The 1960s and 70s liberation struggle against colonial and White supremacist rule – where the majority Black population was largely subjugated and stripped of their dignity and humanity, by a minority group – was arguably the most noble and patriotic undertaking in the history of this nation.
There is no denying the profound gallantry and sheer unquivering determination exhibited by our honorable Sons and Daughters of the Soil – who gave everything for the emancipation of the people of Zimbabwe, including leaving behind families, forgoing their education and employment (thereby, sacrificing their prospects and futures), as well as a willingness and preparedness to pay the ultimate price with their own lives.
Who, today, can genuinely claim to possess such clearly rare and unparalleled heroism and unshakable faith in what they claim to believe in?
Even in the Church, let us be brutally honest – how many of us are truly ready to lay down our lives for Jesus Christ?
As such, in my heart, these intrepid men and women will forever have a special enviable place.
Nonetheless, it always grieves that same heart of mine, when I watch some of these veterans of our country’s war of liberation, appear as if they fought for a particular political party (ZANU PF) – instead of the entirety of the people of this great nation of Zimbabwe.
At this juncture, let me hasten to emphasize that, this is just a small group – since I have quite close and affectionate relationships with a number of our valiant heroes, whose passion for the freedom and prosperity of the majority of Zimbabweans has never been dampened or abated, and who believe that the citizenry is not yet independent, but still reeling under the choking heavy yoke of oppression, now under our “new leaders”.
These are the people I continue to hold invaluable and unquestioned respect for – who fully understand that the liberation struggle was waged for the people of Zimbabwe, and not a political party.
In fact, if truth be told – waging a war for a political entity is nothing short of brazen terrorism, but fighting for the emancipation of a whole nation is a liberation struggle.
Therefore, what we sadly witness in Zimbabwe is that – amongst those who went to war in the 1960s and 1970s, there are those who have proven themselves true freedom fighters – whereas, unfortunately a few have shown to have been mere terrorists and mercenaries, who bore arms (leading to the tragic loss of thousands of innocent souls) purely for the interest of ZANU PF attaining power.
This latter group – as much as it is small, and the minority of war veterans – however, are the most vocal, on account of their favored position within the ruling party, with organizations that are permitted to erroneously and deceptively portray themselves as representative of all our liberation struggle icons.
These are the same entities who do not care that the people of Zimbabwe are still enduring untold repression and hardships under our so-called “post-independence” government (whose ruthless reign of terror against any voices of dissent is legendary) and, are plundering our nation’s abundant resources, with reckless abandon, for their own enrichment (whilst the majority are left to wallow in abject poverty).
These so-called war veterans appear not to mind that our “post-independence” ruling elite have proven, time and time again, that they are no better than the colonialists they replaced – and, are more than prepared to unleash brutality on the same population they claim to have liberated, should they question the ruling elite, and refuse to tow the party line.
Surely, are we to believe that is truly the reason thousands perished during the 1960s an 70s, with many more losing their limbs, and watched as their family members were butchered in cold blood?
Is this why so many of our Sons and Daughters of the Soil sacrificed everything, so that one political party can ride roughshod over the people of Zimbabwe, and trample upon their rights with impunity – sadly, including the majority of ordinary war veterans, who have been dumped to the caprices of a cruel world, and have to beg for a living pension?
I sincerely and earnestly implore all those who fought in our country’s liberation struggle to look themselves in the mirror, and introspect – did they put their lives on the line for a political party, or for the people of Zimbabwe?
If the answer is the latter – then, these same people of Zimbabwe are still being subjected to inhumane and intolerable oppression and indignity today, under our “post-independence” leaders.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org