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Oppression is justifiable when it's by our own race.

25 Oct 2023 at 20:35hrs | Views
We fought for our independence from the British colonialists, who exploited our land, our resources, and our people for their own benefit. We dreamed of a free and prosperous Zimbabwe, where we could enjoy our rights, our culture, and our dignity. We celebrated when we finally raised our flag and sang our anthem in 1980, after a long and bloody struggle. We trusted our leaders, who promised us democracy, development, and peace.

But what did we get in return? A new system of oppression, corruption, and violence, perpetrated by our own brothers and sisters, who betrayed the ideals of the liberation war. A system that has destroyed our economy, our society, and our future. A system that has turned us into beggars, refugees, and victims in our own land.

How did this happen? How did we go from being the breadbasket of Africa to being the basket case of Africa? How did we go from being a model of reconciliation to being a pariah of human rights? How did we go from being a hopeful nation to being a hopeless nation?

The answer lies in the history of Zimbabwe, a history that has been distorted, manipulated, and silenced by those in power. A history that reveals the true nature of the oppression that we have endured for decades.

The oppression began soon after independence, when Mugabe and his party ZANU-PF consolidated their power by crushing any opposition or dissent. They used violence, intimidation, and propaganda to silence their critics and rivals. They used patronage, nepotism, and cronyism to reward their loyalists and allies. They used state institutions, laws, and policies to entrench their hegemony and monopoly.

One of the most brutal examples of this oppression was the Matabeleland Gukurahundi atrocities in the 1980s, when Mugabe's North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade massacred thousands of civilians in the southern region of the country. The victims were mostly from the Ndebele ethnic group, who supported Mugabe's rival Joshua Nkomo and his party ZAPU. The massacres only ended when Mugabe and Nkomo signed the Unity Accord in 1987, which merged their parties into ZANU-PF and effectively eliminated any political competition.

The oppression continued in the 1990s and 2000s, when Mugabe and his party faced growing challenges from civil society, trade unions, student movements, churches, media, and opposition parties. They responded with more violence, repression, and manipulation. They unleashed war veterans, youth militias, and security forces to attack and harass their opponents. They rigged elections, banned protests, shut down newspapers, and arrested activists. They launched a chaotic land reform program that dispossessed white farmers and redistributed land to their cronies and supporters. They implemented disastrous economic policies that caused hyperinflation, shortages, unemployment, poverty, and hunger.

The oppression persisted in the 2010s and 2020s, when Mugabe and his party faced internal divisions and succession battles. They resorted to more purges, factions, and intrigues. They ousted former vice president Joice Mujuru in 2014, accusing her of plotting to overthrow Mugabe. They fired former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2017, paving the way for Mugabe's wife Grace to take over. They triggered a military coup that removed Mugabe from power in 2017, replacing him with Mnangagwa. They claimed that they were correcting the mistakes of the past and ushering in a new era of democracy and prosperity.

But nothing changed. The oppression remained. Mnangagwa and his party continued to rule with an iron fist. They crushed the opposition led by Nelson Chamisa in the 2018 elections, using fraud, intimidation, and violence. They cracked down on dissenters in the 2019 protests, using live ammunition, torture, and abduction. They failed to address the economic crisis that worsened under their watch, using corruption, mismanagement, and incompetence. They ignored the social crisis that afflicted millions of Zimbabweans, using denialism,
indifference, and arrogance.

This is the history of oppression in Zimbabwe. A history that shows how our leaders have become our oppressors. A history that shows how they have justified their oppression by invoking nationalism,
patriotism, sovereignty, or liberation. A history that shows how they have exploited our divisions,
fears, grievances, or hopes.

But this history also shows how we have resisted oppression in Zimbabwe. How we have fought for our rights,
our justice,
and our freedom.
How we have challenged their lies,
their abuses,
and their crimes.
How we have exposed their hypocrisy,
their selfishness,
and their incompetence.
How we have demanded their accountability,
their transparency,
and their reform.

We have resisted oppression in Zimbabwe, but we have not yet overcome it. We have not yet achieved the change that we deserve and desire. We have not yet realized the vision that we had at independence. We have not yet fulfilled the dream that we share as Zimbabweans.

We need to continue to resist oppression in Zimbabwe. We need to unite and mobilize as citizens. We need to organize and participate as civil society. We need to inform and educate as media. We need to advocate and represent as opposition. We need to reform and transform as government.

We need to resist oppression in Zimbabwe, because oppression is not justifiable, whether it is black on black or white on black. Oppression is unacceptable, whether it is colonial or post-colonial. Oppression is intolerable, whether it is external or internal.

We need to resist, because we deserve better. We deserve dignity, equality, and democracy. We deserve development, prosperity, and peace. We deserve freedom, happiness, and hope.

We need to resist, because we are Zimbabweans. We are proud, resilient, and courageous. We are diverse, tolerant, and respectful. We are creative, innovative, and resourceful. We are beautiful, wonderful, and powerful.

We need to resist oppression in Zimbabwe, because we are the change that we seek.

Kumbirai Thierry Nhamo

Source - Kumbirai Thierry Nhamo
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