via Mr President, you can keep your Zanu PF and we will keep our freedom – war veterans via ZimbabweSituation Facebook December 24, 2013
This week President Mugabe called on war veterans to come back to Zanu PF saying their departure makes him cry. It is the crying part that prompted me to respond because in our culture you don’t leave a king crying without attention.
Mr President you may recall that I responded to a number of your calls over the years but I did not see any sign of genuineness on each of the calls. Back in 1998 I pointed out that Zimbabwe’s core problem was not limited to land but more to do with disappointment that the ideals of the liberation struggle were being ignored or compromised. I am sure as you traverse the countryside in your limousine you often wonder whether you had been mistakenly driven into Somalia.
In another call at Heroes Acre you paused a public question to the workers whether they were still with you or they were forming their own party. Again I published an article “Mugabe must ask himself if he is still with the people”. Again you simplified the workers concerns to mere agitations by foreigners and you refused to address their basic concerns; freedom, livelihood, and development. For these responses I faced persecution even from those we fought to liberate, to the extent that I had to leave the country.
Now your call that war veterans should re-join a dying Zanu PF is nothing new and the real intention is obvious. When Zanu PF chefs are making money they don’t remember war veterans but each time they want people to use they call on war veterans. The real question, Mr President, is why they left in the first place. Your call suggests that they are lost or they are like your lost sheep which must be gathered into your paddock. Here are some few reasons why it’s difficult for war veterans, once they have tested freedom and respect, find it retrogressive to come back.
First, Mr President, just look at the faces around you. You will see the fear in their eyes and each time they shake your hand there is this feel of trembling of hands, pounding of the heart and a quaking of feet. That should tell you that something is wrong; don’t mistake it for respect. As an example, don’t you think that even Mnangagwa must be wondering for how long he has to wait in the queue? Mai Mujuru must be wondering what really happened to the General. Khaya Moyo must be wondering what he has to do to be confirmed Vice President. Perhaps Rugare Gumbo and Chihuri must still be asking why they were arrested in Mozambique and treated like dogs for no reason. With such feelings around you don’t you think it’s not normal?
These men and women are still around you because the only safe way from you is through the casket. They all want their freedom; freedom to aspire and to be who they are and not to remain an appendage of you. Even the Generals around you are so scared they have to sing your praises every day before they go to bed and when they wake up. Margratet Dongo once called them your wives. Some of them you hire, fire and rehire at will only because they no longer have a conscience.
Secondly, further away from you, Mr President, are people who worked so hard for freedom but for one reason have been victimised or sacrificed. Some of them were detained and tortured in Mozambique simply to make room for you. You have never apologised to ZIPA commanders you arrested and tortured in Mozambique, yet you expect them to just walk in as prodigal sons, apologise and ask to be forgiven. Some ex-service men and women still don’t understand why they were retired. They are licking their wounds in the various farms at which they have taken solace with plants and animal. Mr President, all is not well, the nation is in strange fear.
Thirdly, many in the population are so scared that they can’t even say your age. They can’t pass by your residence without being accosted by your security details. Mr President, there is a death shrouding our country, everyone is scared. In 1979 Edison Zvobgo addressed the media responding to the fear that Zanu PF was going to create a Nazi or Gestapo type of state and he reassured the world that Zanu PF was never going to setup a system similar to the one they were fighting. You ask yourself, Mr President, if this is the case or not. Smith was never as heavily guarded as you are; suggesting that you are the most scared citizen in this country. I shake my head and now understand that not everything that glitters is gold.
Fourthly, Mr President, war veterans are not dumb. When you forced an icon like Joshua Nkomo, Father Zimbabwe, to wear a dress and a wig in order to flee from your wrath, is that respect to war veterans that you now claim to bestow on the man. War veterans wonder why you have refused to burry genuine comrades like Henry Hamadziripi and Ndabaningi Sithole at Heroes Acre but you are quick to bury your primary school friends at that shrine. They find it insulting how it was so difficult for you to bury Edgar Tekere, of all people, at Heroes Acre. What does this tell about your view of war veterans? All this confirms your disrespect to our persons, our efforts and contribution to your being at State House. We would rather you step from that sky level pedestal and come down to the people and give them the freedom we fought for.
Now to call war veterans to come back to you is contemptuous of their intellect. How can they come back when that which drove them away is still intact? Can you call them back just to come and sing “Dear Leader”; something they were not forced to do even during the war? Some of them have found worthwhile occupations while others have joined teams like ZUNDE were they are treated as human beings; respected for who they are and free to follow their conscience.
Mr President, may I also remind you that you don’t have to be in Zanu PF to be accepted as a war veteran. War veterans fought for every Zimbabwean, not just Mugabe or those in ZANU PF. It is proper that they mingle and associate with every Zimbabwean, institution or progressive political persuasion. It would make you less anxious to realise that ZANU PF does not have 13 million members and one-party state mentality is an anathema to freedom and democracy. Maybe it’s not so obvious from the multiple security screens before you.
The only way people will embrace you, Mr President, is if you respect them and allow a free and fair election just before you go. You can still be a Mandela! Short of this our ancestors have rejected you, the comrades have abandoned you and the people have rejected you at the past three elections and you know it.
Mr President, you can keep your Zanu PF and we will keep our freedom. You can keep your Zanu PF and I will remain in ZUNDE.