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Chamisa is not the only one fighting for Zimbabwe's freedom!

17 Dec 2023 at 12:48hrs | Views
In my 50 years of existence, I have come across my fare share of condescending statements and attitudes, especially so from the ruling elite in Zimbabwe.

This was more prominent post-independence when the 'new' ZANU PF regime would portray themselves as the only ones who fought for this country's uhuru.

Anyone who did not go to war, in the 15-year-long liberation struggle, was deemed of less significance and probably lower class – undeserving of the best Zimbabwe had to offer.

Which explains the whole notion of 'heroes acres' dotted across the country's ten provinces – with the main one, the 'National Heroes Acre', in the capital Harare.

What smacks of this patronizing behavior is the fact that the ruling ZANU PF party itself determines who deserves to be a 'hero' in Zimbabwe.

As such, the vast majority of those laid at these gravesites are fallen combatants of the war of liberation or those who subsequently held senior positions within the party and government.  

A few – such as music legend Oliver Mtukudzi – are artists or derived from other sectors of our society.

However, these are just a tiny handful.

In so doing, ZANU PF has bestowed upon itself a monopoly on deciding who did or did not fight for this country's independence.

Anyone who stood against the party, more so during the struggle for uhuru – such as Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole, Chief Chirau, James Chikerema, and Bishop Abel Tendekai Muzorewa, amongst many others – where denied this honor.

Only a year or two ago, a whole 40 years after independence, were some of these (as Sithole) finally recognized for their valiant fight against colonial rule.

This sudden 'change of heart' is widely seen as nothing more than political maneuvers carefully crafted to endear the ruling party with the people of Chipinge (from where Sithole originated).

In other words, anyone who did not fight with and does not stand along ZANU PF is not worthy of being called a 'hero' – as he did not do anything for Zimbabwe's emancipation.

What can be more arrogant than such a reckless belief?

What about the thousands of villagers in rural areas – who, although they never held a gun or threw a grenade, provided these combatants with shelter, food, and vital intelligence?

These were the same people who endured unimaginable brutality from both sides of the warring parties – as they were repeatedly accused of either being 'sellouts' or 'harboring terrorists'.

I will not even mention the numerous young girls who were sexually abused by these fighters both as a form of cruel 'punishment', or to satisfy their (combatants') sexual starvation.

On top of that, rural folk were placed in 'keeps', or more aptly, 'protected villages' – where villagers were forcibly moved into fenced off and heavily guarded communities, to keep them separated from liberation fighters.

This is how these people fought for this country.

This is what they did for our independence.

So, are we not to say these people were heroes of the liberation struggle?

In fact, without these people, the liberation struggle wound have been a total failure.

How many of them, then, are buried at any of the country's 'heroes acres'?

Are they not deserving of recognition for their dangerous efforts and the savage persecution they suffered?

Why then would anyone have the audacity to claim that only those who took up arms to fight the colonial regime 'did something' and were 'heroes'?

Nonetheless, this twisted thinking did not end with ZANU PF.

It still persists today.

This time, it is perpetuated by the opposition.

Their narrative is as follows.

Anyone who is not the main opposition CCC leader Nelson Chamisa is not doing anything to free Zimbabwe from the shackles of ZANU PF tyranny.

Wow, talk about history repeating itself – and in a much bigger way!

This rather unfortunate and ill-conceived talk has become more pronounced as voices critical of Chamisa's apparent lackluster approach to the Zimbabwe regime grow louder.

As a result, more and more of his sycophants are ready to pounce upon any who may disagree with or call out their leader.

The most favored weapon is to question the accuser of what he himself is doing in the fight against ZANU PF oppression.

This is intended to shift the focus from Chamisa's own shortcomings and inadequacies to those of the people pointing a finger at him (for his glaring inaction as ZANU PF rides roughshod over the people of Zimbabwe).

Well, this is what is normally referred to as the 'ad hominem response': in which, instead of addressing the concerns raised, the accused opts to attack the person making the accusations.

'Ko iwe/imi muri kuitei' has become the song of most of Chamisa's followers.

In typical ZANU PF fashion, anyone who is not Chamisa is perceived as not doing anything to liberate Zimbabwe.

It is as if he (Chamisa) is the only one fighting for Zimbabwe's freedom!

Can there be a more ridiculous statement than this?

Let those still entertain those absurd and clearly misguided thoughts remember these simple truths.

Chamisa is the person he is today due to the two million plus support he receives from the ordinary man, woman, and child on the street.

Without them, there would be no Chamisa to talk about.

Those people's support and votes are what they are doing.

Ndizvo zvavari kuita.

So, for anyone to insinuate that Chamisa is the only one doing 'something', and everyone else is 'doing nothing', is truly unfortunate.

We all have our various contributions to the struggle for freedom in Zimbabwe.

Some are leaders.

Whilst the rest are at the grassroots operating on the ground – who may even call out and rebuke their leader when they are not satisfied with the direction he is going.

Furthermore, there are those who may not necessarily support Chamisa but are also fighting the regime in their own way.

We have those also placing their lives at risk whilst fighting injustices through their pens and mouths – and those bravely exposing corruption, especially that committed by those in power.

All these people are 'doing something'.

Ndizvo zvavari kuita.  

Today in rural areas, as during the 1970s liberation struggle, those who are suspected of supporting the opposition are going hungry as they are denied desperately needed food aid and agricultural inputs.

There are also those who have lost their lives or limbs or have actually fled the country (or home areas) due to ZANU PF heinous brutality.

Are those Chamisa sycophants surely alleging these people are not doing anything for Zimbabwe's freedom?

Well, let me put this to them: ndizvo zvavari kuita.

These people are actually suffering more for the cause of Zimbabwe than Chamisa or any of his hangers-on – who are living relatively comfortably and safely in their lavish dwellings.

Zimbabweans are fighting the system and have every right to call out a leader whom they believe is not doing enough.

No one forced Chamisa to step up as the leader of the opposition in Zimbabwe – thereby positioning himself as everyone's hope for a brighter tomorrow.

That is why those over two million people have placed their faith in him.

As such, he needs to take responsibility when the same people accuse him of not meeting their expectations.

A good leader accepts responsibility and carries his cross.

He does not duck accountability or dodge the bullet by placing the responsibility on the shoulders of those he pledged to lead.

That is why even the call for those unhappy with his leadership to form their own party is laughable.

Indeed, they will do so (form their own parties).

However, the fact still remains that it is terrible leadership for anyone to point to the door whenever there are voices of dissent.

I can only imagine what he would have done had he been in charge of our country's prisons!

How many of us would be languishing in jail, at the hands of a leader, and his hero-worshipping intolerant supporters who clearly do not understand democracy?

Zimbabweans have suffered enough, and they are fighting the system in their own way.

There is absolutely no room for arrogance and a condescending attitude.

● Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: mbofana.tendairuben73@gmail.com, or visit website:


Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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