A response letter to the different opinion pieces by Prof Raftopoulos, Adv Mahere, Dr Moyo and Hon Biti
By Robert Chiwadzwa
What is making sense?
The opinions shared by the aforementioned writers are making a lot of sense regarding the situation in Zimbabwe.
What doesn’t sound quite right?
The issue of land raised by Dr Moyo no longer requires the luxury of lamentation nor the luxury of agonizing nor rationalization. Let it be clear that, due to this land question we have lamented, agonized and rationalized for too long. I submit that, regardless of political background or affiliation, gender, race or tribe those capable of producing something to feed the nation must be given the land resource. Of course, there is a sense in which some of the ideas as proffered by the Minister are holding water. I do not know however, if there is a gap or synchronicity between what he is saying (theory) and what is actually transpiring on the ground (practice). In addition, those at the helm of power should just declare their land assets so that corruption on the land issue is dealt with from the top once and for all.
I have chosen to respond to you concerning the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe. I am a Zimbabwean, and I set my pride in my nationality and race over against a hostile public opinion. Men have tried to compare races and nationalities in particular, on the basis of some equality. In all the works of nature, equality, if by it we mean identity, is an impossible dream! Search the universe! You will find no two units alike. The scientists tell us there are no two cells, no two atoms, identical.
I would ask you not to compare Zimbabwe to any other African country, neither any European nation nor to the Americans or Asians. I make this request not from any fear that such comparison might bring humiliation upon Zimbabwe. The reason I have stated is that, a common standard is impossible!
Come with me to the ancient oldest city of Zimbabwe, Masvingo, the city of the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. The grandeur of these venerable ruins and the gigantic proportions of its architecture reduce to insignificance the boasted monuments of other nations. The Victoria Falls of Zimbabwe are the falls to which the world presents nothing comparable. The mighty Hilltops of Matopos seem to look with disdain on every other work of human art and to vie with nature herself. All this glory of Zimbabwe belongs to me and you and the unborn but yet to be born generations.
The Zimbabwean already recognizes her anomalous position and desires a change. The brighter day is rising upon Zimbabwe. Already I seem to see her chains dissolved, her mining sector yellow with production, her Bulawayo, Bindura and her Chinhoyi the cities of science and technology reflecting the glory of the rising sun from the spires of their universities. Her Midlands capital-Gweru and her Eastern border-town, Mutare greenish with commerce and agriculture. Her crowded capital city formerly, Salisbury now Harare, sending forth the hum of business and all her sons and daughters employed in advancing the victories of peace-greater and more uniting than the spoils of conflicts.
Yes, the new Zimbabwe belongs to this energetic and pragmatic generation period! By this phrase energetic and pragmatic I wish to be understood to mean the entrance into a new life of political smartness. Basically, defined by colourful and brilliant ideas. Decolonizing and dezanufying the minds. Getting rid of the western ideology imposters and start to act on what is exactly in the best interest of every Zimbabwean. Embracing the diverse phases of a higher, complex existence of every Zimbabwean. The basic factor which assures us of all this, resides in the awakened youth-consciousness movement. This gives the nation a clear perception of its elemental needs and of the youths’ undeveloped powers. This therefore ultimately leads the nation to the attainment of that higher and advanced standard of life.
I am advocating self-determination by Zimbabwe. I am against the return of European colonialism in Zimbabwe or the influence of America. At the same time, I fear that if Zimbabwe do not get rid of the colonial legacy as well as the liberation mantra to control its destiny, including the use of benevolent force for self-pacification, it will once again be a victim of malevolent colonial force and the heroic tokenism by plenipotentiary politicians.
We would not talk of freedom, if there was no prior condition in which this was denied; I would not be against the zanu-pf rule if we had not been its victims; we would not be against the sanctions mantra if we had not been their victims; we would not proclaim youth consciousness movement, if it had not been denied or degraded; and we would not insist on Zimbocentrism, if it had not been for Eurocentric, Anglophone negations to be specific. Of necessity, under the determinate global condition a Zimbabwean renaissance must entail a rebellion a conscious rejection of the post-colonial legacy, a determined negation of negations.
European colonial rule in Zimbabwe was better and more effective in building modern internationally recognized infrastructures than in destroying them. Salisbury, the sunshine city and capital city of Zimbabwe is now in a very sorry state, with the city fathers not knowing what to do with garbage. Interestingly, somewhere, in Sweden they are importing garbage for the purpose of agriculture. All highways are crying foul as potholes are a common seen. I remember so very well one of my friends at university saying in Zimbabwe we do not have potholes, potholes are found in America. Thus, submitting to us to find out the best name befitting the situation in Zimbabwe. On another occasion concerning the agricultural sector, one of my high school colleagues posited that, we are now growing sora beans in Zimbabwe. A derogatory term used to refer to the production of nothing except grass which grows on its own and dies naturally on its own. Thus, to demonstrating that we have dismally failed to produce something agriculturally to feed ourselves. The tension between the imported colonial governance cultures and structures and resilient liberation cultures is part of the post-colonial luxurious and rationalization in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe upon attaining liberation from the British colonial rule in the 80s was not able to maintain its democratic spaces and orders beyond the first decade of independence. Within the first decade of our political independence the military captured power. This coupled with the elected president becoming a dictator resulted in a civil war, or what is generally referred to as the Matebeleland massacres. The tragedies of Zimbabwe did not end there, in the second decade the ruling party outlawed any rival political party and turned the country into a one party state making anybody challenging them an odd one out or a dissident.
What needs to be done to get Zimbabwe back on track?
- You have all heard of Zimbabwean personality; of African-Zimbabwean democracy to be specific; of the Zimbabwean way to socialism, of negritude, and so on. They are all props we have fashioned at different times to help us get on our feet again. Once we are up we shall not need any of them anymore. But for the moment it is in the nature of things that we may need to counter party-politics with true patriotism in all circles of lives.
- Zimbabwe must come to terms with her past. Only this will enable her to establish an honest enabling all parties in this trajectory to inaugurate a new era of interaction. To this end we must establish the total truth on colonization, the liberation struggle, the gukurahundi both the Matebeleland and Mashonaland; the partition of the Southern Africa’s bread basket nation; dictatorship; the land reform program; corruption and call attention to the deleterious effects of these experiences on Zimbabwe’s beautiful grounds.
- Before a seed germinates it must first decay. A mango tree grows out of a decaying mango seed (Mazrui 1986). A new Zimbabwe may germinate in the decay of the present one and I call upon all the youths to take part in presiding over the process. Youth participation is key to the realization of the Zimbabwe we all want. Chinua Achebe was right, where are the young suckers that will grow when these old bananas dies? And I also possess the same question indeed. I submit that all the youths regardless of gender, class, position, tribe or status must take part towards the rebuilding of Zimbabwe to its previous gigantic proportions in the affairs of the world. By whatever dint I don’t care, let us all contribute for as long it is in the positive interest of every Zimbabwean, and as well it can serve the jeopardized future generations. Participation is no longer a vague ideology in the wishful thinking of the new idealists- it is now a pre-condition for survival. I appeal to all the youths that they should not expect change to visit in a silver platter. Like germinating seeds the youths must first decay. It is in that decaying process of the today’s youths that we will all realize our potentials as a nation.
- Democratic governance needs also to be ensured in a bid to take Zimbabwe back on the track. Democratic governance is a prerequisite for human development. The government institutions needs to be perfectly neutral as those who defines governance proclaim. There is no a universally applied definition of governance due to a multifarious contextual usage of the term. However, in its simplest reductionism senses the term means a neutral concept comprising the complex mechanisms, systems, processes and institutions through which the citizens articulate their interests, exercise their rights and obligations and mediate their differences. It is from this backdrop that Zimbabwe can then realize her potentials as everyone who is a Zimbabwean national will be a significant player in the affairs of his or her nation. Thus, getting Zimbabwe back on its track through diversification of ideas, tolerance and inclusivity. Prof Lumumba once remarked that, seas and oceans are big because they accept all the rivers that feeds into them. The same applies with those in leadership position, they should listen to all the voices that reaches out to them.
- Integrity. There is no shortage of people who have spoken on the means to get Zimbabwe back on its track. However, the issue of integrity as one of the key mechanisms that can help Zimbabwe back on its track remains an evergreen subject. I wanted to discuss this issue under democratic or good governance but I have chosen to give it its own paragraph so that the meaning it carries can be easily understood. Integrity is the mother’s milk for human development. In that regard, if everyone is to evaluate his or her day must come to terms with this idea whether all that he or she has been doing was in the best interest of the nation. The intercourse between corruption and lack of integrity is what has brought us as a nation in this mess. Thus, Zimbabwe needs leaders, workers, citizens with integrity to serve as the messiahs to lure her lost glory and pride amongst the host of nations.
I thank you!
Source: Robert Chiwadzwa
aka: R. Chiwaz Jnr
The preacher of education and industry and an apostle of the new order of things
- The late Mr Pixley ka isaka seme
- The late Prof Ali. A Mazrui
- Our own African Living Legend Prof PLO Lumumba