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Whose agenda did our liberation movements truly serve?

08 Sep 2023 at 18:26hrs | Views
There is nothing more baffling and shocking than hearing our so-called 'liberation movements' describing today's fight against injustice and oppression as a 'Western agenda'.

The first thing that comes to mind, whenever I hear such reckless statements, is: whose agenda were they serving when they themselves were fighting our liberation struggles in the 20th century?

What is now so different between their own desire for freedom, equality and prosperity - with what we, today, are craving to also enjoy?

What defined their own struggle as 'homegrown' - despite the fact that they were funded by and received tremendous support from such countries China, Russia, and others - which separates them from our own fight against injustice today?

How does this, then, make their own fight for justice more special and genuine than our own quest for the same ideals today?

These thoughts became more pronounced yesterday, as I listened to the now rabid statements (which border on the hysterical) by the Secretary-General of South Africa's governing ANC party, Fikile Mbalula.

This was during his recent visit to Zimbabwe to attend the inauguration of ZANU PF's Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa as President - after his controversial 'win' over the opposition CCC's Nelson Chamisa, in highly disputed elections held two weeks ago.

Indeed this is not the first time that Mbalula, who has clearly become obsessed over Zimbabwean politics, has come out guns blazing in showing his utter disdain for Chamisa and his CCC.

This, whilst at the same time, blindly defending and backing Mnangagwa and ZANU PF - in some form of twisted and perverted 'liberation struggle brotherhood'.

Let me hasten to mention that, this is the same man (Mbalula) who, not so long ago, was curiously not shy in condemning acts of barbarism and injustices meted out by the ZANU PF regime on innocent defenseless civilians.

Who can forget his post on X (formerly Twitter) on 16th August 2019 - where he captioned a picture of police officers brutalizing innocent civilians, with: 'He madoda Zimbabwe no man'.

I wonder what then happened for him to suddenly transform into a supporter of ZANU PF repressive policies.

One never knows with politicians.

That is why I do not trust or particularly like them - since they always have some hidden agenda and ulterior motives behind their actions.

Be that as it may, the fact is that, today, Mbalula is fiercely and unashamedly pro whatever ruthlessness, corruption and even electoral fraud is unleashed by his brethren in ZANU PF.

He seemingly does not care anymore when ordinary Zimbabweans are made to suffer by the Mnangagwa administration.

Furthermore, I really do not care about his unbridled loathing of Chamisa and his CCC party.

Quite honestly, I am also not necessarily fond of the man and his party - whom I blame for the intolerable mess and appalling lowering of standards in our small town of Redcliff (as with all other urban areas under their jurisdiction).

I am also not a fan of his apparent dictatorial tendencies - as he runs the entire political outfit as his personal fiefdom - without a Constitution, or any recognizable structures,  or even a bank account.

As such, this makes it extremely difficult to separate him from the likes of Mnangagwa and even the late tyrant Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

Which explains why I have never been afraid of describing the CCC as being cut from the same cloth as ZANU PF.

In so doing, Mbalula's perceptions of the main opposition - as 'agents of the West, serving a imperialist agenda' - have absolutely nothing to do with why I have a problem with him.

I do not know what he really knows about the operations of the CCC.

Maybe he has information of which some of us lack.

My issue, however, is when people like Mbalula and other so-called 'liberation movements' (particularly in the southern African region) blindly stand with one another.

This, in spite of it being abundantly clear that one of their own has gone rogue, and acting against the very principles and foundations on which the struggle for freedom was waged.

That is a huge problem that should never be ignored.

I  honestly do not give a hoot if these supposed 'liberation movements' have a mistrust and disdain for the CCC - but it becomes my concern when they support our oppressors, whilst turning a blind eye to our suffering at the hands of their 'fellow comrades'.

Was the whole point of the various revolutions and liberation struggles (some of which were armed) witnessed across the region not for the total emancipation, equality and development of the ordinary people of southern Africa?

Was this not a struggle against the oppression and marginalization of the majority by the minority - where only a few benefited from the vast resources with which our countries were endowed - as millions were relentlessly subjugated to a life of poverty and misery?

Did our liberation movements not fight for each and every one of us to enjoy their inalienable right to freely vote for whomsoever they desired to lead them?

In the same breath, was the right to expression, association, assembly and political affiliation not central to this fight for independence and democracy?

So, why do we today see, in utter disgust and revulsion, these same 'liberators' morphing into the oppressors against whom they once fought?

In fact, what is more disheartening and heartbreaking is watching other fellow 'liberation movements' willfully choosing not to hold their comrades to these sacred principles and values of the freedom struggle.

If SADC (a regional bloc created by the same 'liberation movements', after attaining independence in their countries) sets up agreed upon guidelines and standards governing democratic elections - why not hold each other accountable in ensuring they were religiously adhered to?

What sense is there when people like Mbalula, and even his boss (South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa) decide to undermine SADC's own election observers - who reported the blatant violation of these guidelines and principles during Zimbabwe's recently-held elections?

Has the right to freely vote for whomever we want - a fundamental aspect of the struggle for independence - now been relegated to preserving the interests of those in power?

Has power now entered their heads - as this has been scientifically proven to be just as addictive and intoxicating as the most potent illicit drugs - such that they now place their own ambitions ahead of the ideals for which they fought?

What happened to 'fighting for the people', as was the common theme during the liberation struggle era?

Why do these 'liberation movements' no longer care that the ZANU PF ruling elite have become masters at looting our country's abundant resources - with which they enrich themselves to obscene levels - yet 'the people' are abandoned to languish in sickening poverty?

Do they not care that half the Zimbabwe population lives in extreme poverty, whilst two thirds earn below the poverty datum line?

Does it not concern these 'liberation movements' that our hospitals and clinics lack the most basics of necessities - as cancer machines, medications, beds, and even ambulances - whilst most rural folk have to walk tens of kilometers to the nearest health care facilities?

In all this, our so-called leaders enjoy a life of opulence - building grand mansions, receiving medical attention overseas, and their children attending expensive schools in foreign lands.

In spite of ostensibly fighting the liberation struggle for all of us to have access to decent land - those in power own multiple farms, which they gave themselves during the early 2000s and reform program.

This, whilst millions lack even tiny pieces of land to call their own - or those in the rural areas still cramped in reserves created under the 1930 Land Apportionment Act in colonial Rhodesia.

As I mentioned before, it really does not matter if these 'liberation movements' do not want to stand with the CCC - however, this can never be translated to mean standing with our oppressors.

I would rather they did not support Chamisa and his party - even warning us against any 'imperialist agendas' - but still fighting for justice in Zimbabwe,  and calling out the ZANU PF regime in their subjugation of the majority.

Let it be clear that, the situation in Zimbabwe is not binary - in that, if one is against the CCC, then they automatically should support ZANU PF - or vice versa.

If our so-called 'liberation movements' are genuinely still grounded in their struggle ethos, then they need to stand with the oppressed, suffering and impoverished people of Zimbabwe (and throughout the region).

When these men and women were fighting for our independence and freedom they were not doing it for themselves - but for the millions upon millions of the voiceless and defenseless across the region.

That is a fact Mbalula and his comrades need to remember.

It was not for them to enter the corridors of power - and staying there forever.

If that is why they went to war - then, it is undeniable that they did not fight for us, but only for themselves.

This then calls for a new wave of liberation struggles - which are genuinely for the people - and not for the leaders.

© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email:, or visit website:

Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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