Violation of liberation struggle values

via Violation of liberation struggle values  Nehanda Radio. 12 June 2014 By Allen Hungwe

In the last two weeks, I attended two absorbing funerals. The first was that of Dzinashe Machingura, a long forgotten liberation struggle hero.

A man who, during the liberation struggle, rose to being the national political commissar of the Zimbabwe People’s Army (ZIPA).

Both Nathan Shamuyarira and Dzinashe Machingura died very poor and pitiful.

The second funeral was that of former cabinet minister and a member of the Front for the Liberation of Zimbabwe (FROLIZI), ZANU and ZAPU, Nathan Shamuyarira.

The two fallen men, both had a long standing history in the liberation struggle, though at one point each of them fell out of favour with the mainstream ZANU ensemble. While Shamuyarira’s fall was temporary and he later re-joined ZANU, Machingura remained on the side-lines even up to independence and till his death.

Though their involvement in the liberation struggle had similarities, given their measurable contributions, the trajectories of their lives after independence reflected a huge disparity.

One became decorated for his liberation struggle credentials, while the other lost any speck of recognition and had his history erased for political reasons. Their lives, however, converged at some point of similitude as they passed on. Both Machingura and Shamuyarira died very poor and pitiful.

The state of their lives at the point of their death were incomparable to most of their comrades, who had been with them during the days of the struggle for independence. Their lives were unparalleled even to those who had been junior to them during the struggle days, or those that had never been part of that struggle.

These are two heroes, whose eventual demise from this life on earth was epitomised by their struggle to “make ends meet”. I am not an advocate for excessive compensation for the role played in the liberation struggle, but am traumatised at how comrades have taken the unprecedented route of neglecting others who share such a rich and compelling history.

The state in which Machingura and Shamuyarira died, has led me to ask a lot of questions, one of them being, “is the true ideal of the liberation struggle being upheld?” This emotive questioning of the legacy of the liberation struggle in the post-independence era brings about a lot other dimensions.

Who are those who claim to be war veterans and do they have an identity with the liberation struggle and if so, what ideals have they sustained from their days in the struggle? The liberation struggle must never be under-estimated in Zimbabwe. It carries a central piece of the total history of the country and is therefore a rallying point for nation-statehood.

The liberation struggle must the binding mortar that creates an identity of what Zimbabwe is about. The recognition and fundamentality of the liberation struggle must be unquestionable and be employed to unite the nation rather than divide it. It is unfortunate that today we see a perversion of the liberation struggle and its submersion for material and political mileage.

The liberation struggle has become a convenience rather than an ideal. One of the biggest challenges that faces parties like ZANU-PF, is the erosion of a value system. If one studies the mechanics of the liberation struggle, it was predicated on a strong value system.

The liberation struggle wasn’t just about war; it was about engraining a value system that was meant to create co-existence between the masses (povo), the comrades waging the war and broader progressive society. The first fundamental of liberation struggle training was the conduct and behaviour that was required when interacting and engaging with the masses and society.

The value system emphasized the need to respect parents (vabereki), while young females and males in communities were perceived to be brothers and sisters. The value system was strict on discouraging and stamping out corruption and extortion from the masses.

The comrades were encouraged to pay for what they acquired from the masses and discouraged from plunder. The value system was about promoting the collectivity of human life as entitised by society rather than concerted individuality. The common good was also a central pursuit of this liberation struggle value system.

The values were not isolated from the Pan-African culture of community coexistence and harmonious living. There was a strong cultural connotation which was built on streamlining the African way of life.

One of the main reasons why the liberation struggle became a success was not only due to the fighting prowess of the comrades. It was also due to the collaborative efforts of the “povo”, who functioned as the medium through which the liberation struggle was dispensed. The bond between the “povo” and the comrades was the cultural identity that existed in the value system.

The reasons for going to war were also identified from a standpoint of attempting to address the fulfilment of the African value system. In simple terms, the success of the liberation struggle was due to the strong, central and uncompromised value system that sustained the struggle through the bond that existed among the comrades, the “povo” and progressive society.

The state of Shamuyarira and Machingura at the time of their deaths depicts the erosion of that value system.

In fact the value system became tainted by other cares that cropped up with the post-independence excesses which over-rode the foundations of what the liberations struggle was all about. This is why it has become difficult to reconcile the ZANU-PF of today and the liberation movement it birthed in the pre-independence era.

The difference is the value system. If ZANU-PF wants to recapture its identify and historical base, then the party needs to simply re-instil its value system of old. It needs to go back to invoke the tenants of the value system that created a bond between itself, the “povo” and broader progressive society.

This is a feat that has also been made more complicated due to some pungency for materialism that has now become central to political existence. There has also been an invasion of ZANU-PF by other questionable characters whose passion for the original value system of the party is simply absent or diluted.

I salute people of the calibre of Machingura and Shamuyarira, who managed to live beyond the compulsion of excesses that threaten the original value system of why they became involved with the struggle for independence. In death they may have been indigent, but in their lives they remained original to the value system which engineered the struggle for independence.

I am left wondering; as men like them become fewer, what then is the destiny of Zimbabwe? What will we see of our dear nation, if the value system of the liberation struggle slowly becomes archival rather than perpetually instructive? The disgrace that Machingura and Shamuyarira faced in death is the epitome of the sustained value system they carried beyond the attainment of independence.

I salute these two heroes and always stand to measure my life not against what I see many do now, but against what these two stood for. Machingura and Shamuyarira’s heroic lives were however betrayed by the violation of the values of the liberation struggle.


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    Petros Magomazi 8 years ago

    The fact that these two luminaries died poor is an indicator of the quality or lack of it of our liberators. Truly our political liberators have no business sense at all. None of them can stand on their own once they are outside the patronage system. That is why our country is struggling even though we have enough natural and human resources. That is why once one becomes a government minister or president they will do anything to stay in government. I cannot understand how one having been a minister for 20 years can become so broke. Even in Dzino’s case, this guy had a degree well before 1980 when most people could not read or write. Could he not have secured a job or better still gone overseas to work or do something with his life. Instead he chose to spend his time counting his losses and spewing out his bitterness to anyone who cared to listen. It is indeed a tragedy.

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      John Thomas 8 years ago

      I had not thought of it this way. Thank you

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      Petros you do have a point. The spirit of entitlement has gone to the heads of the majority of liberation war vets. There are those who have lost the work ethic believing that the country owes them a living.They want to be first in every benefit queue.While most countries provide some pension for their war heroes they generally integrate and work and hold a very revered position in their societies. They do not continue to bleed the very nation they fought to liberate like most of ours do.

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    Only a New Rhodesia will bring the much needed investment and prosperity, with a contented and happy life for all. The Zimbabweans have to realize they were tricked and deceived into believing that the Rhodesians were their enemy! They have to realize and accept that they fought and died in a liberation war for nothing! Pull down the Zimbabwe flags, and fly the Green and white of our New Rhodesia on every flagpole! The Rhodesians, black and white, will return in their thousands, to re-build the great country, that it was!

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      Ruramai 8 years ago

      Rhodie, you are way out of line. Indeed Zimbabwe is a mess because of poor governance but we were not tricked. The white minority racist regime discriminated against us in a very painful way.

      You can not dehumanize 95% of the population just because they are dark skinned and expect that there will be peace. The fact that we were materially better off than we are now does not mean we would want to go back to be treated like second class citizens. So please, let’s dispense with this sanctimonious attitude. Both Smith and Mugabe were bad for our country.

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    nyoni 8 years ago

    I believe the big picture has been forgotten my fellow Zimbabweans, Rhodesians whatever you may wish to call oneself. The fact of the matter is the country is big enough for all. By us all joining hands to build a great country can be achieved. The goal is achievable if only the elected people can see this. By rejecting whatever the people say as is the case right now our country is doomed. The ideals fought for were lost well before independance and we all know by whom. First Chitepo göne. Tongogaro and the list goes on. CANT WE ALL SEE THE ENEMY . They face us everyday feèding us with no hope each and everyday of our lives. Making us believe we are indebted to them. Well Zanu guess what you have simply fooled yourselves. Now please go back to kumusha.

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    Take race totally out of the equation especially from the so called liberators and treat everybody the same an you will see africa flourish beyond your wildest dreams.Europeans and americans would be trying to slip into africa not the other way round.

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    Johnny k 8 years ago

    The whole gist of this article is based on a myth. The Liberation fighters fought their way through the countryside and left a trail of fear, terror and bloodied and murdered peasants. They cut off lips of percieved sell outs, raped at will, pillaged and commandeered food and demanded free accommodation. Public executions were common and in the most savage way like being burnt alive – Sons forced to rape mothers and execute fathers. The victorious politicians and war veterans have preferred to hide and erase these excesses from the history books. It still goes on today, the “Liberation war” bodies found in a mine shaft near Mount Darwin were in fact MDC supporters murdered in 2008. Everyone knows this but are too terrified to say so. ZANU and the WAR veterans are nothing more than murderous theives.

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      You are quite right there Johnny k.
      You forgot, maybe deliberately, to mention what the so called security forces got up to?
      Especially the Selous Scouts?
      The povo were caught in the middle with both sides perpetrating vile deeds.

      So, one vile party won and the other was left to lick its wounds.
      Zimbabwe has been the loser in all this.

      I agree the article has a fantastcally romantic view of what actually happened on the ground.

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    Expat 8 years ago

    Petros & Lucy you have hit the nail on the head, The spirit of entitlement has gone to the heads of the majority of liberation war vets. People assume that the country owes them and that because the were the ones to leave home and cross the boarder and come back with a gun that they are owed! The fact of the matter was that had, as in the article, the povo not been involved those that came back with the gun would have been wiped out and independence would never have happened. And i have always felt that these Povo are the true liberation heroes. For the man who left home to take up arms made a personal choice. Not many of the Povo made a personal choice to support, they were just minding their business and became involved because of who they were and where they were placed and often not voluntarily. Yet they were expected on one side to support, and from the other side were viewed suspiciously and continually harassed from both! Our so called War veterans need to remember that the there was a larger portion of our population that gave up part of their lives without having a choice and that today at least they should have a say as to the direction this country should be going!

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    Some time ago I mentioned that there are hidden hands that fiddle with our minds on this forum. I can remember a person by the name of Watson asking what I was smoking. He went on to say that I was speaking Drivel. You have to ask yourself is Rhodie Homecoming really who he says he is? Is this Apolitical trying to play mind games? Why I say this is that no sensible man would keep repeating something he knows will not happen. He definitely is not dumb. Anyone can tell he has got an education. He stays calm and agrees where he needs to and then on the next statement repeats what he says in every article he contributes to.Is he really a white person or is he trying to ignite hatred. All these questions he will know the answer. For me when an intelligent person does not make sense I smell a RAT. A dead stinking Rat.

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    The Mind Boggles 8 years ago

    Well said Doctor Do Little , Rhodie Homecoming is a little confusing , like you say clearly educated yet somehow extremely ignorant , I do hope he/she is a plant because if he/she is really a white person I for one am certainly embarrassed by the attitude and lack of common sense.

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    Mike Nyathi 8 years ago

    Really this article is totally ignorant. Please learn about your history in some place other than the Herald. The liberation was not a time when all were heroes, only to be replaced by villains after independence. There were indeed heroes during the struggle but there were many scoundrels who murdered and beat and learnt a culture of impunity. It is these who came to the fore after independence. Stop recycling Zanoid myths. Also, you say Shamuyarira was a hero. What nonsense. In a free and fair country he would have been imprisoned for life for his role in Gukurahundi. Stop insulting the dead with these lies.

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    To Ruramai. Explain exactly how you were discriminated against in such a painfull way! Are you all much happier now, after a liberation war that brought no good to anybody ? Why did you want the country economically destroyed in this war? Why are the farms and the industries continuing to be destroyed 34 years after the war? How can those people who have destroyed , and are continuing to destroy everything, be called liberation heroes?

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      Ruramai 8 years ago

      Rhodie, stop feigning ignorance in as far as Rhodesian racist laws were concerned. If you must play dumb, he are examples; my grandparents were moved from their farm in what was zoned white farmland to the semi arid region dubbed the African Purchase area. My father who was a teacher earned just a quarter of what his white counterparts earned. The per capita education expenditure on white kids was 6 times that of black kids. These are a few examples.

      I never said I wanted the country economically destroyed. I actually said both Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe ruined this country. By pursuing racist policies which denied us human dignity Smith plunged the country into a civil war. Mugabe took over and destroyed the country. In a nutshell, the two were a curse to this country. You on your part can dream about homecoming to Rhodesia till eternity. It will not happen.

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    The true liberators from the vile rhodesian government are long gone.
    Whta’s left is bunch of evil men hell bent on self enrichment and the destruction of a once beautiful country.

    This is patently obvious to anyone with a couple of neurons.

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    To Ngoto Zimbwa, Explain to me how the Rhodesian Government was vile. It provided the best schools, the best hospitals, the best work opportunities , the best law and order, and the best living conditions for the whole population! But you were all deceived and tricked, by this word, Freedom, which has brought nothing but misery to everybody. ( I lived and worked in Rhodesia in the best years, – until the Freedom promise in 1980, began to destroy everything, and the destruction has not stopped yet!

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    Rhodie Homecoming is not worth to respond to, but I will always support and protect his freedom of speech. If a fool is given freedom of expression s/he will prove herself/himself and Rhodie did exactly that.

    I am not sure I can identify Dzino and Shamuyarira, group them in the same bracket, and tag them with the same stroke.

    Dzino unlike Rugare Gumbo refused to abandon his ideals. Could he have gone abroad and worked? Perhaps, but the point is he fought for the liberation of this country and I don’t think what he felt was a sense entitlement but hoped for a meritocracy and from all the evidence at play, he stuck to is ideals. He had a very powerful enemy in Mugabe, and spanners and grenades were thrown in his path in search of honest living. That he did not turn coat and become another boot licker like Rugare Gumbo, is to me very laudable.

    I think it is too much for us to ask for someone who has proven war credentials to always pack his bags and self exile from the country he helped to liberate if things do not go according to the ideals of the liberation ethos, especially when the conditions on the ground are as a result of his powerful former colleagues who consciously abandoned the ideals of liberation and corruptly run the country. Rather than asking why he could not get a job abroad we should be asking why he could not get a job at home, in the Zimbabwe, a country he helped to liberate.

    If he indeed had a sense of entitlement, nothing could have stopped him from acquiring all the wealth he wanted. The only condition would be for him to lick Mugabe’s behind, like Rugare Gumbo, and that is not too much to ask from the immoral and incompetent. Shamuyarira did for a long time and he lived happily whilst it lasted. On the other hand Dzino never faltered.

    I cannot understand why Shamuyarira died a “pauper” who lived in Borrwdale either, and had a son who despoiled a productive farmer of his farm, by virtue of him being the son of Shamuyarira. He was a member of the corrupt elite and they have not stopped running the country. I wouldn’t mind dying as a “pauper” in my house in Borrowdale, never mind my failure to upkeep it, because of my lack of understanding that houses should be maintained.

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      vovonde 8 years ago

      I have one question to ask; what has become of the so called ‘leadership code’?’?’???? Who was the architect of the code, and where is he.????’

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      Well spoken

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    Ruramai 8 years ago

    Pati, well said. If indeed Dzino had a feeling of self entitlement, he would have grovelled to Mugabe in the same manner that Chihuri and Gumbo did.

    As for Rhodie Homecoming, he is testimony to the number of white imbeciles who had no understanding of how Rhodesia’s racist policies affected 95% of this country’s population. I bet he would still insist that the labour migration system which separated men who worked in urban areas from their families was good. Some people are good at advertising their ignorance.

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    Zvomukonde 8 years ago

    I have been looking for my Wilfred Mhanda’s biography for some years now.It is impossible to find.
    However from the research I have done.At one time he emigrated to Germany and managed got his masters degrees there. But due to pursuit from ZANU and links to the independence struggle he was considered a communist and became an unwelcome resident. This is how he had to come back to home. As part of the deal to come back home he to promise not to participate in any form of politics.
    Allen Hungwe are you sure he died very poor and pitiful.I doubt that, research your facts please. Dying an ordinary familly man and out of the spotlight does not necessarily equate to being poor and pitiful.