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In memory of Zimbabwe's Independence

by Ngqabutho Mabhena
18 Apr 2019 at 11:46hrs | Views
On 18th April 1980, Zimbabweans celebrated their Independence both from Britain and from the Ian settler state. The celebration was rather muted because it was the little headmaster, Robert Mugabe, who had become the first Prime Minister with the progressive Methodist minister Canaan Banana as ceremonial President; the Father of Zimbabwe, Joshua Nkomo, had been relegated to the position of Minister of Home Affairs. In an election controlled by the British Army, the original liberation movement, ZAPU, had apparently and divisively, only won in Matabeleland and Ndebele-speaking parts of Midlands. This made the British and their US controllers very happy. As US diplomat Andrew Young said soon after:

"Despite widespread doubts outside Zimbabwe about the strength of Mugabe's political constituency, he had achieved a solid electoral victory over both Bishop Abel Muzorewa, on whom both Britain and South Africa had placed their hopes, and Joshua Nkomo, who enjoyed military support from the Soviet bloc. The unexpected size of his majority gave Mugabe an unequivocal mandate which greatly simplified the task of the British in handing over power.

"The Zimbabwe settlement must also be recorded as a victory of the Western alliance in cooperation with the Organization of African Unity (OAU). It signalled a renewal of the cooperation in de-colonization which came under Western leadership and via the United Nations during the 1950s and 1960s. And it curtailed at least temporarily the trend toward growing dependence on Soviet military aid to bring about African liberation."
Andrew Young, The United States and Africa: Victory for Diplomacy (1980)

Nevertheless we had Independence and a degree of unity for two years until in 1982, ZAPU was thrown out of government and we went through the nightmare of Gukurahundi.

Still, at the end of 1987, Nkomo signed the Unity Accord and by 1989, we had another short period of peace and prosperity under a united ZANU(PF).

Then in 1991, under the influence of Bernard Chidzero we gave up our economic prosperity and independence in return for ESAP ― the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme which brought in loads of unnecessary luxury goods and brought down wages  as well as     instilling into the heads of the Zimbabwean people the slogan "Making Money Makes Sense."  As time went on Zimbabweans then began to try to make money without production and as a result ― every Zimbabwean became a trillionaire!!

The new workers' party which was formed as a response to the lowering of real wages decided to link up with white farmers and members of the Rhodesian Front and to receive funding from the UK and US. Thus it adopted an economic policy directly opposite to the interests of the workers. Eddie Cross, the fervent neo-liberal became their spokesperson for economic affairs. He claimed that ESAP failed because it was not being applied ruthlessly enough!

What a surprise! Eddie Cross is, true to his fundamental beliefs, now supporting Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Of course, there was excitement when people led by the War Veterans occupied land in 2000 on the basis of white farmers owning multiple farms and carried forward by the slogan "One Family ― One Farm."But near to the middle of 2001, the leaders of this movement, Border Gezi and Chenjerai Hunzvi died within 6 weeks of each other. The parasitic élite took over the best land, though in fact many poorer people DID benefit.

Now, ministers, army officers and senior civil servants own multiple farms. Whereas the white farmers (most of whom lived on the land) lived in a big house while his workers lived in mud huts, it is now the ‘chefs' who live in palatial mansions, while their workers live in mud huts.

Now too, mass evictions are taking place of those povo who were resettled by the War Veterans ―notably last year in Masvingo, more recently in Gokwe.

When Mugabe was removed, it was obvious that the "Indigenous Economic Empowerment" mainly benefitted himself and his family and that without production, there was a limit to what could still be looted. Others thought that it would be more sustainable to give away our resources to foreign companies while they took their percentage, thus turning themselves from "anti-imperialist" looters to servants of the imperialists giving them full access to plunder our resources and to exploit the labour power of our workers.

As former Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa told us in his budget at the end of 2017, to attract foreign investment we must keep down wages to a level at least as low as that of Ethiopia. Our trade unions and our trade union leaders are now under vicious attack. The recent increase in the wages of government employees is far, far below the rate of inflation.

As for our main opposition, as soon as they were not included in government, they went running to Washington to tell Donald Trump that they could be better house boys than ZANU(PF). Their leader then went to occupied Palestine to gloat over the continuing evictions of Palestinians from their land and to support the bombing of Gaza and the massacre of its people.

Just now this same young man has been through a beauty contest which has resulted in him remaining as leader of the alternative neo-liberal party. He has since told us that we must do away with the Zimbabwe bird as our national symbol because it is a pagan idol.

Recently we have been told by our Minister of Finance, that our last remaining assets, our platinum and our diamonds can be wholly owned by foreigners.

The little Independence that we saw occasional glimpses of and enjoyed has finally disappeared, like the last whiff of smoke at the end of the brie.

Source - ZCP