I was amazed by a screaming headline in the Southern Times that cried, ‘Apartheid around the corner’, in an apparent desperate bid to make excuses for South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC)’s dismal performance – in the recent municipal elections – against the Democratic Alliance (DA).
The DA – which the ANC has been pathetically trying to portray as a ‘White’ party, and a vestige of apartheid – shocked it by garnering crucial victories in major municipalities, including the capital Tshwane Metropolitan.
This free fall of Africa’s so-called ‘liberation’ movements – so-called since they have done anything, but liberate the people, as they have proven no better than the erstwhile colonial/apartheid masters in their repression of the very people they claimed to have ‘liberated’ – has been witnessed in other, mainly Southern African countries, such as, Zimbabwe.
Nevertheless, who is to blame for the downfall of these ‘liberation’ movements?
Is it some conspiracy by the erstwhile colonial/apartheid masters?
Are they plotting and scheming to ensure that colonialism and apartheid returns?
Only the erstwhile colonial/apartheid masters know for sure whether they want to make a comeback, albeit through proxies, or not – but one thing is crystal clear, they do not have to scheme anything, as these ‘liberation’ movements have already done most of the work of self-destruction.
These ‘liberation’ movements have only themselves to blame for their demise.
A quick look at the major ‘liberation’ movements of SA and Zimbabwe, which have both lost support, shows a clear pattern.
When these ‘liberators’ got into power, they completely forgot the people they allegedly ‘freed’.
In South Africa (SA) and Zimbabwe, the powers-that-be sought to enrich themselves at the expense of the people.
Can the erstwhile colonial/apartheid masters be blamed for our ‘liberators” pillaging these countries’ resources for their own aggrandisement, whilst the vast majority of the people continue to wallow in poverty?
In SA and Zimbabwe, institutionalised corruption became the trend, as multi-millionaires were created overnight through ‘tenderpreneurship’ – whereby, senior government officials and their connections, corruptly secure government tenders, as well as dubious ‘Black Economic Empowerment’ programmes.
Similarly, mineral resources, for instance, diamonds, have been corruptly sold, such that, the Zimbabwe government can not even account for more than US$15 billion.
In both these countries, senior government officials are wealthy beyond words, yet the majority of their nationals can not even afford one decent meal a day, and do not have any accommodation worthy of a human being.
The SA President Jacob Zuma is embroiled in massive corruption over the ‘upgrades’ at his home – something he could so easily have afforded to do at his own expense, but decided to further burden the already burdened taxpayers.
Most, if not all, of the senior government officials, in these two ountries, live in houses that can easily rival those of the richest people on earth – whilst, the majority live in shacks, and other subhuman conditions.
There have been reports of senior SA government officials demanding to be accommodated in the most expensive penthouses and hotels – actually, Zimbabwe’s Vice President Phelekezela Mpoko has lived in the most expensive hotel in the country for over a year.
In Zimbabwe, whilst hospitals and schools do not have any medication – resulting directly in needless deaths due to, otherwise, easily treatable ailments, and a hugely compromised education system – those in power go overseas for the best and most expensive medical care, and education.
In Zimbabwe, over 4 million people face starvation, yet billions of dollars can not be accounted for.
Instead of the government being empathetic, they are arrogant enough to ask those starving people if it is the government’s fault that it did not rain.
Additionally, those ‘liberation’ governments have implemented economic policies that are nothing but chaotic – resulting in massive company closures, unemployment and retrenchments, lack of cash in the economy, and so many others ills.
In both SA and Zimbabwe, unemployment has reached record highs, whereby university graduates have been reduced to street vendors.
Those still in employment receive a wage that makes a mockery of any human being.
How else are investors supposed to react when a government embarks on a land reform programme, whereby a bunch of ‘liberation’ war veterans runs amok violently seizing farms?
Can anyone invest in a country whose government demands a 51% shareholding in a company they made no input, especially if that 51% largely benefits the powers-that-be and hardly trickles down to the ordinary folk?
Added to this already dismal situation, is the repression of the people by some of these ‘liberation’ movements.
The Zimbabwe government has been known, since independence, for massacring, and brutalising its own people – resulting in nearly 50,000 deaths of innocent civilians.
The police is unleashed on peaceful demonstrators, who met out the most brutal repression, and activists abducted, or arrested on tramped up charges.
The people in these countries see all this, and feel the pain of such gross economic and political injustices.
They do not need to be told by some so-called ‘apartheid’ media, or foreign embassies.
Actually, such suggestions that the people of these countries are so idiotic, that they can not see for themselves the injustices they are being subjected to by their governments, is not only an insult, but arrogance of the highest order.
In fact, such an attitude does not help the cause of those in power, as it further alienates them from the people.
How are the ordinary people supposed to react?
What do these ‘liberation’ movements expect the people to do? Quite frankly, most people who have lived through colonialism and apartheid feel that those days could have been far much better.
Although, they were subjugated politically, they were, at least, better off economically than they are today – where they are oppressed both economically and politically.
Furthermore, the youth – who never experienced colonialism and apartheid – just want a better life, and anything is better than what they have at the moment.
As such, whether what is on offer on the ballot paper as an alternative is a ‘White’ party or not, they will vote for them.
The people of SA and Zimbabwe have suffered enough.
The politics of fear-mongering about the return of colonialism or apartheid does not work anymore, because, today, these ‘monster’ systems of governance appear very appealing.
In the case of the DA, they have already proven themselves as very competent in the regions they control, so why should the people of SA not vote for them.
They have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are far from being an apartheid party, as such, accusing such a party of being for ‘apartheid’, merely based on the vast ‘White’ membership, is blatantly racist.
It is time that these ‘liberation’ movements truly transformed themselves into liberation movements – not the oppressors that they have proved to be.
So far, they have proven that ‘independence’ was nothing more than a mere change of the oppressor’s colour – as the lot of the ordinary people never change much, but has actually worsened.
These ‘liberation’ movements should seriously and honestly look themselves in the mirror, and acknowledge that they shot themselves in the foot – and they can not continue to blame the erstwhile colonial powers for their own failures.
° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist and commentator, writer, and journalist. He writes in his personal capacity, and welcomes any feedback. Please feel free to WhatsApp/call: +263782283975, or email: tendaiandtinta.mbofana@gmail.