Several southern African countries had to fight a protracted liberation armed struggle for the attainment of their independence from colonial rule – but, from the behavior of Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU PF party, one can easily conclude that it is the weakest, most unpopular, and insecure amongst them all.
In fact, it is a huge liability and embarrassment – likely to give a bad name to the, otherwise, largely good reputation of other liberation movements in the region.
Why do I say so?
Well, it is quite easy to figure this fact out
For those who have had an opportunity to study the political and democratic landscape in some of these armed liberation struggle-born countries, most particularly, South Africa and Namibia, it is clear that their levels of maturity are way higher than their Zimbabwean counterparts since their ruling parties – ANC (African National Congress), and SWAPO (South West Africa People’s Organization) – exhibit rare confidence in their abilities, which is seriously lacking in ZANU PF.
To begin with, in spite of attaining their political independence from colonial rule much later than Zimbabwe (1980) – both South Africa (1994) and Namibia (1990), have held regular elections, that has never failed in readily receiving resounding thumbs up from both their own local and international, communities.
Unlike their neighbour, Zimbabwe, both South Africa and Namibia ruling parties have never sought to abuse their liberation war credentials to impose their will and rulership over their own citizenry, neither have they used this as an undemocratic and repressive justification to rule forever.
In spite of their well-known unpopular failures – such as rampant and wild corruption at the highest levels of political echelons, and other governance short-comings, that have left the majority still on the fringes of the economic spectrum – nonetheless, both South Africa’s ANC, and Namibia’s SWAPO, have never stifled public outrage by massacring tens of thousands of innocent civilians…either regarded as of the wrong and undesired ethnicity, or opposition supporters.
We have never heard reports of those countries’ former liberation struggle heroes and heroines issuing threats of going back to war should the opposition win the popular mandate – regardless of widely-held views that, such a political party as the Democratic Alliance (DA) was a mere extension of the legacy of apartheid.
Never have those countries’ militaries ever meddled in political affairs, nor their generals threatened never to salute any opposition leader elected by the people, who would not possess liberation war credentials.
Their defence forces – despite being born out of these nationalist organizations – have largely remained professional, and strictly confined to the barracks, only carrying out their constitutional obligations, when required, with utmost proficiency.
As it turns out, each and every election in those liberation struggle-birthed countries in the region, have been relatively peaceful, free, fair, and credible – something that has been an envy for all.
The fact that there has never been a change of ruling political parties in these countries is purely a matter of popular choice – a failure entirely attributable to the opposition parties themselves, and their inability to offer attractive policies and programs to the electorate, as opposed to the brazen stealing and manipulation of votes by their neighbour.
A look at those countries’ public broadcasters serves as another testimony of the ANC and SWAPO being democratically and politically light-years ahead of their counterparts in Zimbabwe (ZANU PF) – as they have never been turned into laughable and pathetic little desks in the governing parties’ information and publicity departments.
Both the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation), and NBC (Namibian Broadcasting Corporation) are envy for all – with their programming which tries its best, especially the SABC, to hold their leaders to account, and answerable to the people.
They have commendably managed to transform what used to be the voice of oppression against the people, to be the voice of the people against oppression – yet, ZBC (Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation) has remained the voice of oppression against the people, from the colonial into post-independence eras.
There is nothing more humiliating than watching SABC and then switching television channels to ZBC, as it would be as if one had actually switched planets – from a highly advanced civilization, to a primitive barbaric society.
Which is a thorough representation of the broader political landscape in Zimbabwe – betraying a ruling party that has never had any confidence of winning popular support on a peaceful, level, free, fair, and credible playing field.
Unlike their fellow brothers and sisters in South Africa and Namibia – who have remained in power, predominantly due to either their popularity, or the opposition’s inaptitude – ZANU PF has mainly survived by crooked means, primarily based on brute violence (including, massacring tens of thousands of unarmed innocent civilians), electoral fraud (through a captured election commission, and the involvement of security forces in the country’s body politic), the misuse of traditional leaders to coerce and intimidate the rural populace (from spewing downright lies, and forcing villagers to vote for the ruling party, to distributing much-needed food aid, and agricultural inputs on partisan basis).
ZANU PF has proven to be an unredeemable embarrassment and liability to other fellow armed liberation movements in the region – which continues to soil the name and image of these struggle stalwarts – and, should be reined in by its comrades.
Parties such as the ANC and SWAPO played a most emulable role in their countries’ independence and creation, and should normally be held in high esteem – yet, with a rebel outcast and outlaw just across the border, sharing the same liberation struggle history, whilst seriously damaging this brand, through unspeakable crimes against their own citizenry, there is need for ZANU PF to finally be put in its place.
ANC and SWAPO have, since coming into power, proven that they did not go to war for their own leaders’ personal benefit, but for the entire country, in spite of the challenges encountered along the way.
Revolutionary icons as Nelson Mandela and Sam Nujoma never megaphoned their decades of persecution, pain, and imprisonment as justification to rule forever – if anything, Mandela was more than willing to forgo the new democratic South Africa’s presidency, as he felt he had already done enough for his country.
Yet, just across the border into Zimbabwe, we still have those threatening that war veterans will never stand by, and accept, anyone else winning elections, and taking over power – exposing that the ruling elite never went to war for anyone else, except themselves.
Why are they so terrified of a peaceful, free, fair, and credible playing field?
One would have thought that after such over-powering dominance of the political landscape for forty years – characterized by relentless persecution and decimation of the opposition, capture and abuse of state institutions, skewed state media coverage, and general mistreatment of the population – this time around ZANU PF would be confident of winning an election without resorting to any despicable and undemocratic tricks.
But, clearly, I was wrong! What a bunch of losers!
© 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: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org