Today, 26th December, Zimbabwe commemorates the tragic death of the bravest men ever to come out of the country — General Josiah Magama Tongogara.
Tendai Ruben Mbofana
This was after a most horrific but highly suspicious road accident as he travelled from Mozambique in 1979 to announce the end of the liberation war to combatants on the ground.
One can not help but wonder whether this country will ever produce men and women with such unwavering and unflinching gallantry.
Genuine heroism is not self-serving but totally for the good of all people.
Tongogara committed his life — being prepared to lay it down — to the fearless fight against oppression and subjugation.
Throughout his participation in the liberation struggle, he never substituted his love for the attainment of justice for all in this country for his own comfort or survival.
Neither did he regard the fight for the freedom of Zimbabweans as a career or way of earning a living for his family.
In fact, during a 1979 interview with BBC’s Robin White (at the end of Lancaster House talks in London), Tongogara made it abundantly unequivocal that he was not interested in any top government position post-independence.
He had played his part in bringing justice and equality to all the people of Zimbabwe, regardless of race.
His life became the struggle, and the struggle became his life.
He never chose the easier route but chose the most arduous and dangerous one.
Nonetheless, independent Zimbabwe swiftly turned back into that dark place of oppression, subjugation, and economic deprivation of the majority.
For the past 43 years, the majority have endured immeasurable pain and suffering — maybe only comparable to the Rhodesia.
Ironically, this has been at the hands of the same political party that fought against colonial rule.
Even that comparison is debatable, as those who have lived in the Rhodesian era argue that their economic life was actually better.
There were plentiful jobs in spite of the limited educational opportunities.
Workers were paid on time – meagre wages, which, however, could buy the most basic essentials and a few extra luxuries.
Most workers were provided with accommodation by their employers and terminal benefits for a relatively comfortable retirement.
Hospitals were well-stocked with all the essential medication, whilst most necessary medical procedures could be done within the country.
However, in independent Zimbabwe, the very opposite of the above is true!
If that is the case, why are the people of Zimbabwe not uniting in fearlessly standing up against their oppressors?
Where are the modern-day Tongogaras?
With so much suffering, what will it take for Zimbabweans to finally stand up for themselves?
However, our silence — save for a few quiet rumblings in corners and on commuter omnibuses – paints an illusion of normalcy and acceptance.
How can we accept and be alright with such a warped scenario?
Can anyone be alright with suffering?
The genuine struggle for one’s own livelihood — and that of our children and grandchildren – can never be achieved by passively accepting poverty, suffering, and oppression.
It is similar to a mother whose child is trapped in a burning house – what mother would not rush into a building where she may likely also lose her life?
It is a decision that one has to deliberately make — that, ‘whether I die or not, I have to do this for the sake of my children, or for my nation’.
As the saying goes: Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to master fear.
It is the ability to overcome fear and do what is required no matter how dangerous.
We can not continue meekly standing by as nearly 49 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty.
We can not merely watch as we fail to provide for our families.
We need to have one common purpose — that is: to demand that our lives be bestowed the value which they are worth.
This is not politics — as this needs not be about the toppling of the government — but an improvement of our lives.
In fact, we should never allow political parties to infiltrate our struggle – since these organisations have their own selfish objectives, which are at odds with our own.
Political parties are after political power, and they abuse us to fulfil that objective.
We, ourselves, know what we want and should be able to stand fearlessly in demanding our lives back.
As long as we allow ourselves to be divided by political parties and other organisations that have their own agendas, we will forever be weak.
Let us be united under one banner: Zimbabwe.
No other interests should stand in the way.
Unless, and until we ourselves demand our rights without any fear — we can kiss any hope of a better life goodbye.
We now need a new breed of Tongogaras – who are driven by the genuine passion for the country and its people.
This struggle can never be won when we are led by those with their own personal agendas and ambitions.
The freedom and prosperity of each and every Zimbabwean should be the only objective.
Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit website: https://mbofanatendairuben.news.blog/