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Now is the time for Zapu to continue the liberation struggle

by Ndzimu-unami Emmanuel Moyo
09 Jun 2019 at 19:43hrs | Views
End of an Era: A Tribute to ZAPU/ZIPRA Stalwarts

The dates 01 June and 01 July may well remain imprinted in our memories for generations to come. On 1 July 1999, Dr. Joshua Nkomo, founding ZAPU President and later ZIPRA Commander, passed on from this world. Just one month shy of exactly 10 years later, we laid to rest one of the remaining and highest ranking ZAPU/ZIPRA leaders, Dr. Dumiso Dabengwa. May their souls rest in peace.

But Dr. Nkomo and Dr. Dabengwa are only part of a long list of illustrious sons and daughters of Matebeleland in particular and Zimbabwe and Africa in general who gave their life to the cause of liberation both in Zimbabwe and Africa. It is perhaps one of the biggest tragedies of our time that the post-independence generation hardly knows much about the likes of General Lookout Masuku, General Alfred Nikita Mangena, Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo, TG Silundika, and many other ZAPU/ZIPRA liberation struggle stalwarts, if not only known as footnotes to the history of Zimbabwe, thanks to the lies and deception from the Zanu government that has been in power by hook and crook for the last almost 40 years.

Speaker after speaker at the funeral of the late Dr. Dabengwa exposed perhaps in a way not possible before the days of smartphones and social media the lies that have always lied at the heart of Zanu (mis)rule. Unlike in yester-times, state media could no longer be the sole broadcaster and news dispenser that manipulates reporting on events and churns our Zanufied propaganda.

And maybe no more sterling a rendition on the history of not only Dr. Dabengwa as an individual but of ZAPU and ZIPRA as fellow combatants with the ANC and MK was given than that which the South African State Security Minister, Ayanda Dlodlo, representing the South African President, People and the ANC, delivered at the funeral, in a sense literally and publicly calling out the Zimbabwean government for its lies and deception.

What then is self-evident is that ZAPU has so illustrious a history in the Liberation Struggle that it cannot be hidden and/or suppressed forever, no matter how profusely Zanu and its propaganda machine tries. Further to that, what is being shown in this history is that the Liberation Struggle against oppression did not end in 1980.

What changed was simply the color of the skin of the colonialist oppressor, changing from the White racist to the, unfortunately, Black, Shona tribalistic Gukurahundist bent on Genocide and Shona ethnolinguistic domination.

It is in this backdrop that we need to realize that the Liberation Struggle still needs to be carried forward, and this is a view that has been expressed by both Dr. Joshua Nkomo and Dr. Dumiso Dabengwa that that which they spent much of their life fighting for is still yet to be realized.

One of the things to arise out of Dr. Dabengwa's passing on is a new galvanization particularly of the Matebeleland Peoples as they reminisce on the great liberation heritage bestowed upon them by their forebears, but also even on the Peoples of Mashonaland, Manicaland and Maswingo as they realize what a dummy they were sold by Zanu over the years.
Time for Young People to Carry Forward the Liberation Struggle

In one of his speeches, Dr. Nkomo averred, "The country will never die, young people will save it." Announcing in an interview his plans for retirement from the leadership of ZAPU on the sidelines of the last ZAPU Conference, Dr. Dabengwa stated:

"I, therefore, call on the party, especially the youth to consider leadership renewal across the board. We need young people to take this movement forward and transform it to contemporary standards. You can take it as you ably demonstrated by this conference on your own with no financial support but from yourselves. I am confident I leave the party in capable hands of these young people gathered here."

It is apparent from the statements of both Dr. Nkomo and Dr. Dabengwa that they realized the need for a new generation to carry forward the unfinished business of the Liberation Struggle. This of course runs contrary to the Zanu brand of politics where being old is a qualification for holding political office, and a "youth" leader thereof is above 50 years old.

Whilst this sounds like ageist thinking, it ought to be borne in mind that most of our forebears took up arms and organized to fight against colonial oppression in their 20s, 30s and 40s, and some even in their teens. In a continent where young people under the age of 35 make up 60% of the population, it is perhaps a tragedy that over 80% of the political leadership is above the age of 70!

As our leaders in ZAPU have expressed as their wish, without falling into the trap of ageism, let us therefore be reminded, particularly the young people of Matebeleland, that whilst the passing on of Dr. Dabengwa may signal the end of one era, it must at the same time be the beginning of a new era, an era in which the Liberation Struggle will continue to be executed with the same revolutionary fervor that saw our Mothers and Fathers organize and take up arms against racist colonialist rule. But how do we execute this Liberation Struggle?

Creation of Liberated Zones (ZIPRA Strategy)

It is no question that Dr. Nkomo was fondly called Father Zimbabwe, nor that Dr. Dabengwa is celebrated, as Minister Ayanda Dlodlo expressed, not only a hero of Zimbabwe, but of South Africa and Africa. And it is not subject to debate that ZAPU always subscribed to not only a nationalist approach but to an internationalist ideology in its execution of the Liberation Struggle.

But wrapped in this nationalist and internationalist ideology was also a clear strategy when it came to execution, which strategy was carried out by ZIPRA. Quoting Dr. Dabengwa, The New York Times wrote:

"While Mr. Mugabe's guerrillas fought a largely rural campaign modeled on Maoist principles, Zipra planned to set up semi-liberated zones from which to "eventually liberate and occupy the major cities of the country," Mr. Dabengwa wrote."

ZAPU comrades in particular and Matebeleland citizens in general, as we rethink our future and our destiny in light of the Gukurahundist oppression to which we are subjected every day, in which Shona language has become the new ‘white skin', in which access to economic opportunity is now predicated on your Shonaness in general and Zanu-Shonaness in particular, a time in which both in the (mis)ruling party and the official opposition we are viewed and treated as second-class citizens, in which our resources are looted colonial-style to develop other regions and leave us to wallow in poverty, I invite us to return back to the ZAPU/ZIPRA strategy as expressed by Dr. Dabengwa above.   

National Party, Regional Focus

The psychologist Denise Fournier, Ph.D. writes in Psychology Today, "Desmond Tutu once wisely said that "there is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time." What he meant by this is that everything in life that seems daunting, overwhelming, and even impossible can be accomplished gradually by taking on just a little at a time."

Misrule in Zimbabwe is the elephant in the house that we have to deal with. Entitled Gukurahundist thinking and practice both in the (mis)ruling party and the official opposition, electoral manipulation, political indiscipline and disregard for rule of law, political violence, economic mismanagement and brazen and gluttonous corruption are some of the biggest elephants in the room. To eat away at these elephants, a one-bite-at-a-time strategy is required. A creation of semi-liberated zones is required from which to continue the Liberation Struggle.  

It is in this light therefore that I would like to call upon Matebeleland in general and ZAPU in particular that even as the "national party" that we are, we consider at this time a focus on those regions where we have a viable path to victory, and create in those semi-liberated zones from which to further execute the Liberation Struggle. The experience of the last 39 years indicate that the only regions where ZAPU has a viable path to victory is its historical stronghold, the Matebeleland Provinces.      

Are we Reducing Ourselves to a Regional Party? What's National a National Party Anyway?

Skeptics, naysayers and doubters will immediately label us "regionalists" and "tribalists". They will argue how a "minority" we are and how they "have the numbers", how we will never "capture the presidency", etc. But comrades and fellow citizens of Matebeleland, let's take heart and be strong. Now is the time to doubt the doubters. Now is the time to be skeptical of the skeptics. Now is the time to naysay the naysayers. Now is the time to reject the sacrilegious, Goebbelsian and Luceferian lie that says if it's based in or from Matebeleland it's "regional" and "tribal", and it only becomes "national" and "non-tribal" if it's based in the Mashonaland Provinces.

Now is the time to execute the Liberation Struggle for the liberation of Matebeleland in particular and Zimbabwe in general without fear of labels, bearing in mind Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed in which he warns of the dangers of usage of language by the oppressor to further oppression.

As both Dr. Dabengwa and Dr. Nkomo suggested and hoped, now is the time for Young People to rise up, capture power, first in the Matebeleland Provinces (there are 3 by the way and 9 Nations/Tribes therein) and to have a strong parliamentary presence and fight for the full implementation of the Constitution and for the total liberation of Matebeleland in particular and Zimbabwe in general.

We have seen the non-revolutionary, bourgeoisie pretenders in the supposed official opposition time after time cozying up to Zanu and forgetting the mandate of the masses. And we have seen several splinter groups arise and further divide Matebeleland and perpetuating its bondage. And yet we also know from history that ZAPU has previously united the Peoples of Matebeleland in particular and Zimbabwe in general in some of the most trying times of our history.

The time is now then for this oldest and most authentic Liberation Movement in Zimbabwe to carry on the Liberation Struggle that started back in the 1950s and finally deliver freedom the People. Let us not just make the wishes of Drs. Nkomo and Dabengwa true, but let us make our wishes and dreams come true. The Future is Bright!    
Ndzimu-unami Emmanuel Moyo is a card-carrying member of ZAPU. He was formerly with the MDC (N) and ANSA and now believes a Homecoming to ZAPU is necessary for the unity and freedom of Matebeleland in particular and Zimbabwe in general. He writes in his personal capacity.

Source - Ndzimu-unami Emmanuel Moyo