Yesterday, I penned possibly the most painful and heartrending article, entitled, “Our elderly experienced life under both Rhodesia and Zimbabwe, so why arrest them when they say Smith was better?” – as it found it extremely troubling and even enraging to fathom the depths in which our tyrannical ruling elite have sank, and how low they are prepared to stoop, in their shallow selfish power-greed attempts in cowering the citizenry, as to cruelly persecute an elderly lady, just because she had expressed her genuine views that colonial Rhodesia, under Ian Douglas Smith, was much better than an independent Zimbabwe, especially currently presided over by the so-called “Second Republic”.
Who does that? What uncultured and uncivilized administration would mistreat its elderly people, to the extent of arresting them (although, the lady from the city of Gweru was reportedly released after receiving a stern warning never to repeat her statement), simply because they openly expressed their opinions on the state of our country?
As I pondered upon this gross miscarriage of justice well into the night – since I was so hurt by this purely misguided unAfrican savagery that I could not stop thinking about – I started wondering why we, as black Zimbabweans, appear to be so oppressive, intolerant, and brutal towards our own, as opposed to how white Rhodesians treated one another.
Unfortunately, I failed to come up with the answer to the “why”, but it is extremely disturbing and shameful that, we can be so unculturally hateful, vengeful, and cruel towards each other – whilst white Rhodesians exhibited so much unity, with a government that treated them all as first-class citizens, whose voices (no matter how diverse, divergent, or dissenting) were always respected.
Is it then any wonder that the elderly Gweru woman – as well as a significant part of those who experienced life in both Rhodesia and Zimbabwe – would consider the former as having been better.
As much as reports say that she was complaining over the high cost of living, the pathetic welfare and neglect of the elderly, and general economic suffering of the majority in Zimbabwe – facts she perfectly nailed – after her mistreatment by the “independent” Zimbabwe regime a week ago, I am sure she has added another reason why Smith as better.
The levels of political subjugation and dictatorship by a black ruling elite upon its own kith and kin, only serves to paint us with a very negative and embarrassing brush.
Yesterday, as I was writing the aforementioned article, and started listing the various administrations that our elderly have lived under, I was amazed at how power readily changed hands in colonial Rhodesia, contrary to “independent” Zimbabwe.
In the last forty-one (41) years of post-independence Zimbabwe, we have only had one political party in charge (ZANU PF), and only two leaders (Robert Gabriel Mugabe, and Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa) – and, the former only leaving office after having been toppled by the latter in a military coup d’etat in November 2017.
However, it becomes very interesting when I look at the list of prime ministers that presided over Rhodesia, after it became a so-called “self-governing colony of the United Kingdom” in 1923 (with Charles Coughlan), to 1979 (Smith replaced by Abel Muzorewa), when British colonialism came to an end – I deliberately mentioned, “British colonialism”, as the country never truly became independent, but merely changed colonizers, and is now in the grip of the Chinese.
In total, there were ten different administrations, and three political parties, that freely contested and won elections to govern the country, without any reports of vote rigging and electoral fraud – with every candidate and party being guaranteed free campaigning, and access to the white community.
It would be interesting to note that there were never any reports of suppression and brutality against any opposition party, nor did the ruling establishment seek to amend the constitution in order to extend its hold on power (or, that of its leader) at the expense of other rival white political parties.
Although, state media, such as the Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation (RBC) clearly served the interests of the white setter minority, they, nonetheless, were never biased towards, or against, any white political party – as they were truly fair and balanced in their reportage and coverage.
The same can be said about the military, intelligence, law enforcement, and judiciary – as they were never deployed against fellow white people…let alone, fatally shooting them, and neither where there any reports of members and supporters of opposition white parties being abducted, sexually abused, beaten up, homes burnt to the ground, or persecuted by prosecution by the weaponization of the law.
Yet, come “independent” Zimbabwe, and we have a complete 180° (degree) u-turn – as the black ruling elite, never governed their fellow black population in the same manner respective white administrations treated their own.
All we have witnessed ever since 1980, has been a genocide against fellow black Ndebele-speaking population (massacring over 20,000), hundreds more opposition supporters murdered, and hundreds more mutilated, beaten up, and homes razed, whilst activists (or, even our innocent elderly lady) have been persecuted by prosecution, as well as reportedly abducted and sexually abused.
Those who boldly criticize the ruling elite are labeled “unpatriotic”, and could face jail time, and banning from contesting elections, should the mooted Patriotic Act be enacted.
No elections since the year 2000 have ever been free, fair, and credible – something even the ousted Mugabe later confessed, admitting that he actually overwhelmingly lost to the opposition MDC’s Morgan Richard Tsvangirai in 2008, in an election shamefully rigged in the incumbent’s favour.
This is a country where the Constitution can be easily amended merely to protect and consolidate the grip on power of only one man.
At the same time, state media serves only one political party, and one leader; whilst food and other aid is distributed on partisan lines.
Does all this not paint a truly embarrassing and humiliating picture about how we are governing the country as black people, and are so cruel and barbaric even towards our own?
Should this not prod those in power to reevaluate how they are running the country, and start respecting the people they always boast of having “freed”?
If white Rhodesians could be so loving, respecting, protecting, and caring of their own, why can we not do the same?
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and political commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263733399640, or email: email@example.com