murders of white commercial farmers in the name of land reform. As the Zanu PF secretary for legal Affairs, Zvobgo was expected to justify his party’s actions but instead he gave out a brilliant quote that was not only against his party’s position but that made headlines across the globe:
” It is unfortunate that as a party , we have turned an otherwise glorious revolution into a racist agrarian enterprise .”
Zvobgo was just dramatising the betrayal— through senseless actions— of an otherwise justifiable crusade. A revolution perverted and bastardised by ignoramuses and dimwits ensconcing the seat of power.
Today , we ought to be celebrating our independence and national sovereignty. And yet even the sovereign Constitution that we wrote ourselves as citizens and affirmed in a referendum has largely not been implemented.
It has instead been unilaterally and illegally amended by the political elite sworn only to the agenda of power retention. In that Constitution are embedded our basic freedoms enshrined in a comprehensive Bill of Rights that we have not been allowed to enjoy.
Just how does one become independent when they are not free? Just how do we celebrate our independence when in fact we are all not free?
The judiciary is not free and the illegal and unConstitutional extension of Luke Malaba’s tenure is evidence to that. All the chapter 12 institutions including ZEC and others that are supposed to be autonomous and independent are not free of Executive control.
In fact, it has since emerged that ZEC is shackled and tethered to the military through Africom. Yes, the military has mounted yet another coup on the autonomy and independence of ZEC.
Independence without freedom is trite, vacuous and empty. Freedom is a key ingredient of true independence and any purported independence that is bereft of freedom is akin to a bus without a driver, a school without students and without a head, a church without congregants and a political party without followers or supporters.
Indeed, freedom is at the core of independence. But in 1980, our so-called independence came alone, unaccompanied by the requisite freedoms that ought to have given it proper import, relevance and meaning.
Today , we will be commemorating an empty day. A carcass. Today, our independence has sadly become what renowned poet Freedom T. V. Nyamubaya called a mysterious marriage, a wedding where the groom came without his bride.
This week, I will once again allow Nyamubaya to poetically address you, dear readers, on the hollowness of our independence. It was from Nyamubaya that I borrowed the first part of this week’s title.
Nyamubaya penned a poem on the inadequacy and hollowness of our Uhuru; an epic, imaginative, poetic verse that I republish here today. This poem is a true rendition of our situation, a vexing wedding where only the groom ( independence ) is aimlessly walking down the aisle without his bride (freedom).
A Mysterious Marriage
Once upon a time
there was a boy and a girl
forced to leave their home
by armed robbers
The boy was Independence
The girl was Freedom
While fighting back , they got married .
After the big war they went back home
Everybody prepared for the wedding Drinks and food abounded ,
Even the disabled felt able ,
The whole village gathered waiting
Freedom and Independence
were more popular than Jesus
but Freedom was not there
An old woman saw Freedom’s shadow passing ,
Walking though the crowd , Freedom to the gate
All the same , they celebrated for independence
Independence is now a senior bachelor
Some people still talk about him
Many others take no notice
A lot still say , it was a fake marriage
You can’t be a husband without a wife ,
Fruitless and barren independence staggers to old age ,
Since her shadow , Freedom , hasn’t come .
As I have stated earlier, Zimbabwe’s ruling political elite are done with the fruits of independence. They have eaten for themselves all the fruits of independence, leaving out the ordinary folk in Domboshava, Musana, Beitbridge, Binga and Dombodema. Now that they have eaten all the fruits, they have now gone for the very tree of independence, roots, bark, stem and all.
I wish I could exhort happiness to my fellow Zimbabweans as we commemorate—not celebrate—our national independence today. Indeed, today there is no cause for any carnival amid this deep-seated national gloom. There is nothing to be joyful for. We are Africans and we hold dear the institution called family.For that reason, we cannot celebrate bachelorhood; this forlorn bachelor called independence who for 43 years has kept us waiting for the arrival of his bride called Freedom.
It’s a half prize!
The bottom line is that only a chosen few are free and independent while the rest of us remain shackled to poverty. For the rest of us, independence day has become trite, vacuous and meaningless. Uhuru day is now shorn of its deserved lustre
Only the Gold Mafia and their associates can truly celebrate this day.
For now, the scoreline in this year’s Independence day trophy final is Gold Mafia 2, Zimbabweans 0.
Luke Tamborinyoka is a citizen from Domboshava. Tamborinyoka , a journalist and a political scientist by profession , is a change champion in the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC ). You can interact with him on his Facebook page or via his twitter handle @ luke_tambo.