Zimbabweans’ own political myopia and desperation underpin their continued suffering

This morning I was planning to write an article imploring our veterans of the liberation struggle to revert to their 1960s and 1970s unrelenting resolve – anchored by unquestionable patriotism and unshakable fearlessness – to protect and safeguard the majority of this country’s citizenry against a minority ruling establishment’s brazen oppression and subjugation.

Source: Zimbabweans’ own political myopia and desperation underpin their continued suffering – The Zimbabwean

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

I really wanted to hammer it home that, our struggle Sons and Daughter of the Soil were the only ones who had unquestionably proven their love for the Motherland, and unwillingness to be used by a few with their own self-serving agendas – such that, they were willing to sacrifice everything, and place their own lives (and those of their families) at great peril, as they valiantly fought for the majority…and, not for the minority.

Yet, today, we do not see that strength and determination any more – as these gallant men and women appear to have been finally subdued by a greedy, repressive, and selfish ruling elite – leaving the rest of the population wondering what ever happened to those insipid boys and girls (some as young as fourteen years old), whose strong-will drove them to breach Rhodesia’s borders to join the fight against our suffering and oppression.

What we, however, find today is not only painfully disheartening, but also discouraging – as we watch those who once appeared fearless and pro-people, being reduced to mere shells of their former selves, whilst some have even joined forces with our new breed of oppressors.

This has left the rest of us wondering that, if this can happen to such people, then what about us mere mortals – who have never truly directly confronted a powerful and vicious regime, which is bent on serving its own interests above those of the citizenry…and, coming out victorious?

In fact, should our veterans of the liberation struggle not have been the real vanguards of our independence and freedoms – but, then, where are they, whilst we suffer?

However, as I was just about to ‘put pen to paper’, I was unexpectedly struck by what I would term, ‘the most disturbing images I have ever had the misfortune of witnessing in my entire life’.

There, on the television screen, was a reminder of that fateful day, 24 November 2017 – when the previously sacked ruling ZANU PF and Zimbabwe vice president, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, was sworn in as the new president, after a brazen military coup d’etat, that toppled long-time tyrant Robert Gabriel Mugabe, a few days prior.

Those two weeks in November were the most tragic and unfortunate, on the part of ordinary Zimbabweans – which left me scarred for life, as I finally realized the people’s myopia and political immaturity.

Why, on Mother Earth, would they fill the National Sports Stadium to the brim, in wild celebrations, as they jubilantly welcomed a regime that they should have known was no better, or any different, from the one they had helped oust a couple of days earlier?

As a matter of fact, Zimbabweans, in their thousands, had thronged the streets of the capital Harare – demanding Mugabe’s long-overdue resignation, whilst at the same time proudly embracing a group of people, who had all along been known as the old dictator’s henchmen and enforcers…who had brutally and cold-heartedly carried out widespread massacres and atrocities against the people of this country, whenever they dared stand up against Mugabe’s notorious regime.

I can never forget the profound crippling shock I felt in those few days in November 2017, as I speechlessly watched Zimbabweans, in their different racial and political shades – excitedly taking selfies with a military that had been responsible for some of the savage brutality, they or their own relatives, friends, or even neighbors had suffered…either on account of their ‘wrong’ political alignments, or belonging to an ‘undesirable’ ethnicity.

In fact, the military did not waste any time ruthlessly reminding Zimbabweans – possibly and unsurprisingly, including some of those who had taken selfies with them – their true colours, as barely ten months later, scores of unarmed fleeing civilians were gunned down in cold blood on the same streets of Harare, on 1 August 2018, and in January 2019.

I remember asking myself – “What is wrong with all these people? Do they not seriously know what they are doing right now? Can they not discern that what they are doing is merely replacing one dictator with another?”

If this had been my schooling days, this would have been a very good story under the heading, ‘The day I will never forget’!

As much as I had spent a greater part of my social justice writing activism (which I started in 1989, when I was still in high school doing Form Three) criticizing Mugabe’s ruthless and sadistic tyranny, mismanagement, and corruption (and, wanted him out as soon as possible) – nonetheless, I was not to be myopic and too desperate to see him go at any cost… especially, if that meant replacing him with those we had already known for their notoriety and savagery.

Why did all those Zimbabweans – thousands pouring onto the streets, and converging at the stadium during Mnangagwa’s inauguration, whilst thousands more watching expectedly in their homes – blindly support such a travesty?

I asked that question when I had finally gotten over the shock, and decided to write a couple of articles warning Zimbabweans over the potential consequences of what they had just done.

Needless to say, nearly all my words came to pass – and, much more.

I strongly suspect desperation led Zimbabweans to be so tragically myopic – no wonder I have always advised those around me, never to allow any situation to drive them into a state of desperation, as that will inevitably led them into making disastrous decisions, as a result of a diminished sense of discernment, and clouded judgement.

The people of Zimbabwe were, understandably, sick and tired of the Mugabe regime’s endless oppression, corruption, and mismanagement – which all led to the majority’s untold suffering and unimaginable poverty – and wanted the principal of these heinous acts to go.

No wonder the, ‘Mugabe must go’ mantra.

However, that is where most people lost the plot.

Mugabe was not an island, and did not loot on his own, did not mismanage the country on his own, and certainly did not brutalize the population by himself.

There was a system in place, which formulated and implemented all these gross injustices and injury to the people of Zimbabwe – most of the authors and enforcers of these heinous crimes against humanity, being found at the forefront of the November 2017 coup d’etat.

Again, why, then, did thousands upon thousands support this nonsense?

Did they, honestly, not see that they were not changing anything – but, merely repackaging and recycling the same rotten over-stayed junk?

Had we not known of the ruling ZANU PF party’s unending factional fighting – which had even led to the embarrassing ousting of then vice president, Joice Teurai Ropa Mujuru, in 2014, who was then replaced by Mnangagwa, and the subsequent fierce rivalry with then first lady, Grace Mugabe (with, her so-called G40 allies)?

Did we not know of the firing of Mnangagwa as vice president on 6 November 2017, and the following threats (on 13 November) by then commander of the ZDF (Zimbabwe Defence Forces), Constantino Chiwenga, that the military would intervene?

Yet, thousands and thousands of Zimbabweans – who, in the most, had nothing to do with these ZANU PF factional fights (tragically, including the main opposition MDC-T led by Morgan Richard Tsvangirai) – strangely and mysteriously had some hope that all these shenanigans would be good for the rest of us!

Yes, some may claim that the opposition was duped into believing that, by supporting this coup d’etat, they would be incorporated into a unity government.

However, should that have been the case, then our opposition is more delusional and immature than the population at large – since, who, in their right mind, would ever believe the blatant and shameful lies that come out of the mouths of this country’s ruling elites?

Surely, which promise have they ever kept?

Let us remember that, the 2008 – 2013 Government of National Unity (GNU), between ZANU PF and the MDC formations, was reluctantly entered into by the former, under extreme pressure by SADC (Southern African Development Community), and the agreement only signed after intense negotiations, and guaranteed by the regional body.

Therefore, why would anyone had believed some backroom agreement to support the ouster of Mugabe, in exchange for sharing power?

This morning, as I watched those sad images of the huge jubilant crowds filling the National Sports Stadium on 24 November 2017 – celebrating the ushering in of Mnangagwa as the new president of the so-called ‘New Dispensation’ – and, as I looked at the close-up footage of their happy faces, I could not help asking myself…how many of these people are still in celebratory mood after four years?

The more important question actually should be – have the people of Zimbabwe learnt anything from the debacle of those two weeks in November, and are we now wiser to the folly of being led by desperation, no matter how much we may be suffering, and want it all to end?

Have we truly leant anything? Have we, really?

© 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
    Kalulu 2 years ago

    Thanks Reuben for the good analysis of the ruling party.

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    Sankonjane 2 years ago

    Very well put. However a reality that must be considered is the fact that while their courage, tenacity and desire for equality were outstanding and remarkable, many of these brave people were not well educated, and a good number may have been foreigners – only there for the fight and any associated personal gain. Were our rank and file warriors able to see beyond the immediate rallying call for “Freedom” by their leaders? Perhaps the wider possible consequences did not occur to these enthusiastic warriors. An insufficient percentage of our liberators – at all levels – had the necessary education, social, financial and political acumen to effectively lead the “Bread basket” we gained from their efforts.

    Our fellow Zimbabweans who preferred to be represented by and support the Smith regime appear to have come from the ranks of those with a more extensive appreciation of the “global village. In very large numbers – they left – either with the whites or early in Mugabe’s rule. they could read the messages. How many of our people left with the whites? I have heard that for one white person, ten black people left. Eddie Cross talks about 5 million, (allegedly a UN statistic) and apparently something like 30% of Zimbos live overseas, mostly in white countries. Without knowing for sure, I believe the original exodus of “defeated black Rhodesians”, and their offspring and subsequent descendants, who generally seem to be managing rather well, removed essential educational, social, financial and political acumen from the good management of our country. Now, we simply do not have sufficient “qualified people” to mount a credible and effective opposition to Zimbabwe’s tormentors.

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    Nyoni 2 years ago

    The article has a lot of holes in it. Firstly many former comrades supported either Smith then Muzorewa . Fact. The British under Thatcher then by dubious means weakened the Rhodesians to only change their allegiance to their prize Mugabe. It is common knowledge the British made a deal with Mugabe to ensure the White minority were not harmed for a quoted number of years. After that it was open sesame . Mugabe after his “election win” in 1980 and support by Britain and others ,then went on the rampage against his perceived opponents.
    The people of Zimbabwe by that time had enough of war,like anyone else , were simply enjoying their so called liberation from oppression. They realised to late their mistake just like the people in Nazi Germany, Romania, Burma ,Chile and the list goes on. It does appear by keeping the populace down and ignorant , you control them better. Create any story to them and they believe. A simple Goebbels theory. While the vets look on and wonder why they fought the war and this is for both sides, they shake their heads and ask themselves what was it all about . As one gets older we do tend to see things in a better light . The young ones can not so are easily manipulated as our vets were.
    The vets now must encourage the young ones to stand up . The last hoorah for us all,THE VETS OF THE WAR FROM EITHER SIDE.

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    J. Matabeleland 2 years ago

    Well said Nyoni. Problem is that the “Vets’ from both sides are now mostly old people. They are the ones who know of a better way of life and more caring society. The under 40 ‘s know nothing of life in Rhodesia so can not measure that life with the greater misery we endure today. Even if they recognize that our world is not as it should be, they have no understanding as to how, let alone why. The general population of our country have simply not been shaped to understand malignant authority or challenge despots. We are stuck with the status quo – or worse – for an uncomfortable future

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    Mukiwa 2 years ago

    I am a child of a vet from shall we say, the other side. I work for a well functioning government in the west and would love to bring my experience back to Zimbabwe. Do you think this could ever happen?

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    Antelopemine. 2 years ago

    Good luck with that Mukiwa !!!