Liberation struggle was worth it: Dabengwa

The Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) president, Dumiso Dabengwa has paid tribute to the heroes of the war of resistance in 1893 and the first war of liberation in 1896 saying although liberation came at a price, it was a worthy cause.

Source: Liberation struggle was worth it: Dabengwa – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 28, 2016


Dabengwa was speaking at the Politics of the Armed Struggle in Southern Africa conference at the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“The armed struggle was worth it, but very costly to the extent that not all immediate benefits were realised,” he said.

“The best result is that an independent people have acquired the inalienable right to determine their course, with ups and downs.

Zimbabwe was colonised in the 1890s and 1893 and 1896 marked the first form of resistance to colonial rule by the oppressed blacks. The blacks were, however, defeated and resultantly suffered a century of oppression until 1980 when an armed liberation war forced the white minority rulers to the negotiating table.

Dabengwa said one of the immediate benefits of the liberation struggle was that: “We got the right to choose and to control our rulers, never mind that those who got into power soon saw themselves as rulers instead of elected representatives of the people.”

“This is in clear violation of our basic demand that led to war, the demand for one man one vote.

“Universal suffrage has virtually been replaced by universal control by a powerful President and ruling clique. A culture of ‘winner takes all’ in which outwitting competitors is given priority over goal-oriented collaboration has been built by the ruling party and unconsciously pervades even models for collaboration among the opposition parties.

“Political repression and economic mismanagement in independent Zimbabwe has led to well-known [negative] results, such as youth unemployment, emigration of skilled and unskilled, but industrious workers, and collapse of vital institutions that were among the best in the region.”

Dabengwa said in spite of all these challenges, “the armed struggle was worth it”.

“It proved beyond all doubt that anyone can wield modern state power, not just a‘chosen race,” he said.

“The armed struggle gave opportunities to people that were previously officially denied them because of their race and allotted social status during the racist regime.

“More controversially, the armed struggle made it possible to acquire or grab economic assets that had been reserved for people of European origin. The implementation of this necessary land redistribution was brutal and poorly implemented from both an economic point of view and reverse racism whose consequences are the decimation of commercial agriculture and resulting food insecurity.”

Dabengwa paid tribute to the young people who led the Ndebele nation to war against the British South Africa Company (BSAC) at the time of colonisation in November – December 1893.

“There are contemporary accounts of the 1893 Matebele war that recount the fierceness of the encounters,” he said.

“At Gadade, in Mbembesi, in their familiar bull-horn formation, several regiments threw their might, spear and shield, against the approaching invaders who were armed with guns and heavy cannon.”


  • comment-avatar
    Bingo waJakata 5 years ago

    I beg to differ. Look at Zimbabwe today and say that with a straight face. Liberation from what? Today opression in Zimbabwe is much worse than under the Smith regime. People are not at all free to speak freely. Everything has broken down and no one cares about it as long as they are ruling. No jobs, only the politically well connected are living well while the rest of the people suffer much more than under Ian Smith. Was liberation all about replacing a white man with a sefish dictator? As far as l am concened those who died during the war died for nothing. They were lied to regarding why the war was necessary. Today more Zimbabwean citizens are in economic and or political exile than ever in the history of the country. Liberation, what liberation? I find it impossible to justify the war to my children given that all they see today is a country in ruins. No fure for them and a 90 year old who believes he should stay in power at all cost including killing those who exercise their constitutional rights as enshrined in the constitution. Is what l see in Zimbwbwe is anything to go by then liberation was not worth it

  • comment-avatar
    Diasporan 5 years ago

    I don’t think so Dumiso. So many people lost their lives for our country for what? There’s still no freedom (look at the brave Dzamaras and all the activists, beaten up for nothing) no jobs (heading for 95% unemployment), no water, no electricity & most of all no hope or future. Soon there will be more of us living outside Zim than living there. It is truly Zimbabwe Ruins now, Bob Paradzayi Mugabe & his awful, nasty, thieving party ZANU PF have destroyed Zim to the point of no return. Personally I will never return, I’ve now spent more time of my life in the U.K. than I spent in Zim. Until these thugs are overthrown, nothing will change.

  • comment-avatar
    John Dzino 5 years ago

    Dear Friends,

    I feel sorry for you.The liberation struggle brought in wealth to the majority in terms of land.All the money comes from the land,hence when whites were asked to share refused.If there was nothing for them on land they could have just left the country and go.Also if you see the sanctions imposed by the so called Big Guns, are there to scare away other countries because they know very well that land is a sensitive issue even in America,its just a matter of time.

    Zimbabwe is going to be the world’s example to defeat the enemy in many ways including sanctions

    Thank you


    • comment-avatar
      Diasporan 5 years ago

      Feel sorry for yourself John. Wealth to the majority, I don’t think so, wealth to ZANU PF and their business partners yes. What’s the use of having land when you have no running water, no electricity, no hope & no future? And just like the ZANU PF thieves, you blame sanctions. That’s why Africa will never change, always blame everyone else. I’ve lost 3 relatives in the Liberation struggle & for what?