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What's to celebrate; that independence replaced white oppressors with black ones?

19 Apr 2022 at 22:37hrs | Views
On 18 April 2022 Zimbabweans should have been celebrating the country's 42 years of independence. For the overwhelming majority, there was really no cause to celebrate, and many did not bother. The penny has finally dropped that they were short changed.

The fight for independence was a fight for freedom, liberty and human dignity; fight to be masters of ones' own destiny. The white colonial ethos was about denying the indigenous population their freedom liberty and human dignity for the sole purposed to subjugation and exploitation.

During the white colonial rule of Prime Minister Ian Smith, the late John Robertson, a renowned Zimbabwe Economist, reportedly gave Ian Smith a detailed plan to give blacks property rights including title deed for the rural peasant. The plan, if adopted, would be increased economic growth, and reduced the problem of land degradation by motivated the rural peasants to take better care of the land.

Ian Smith rejected the plan to economically empower the blacks for two reasons.

a) An economically impoverished black population was easily subjugated and exploited for the purposed of white economic prosperity than an economically empowered population.

b) It would just be a matter of time before the economically empowered black population demand political empowerment, a meaningful say in the governance of the country.

Interestingly, John Robertson gave the same economic plan to Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister of Independent Zimbabwe. Mugabe also rejected the plan for the same reasons.
Whilst the whites had the common sense to follow some sound economic policies that allowed the national economy to thrive or be it the primary benefit of the white; Mugabe and company had no such common sense. Thus, before independence the country produced enough food to feed its own people with plenty leftover to be the breadbasket of the region, for example. Twenty years after independence, Mugabe seized the white owned farms and gave them to his cronies; destroying the agricultural sector and with it the economy.

42 years of gross mismanagement and rampant corruption have left the country's robust pre-independence economy in ruins. Basic services such as education and health care have all but collapsed. 50% of the population now live in abject poverty. Life expectancy has plummeted from 68 years in 1980 to 34 years today!

On the political front, the whites denied the blacks a vote, period.

If Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies had been allowed to have their wish, they would have imposed a de jure one-party state. They too had subscribed to the "One man, one vote!" as the rallying call for blacks before independence but would have discarded it without a second thought.
Zanu PF was forced to accept a multiparty democratic Lancaster House constitution. The party had a plan B to ensure electoral victory.
Contrary to the Lancaster House agreement, not only did Zanu PF fail to send many its freedom fighters to assembly points they remained active throughout the election campaigning period. The party's campaign message was simple enough; if the party does not win, the bush war would continue.
Of course, the people voted to end the bush war!

Zanu PF used the 1983 to 1987 Gukurahundi massacre coerce it main political rivalry, PF Zapu, led by the late Dr Joshua Nkomo, to disband, sign the 1987 Unity Accord and join Zanu PF to create the de facto one-party state.

Whilst it is true that Zimbabwe has held regular elections, unlike other one-party states like China or North Korea which have completely dispensed with such niceties as elections. However, Zimbabwe has never ever held free, fair, and credible elections. The party has reduced the electorate into powerless medieval serfs beholden to overbearing Zanu PF landlords, especially the hapless rural povo.
Lest we forget, povo have played their part in the fight to end white colonial rule. And 42 years after independence all they ever got was the removal of the white oppressors only to be replaced by the black oppressors. What is there for them to celebrate?

The primary objective of the fight for independence was to deliver freedom, justice, and human dignity for all. Zanu PF narrative has the removal of the white colonialists from power as the sole purpose to hide the party's failure to deliver the set objectives. And to justify its own tyrannical rule, Zanu PF has the former colonialists using the opposition to threaten the country's independence and sovereignty.

It is unforgivable that 42 years after independence, in this day and age, millions of our people are still having to fight for such basic rights as property rights and the right to a meaningful vote. The very fact that some people are still celebrating the removal of the white colonialists as the great achievement of the fight for independence shows the lack of ambition and imagination.

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