Zimbabwe leaders who have nothing to show for 40 years of misrule now find glory in liberation struggle tales 

“Matakadya kare haanyaradzi pwere” – that is the saying that I always think of whenever our leaders in Zimbabwe launch a book glorifying their liberation struggle exploits of more than forty years ago.

Source: Zimbabwe leaders who have nothing to show for 40 years of misrule now find glory in liberation struggle tales – The Zimbabwean

Tendai Ruben Mbofana


Inevitably, I find myself wondering whether this newfound craze is merely motivated by a genuine desire to capture and document the history of our country – more specifically, their own role – or, is there some other reason.

Are we ever going to see these same leaders publishing books highlighting their “successes” over the forty years that they have been in power?

Do they have anything to literally “write home about” their post-liberation struggle years at the helm of a post-independence Zimbabwe?

As the Shona adage at the beginning of this article alludes to – a wailing hungry baby can not be placated by the food he ate a long time ago.

In other words, a failed leader can not hope to gloss over his shameful mis-governance and incompetence of the recent past, by evoking exploits and successes achieved over four decades ago.

It simply does not work that way.

If these Zimbabwean leaders truly wanted to immortalize their glorious days, they would not have limited their “achievements” to fighting in the 1970s liberation struggle, their persecution, arrest, and jailing at the hands of the colonial regime, and their subsequent unflinching bravery, regardless of the challenges, leading to Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.

They should have proceeded to tell us all of what precisely they achieved in a post-independence Zimbabwe, and showing us just how much they have accomplished for the ordinary citizenry.

That is the book I eagerly look forward to, and will definitely buy.

Having spent an average fifteen years dodging Rhodesian bullets, missing the hanging gallows by a whisker, and playing a gallant role in fighting for an independent Zimbabwe – these same individuals proceeded to spend the next forty years plundering the resources of that same country they fought for (driving it straight into the abyss of poverty and suffering for the masses), and reviving similar repressive tactics (they themselves endured under Rhodesia) on the defenceless majority.

What were the objectives of that “life of sacrifice”?

Was it in order to enrich and empower only those who would have done the “sacrificing”?

But, then, that would be untrue – since those who did most of the actual fighting on the ground (who faced off with the enemy on the front, were shot at, and their limbs blown off by landmines) still wallow in abject poverty forty years after their most courageous true sacrifice, and find themselves surviving on handouts from those who now want to steal the liberation struggle glory from the real heroes.

Indeed, those are the people I would rather read their books – and, would even be highly honoured, humbled, and prepared to assist them (as much as I can) write and publish their stories

If anything, the only thing the ever-suffering and oppressed people of Zimbabwe can learn from these self-extolling books by the privileged opulent ruling elite is that, what they (and, the majority) endured during that time, at the hands of the Rhodesia regime, is exactly what is being repeated again today, under the same people who claim to have had a “life of sacrifice”.

These books expose the source of the post-independence Zimbabwe regime’s cruelty and barbarity – as they are merely copying and pasting what they themselves went through during the Rhodesia years, and unleashing the same mercilessness and savagery on ordinary Zimbabweans.

However, what we can also learn from these books is that, evil – no matter how packaged it is delivered, and how cruel is may be – should never be permitted to flourish, or be tolerated, but be faced without any fear, regardless of what the oppressor may throw at us.

My prayer is that, the thousands and thousands of books that are bought will serve as an inspiration to all Zimbabweans that evil can be defeated.

At the same time, let those in power in Zimbabwe know that, irrespective of their past gallantry, the unimaginable suffering that they have caused (and are causing) the people, can never be whitewashed by some past glory.

They will be held accountable for their brazen looting of our national resources, and the impoverishment and subjugation of every man, woman, and child in this country.

© 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: mbofana.tendairuben73@gmail.com


  • comment-avatar
    Mukanya 1 year ago

    True..Mbofana you have hit the nail right on its Head..!

  • comment-avatar
    J. Matabeleland 1 year ago

    Yes! How often do we hear comments from our older people where they say their life under colonial oppression offered a more equable and dignified existence than that which we “enjoy” under the control of our own racist oppressors. See 40 > 50 yr old photos of our people moving around the streets of Umtali, Bulawayo or Salisbury. Everything is tidy, our people are well dressed, look healthy, and seem to move freely among their “oppressors”. Now, many citizens are dressed in rags, survive out of the gutters and are constantly subjected to police or party harassment and violence!

    Maybe our only real “Liberation Heroes” are the ones we never hear about – because most of them got killed ???

  • comment-avatar
    njalo 1 year ago

    Reuben, as always, has written well on the subject. He also knows full well that the majority of his subject targets would be barely able to interpret or comprehend his article UNLESS HE WRITES IT IN SHONA AND/OR SINDEBELE AND PUBLISHES IT MORE WIDELY.