This past week has been a most painful one for all of us who respect and honour the history of our beloved country, its legacy, and the struggle that brought about its liberation.
Firstly, there was the callous arrest of nine liberation war veterans, who had been picketing outside the offices of minister of finance, Mthuli Ncube, demanding an upward review of their paltry allowances – who were, nonetheless, released without charge after a public outcry.
Then, secondly, the shameful attempts by the supposed chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLVWA), Christopher Mutsvangwa, to somehow bestow ridiculous powers on opposition MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa, to order the arrest of these nine Sons and Daughters of the Soil.
Honestly, how can an opposition leader, whose own political party has perennially been at the receiving end of state-sponsored repression and persecution – using the same security forces as the main weapon of choice – suddenly possess the authority to order them to arrest anyone?
Filled with this profound indignation, at how this ruthless and cold-hearted regime continues to arrogantly ride roughshod over those who sacrificed their lives and livelihoods for our country’s independence – a far cry from those amongst us today, who can so easily sell out the people, for thirty pieces of silver – I wondered how I could pen these troubling thoughts.
Well, as it turned out, my mentor and role model, the illustrious prolific author and historian Ken Mufuka, came to the rescue.
As I was seeking inspiration for the article – as I always pray before writing, for Jehovah God’s leading through His Holy Spirit – along came Mufuka on the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) World News, speaking about his work in researching the history of our magnificent Great Zimbabwe monument.
Immediately, I was captivated by his statement, “Everyone in power wants to control history as it gives them legitimacy”.
The inspiration hit me!
Indeed, those in power in Zimbabwe have, for a long time, sought to control this country’s history, in order to derive a legitimacy that they were never entitled to – by their devious and disingenuous vain attempts to portray themselves as the real heroes and heroines of the struggle for the country’s emancipation, yet they merely hijacked a cause that was being fought by the people they are arresting today.
In fact, something else that Mufuka said touched the very depths of my heart – the reason he had to flee Zimbabwe in a hurry in the 1980s was because he feared the country’s ruling elite, after refusing to allege that the Great Zimbabwe monument had been built by “revolutionaries”.
This assertion further confirmed and buttresses my point that, the history of our nation has, over the past decades – including, through disputed and dubious biographies recently published by those in power, and other supposed ‘authentic historical accounts’ – been filled with blatant misinformation, disinformation, and downright lies about their liberation war credentials, in order to provide those in power unjustified and undeserved legitimacy.
This has also been done to cover up a stubborn fact – that the people who have been in charge of post-independence Zimbabwe were nothing more than pretenders, liars, and hijackers, who took over the struggle through savage brutality and murder of the real heroes and heroines of the liberation, for their own selfish ambitions.
No wonder veterans of our fight for independence have never been recognize or respected, ever since returning from the bush in 1979.
Their lives have been all about suffering and crying out for their dignity – as the ruling establishment has never shied away from treating them with the utmost disdain and hatred – only using them (and, pretending to care about them) as convenient tools in times of elections.
After being ignored, teargassed, and now arrested by our own post-independence leaders – whilst, spending the past four decades wallowing in abject poverty, and forgotten by the powers-that-be – for how long will our gallant Sons and Daughters of the Soil continue to tolerate this bondage they have been shacked under by those who abused their sacrifices?
Whilst those who killed the real commanders of the struggle live opulently – drinking and eating only the finest, sleeping and staying in luxury, with their children all over the world, or joining their parents in looting the nation’s resources – why do our war veterans still carry hope for recognition, dignity, and respect without taking a more decisive step?
If they had the boldness to stand up against Ian Douglas Smith and Rhodesia, why can they not do the same today?
This is the time that our valiant true liberation heroes and heroines stood up, said enough is enough, and unshackled themselves from those who hijacked the struggle – who never cared, and will never care, for them.
They should never feel alone, as they have today’s new generation of liberation fighters on their side.
Furthermore, we are more than willing to participate in the writing of the true story of the liberation struggle, so that it can finally be told.
© 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