Zimbabweans Express Mixed Feelings on Political Independence

via Zimbabweans Express Mixed Feelings on Political Independence by Thomas Chiripasi, Gibbs Dube 14.04.2014 VOAZimbabwe

Zimbabwe this week marks 34 years of independence from colonial rule amid concerns from many citizens that President Robert Mugabe is using the suppression of the people’s will to extend his rule.

When President Mugabe assumed office in 1980, many Zimbabweans believed the country would literally overflow with milk and honey as promised by the ZANLA and ZIPRA guerilla fighters during the struggle for independence.

Thirty-four years down the line, many Zimbabweans such as Godknows Shumba say that life is becoming more difficult under Mr. Mugabe’s stewardship.

Shumba says the electorate has long decided to vote Mr. Mugabe out of power but claims the nonagenarian leader has been using an iron fist to suppress the will of the majority during elections.

Another Zimbabwean, Democratic Party president Urayayi Zembe, says Mr. Mugabe’s biggest undoing of his legacy was the militarization of elections.

Zembe adds that President Mugabe has survived at the helm of the country this long because of diversionary politics. The Zimbabwean leader has since early 2000 accused the opposition and non-governmental organizations of being agents of what he calls “illegal regime change”.

MDC-T national organizing secretary Nelson Chamisa says the “big man mentality” has led Mr. Mugabe to abandon democratic processes resulting in dictatorial tendencies.

Zembe says Mr. Mugabe would have long left office if the two MDC formations led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube had not accepted to form a unity government with President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party.

But the MDC formations argue that they entered into the power-sharing arrangement to save ordinary Zimbabweans who they say were reeling under abject poverty caused by poor governance of the country by the Mugabe administration.

Former student leader Blessing Vava says it is not surprising that Mr. Mugabe is still in power because the revolutionary party has a one party state mentality.

Meanwhile, Zembe says the opposition has been failing to take over power from Mr. Mugabe because it remains fragmented. Opposition parties like the Zimbabwe Union of Democrats, Forum Party, Zimbabwe Unity Movement and the MDC and several others were formed after independence but they have all failed to remove Zanu PF from power.

But political analyst and director of the Media Centre, Earnest Mudzengi, says the major problem in Zanu PF is that President Mugabe has failed to groom a successor, resulting in factionalism within the revolutionary party.

He adds that the opposition’s biggest undoing, on the other hand, has been greed on the part of the leadership. The opposition has failed to form a loose coalition for the purposes of an election.

Results of the 2008 national elections show that combined opposition votes were much higher than those garnered by Mr. Mugabe but they failed to get an outright win resulting in negotiations that led to the formation of the unity government that was characterized by policy discord.

In recent weeks, MDC founding president and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been calling for a united front to mount what he says would be a strong challenge to President Mugabe in elections expected in 2018.

The call came as his party was riddled by divisions with former close colleagues calling on him to step down ahead of 2018.

Chamisa says his party will do all it can, including forming election alliances with other parties, to defeat Zanu PF in the 2018 elections.

But Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo says Zimbabwe has made tremendous political achievements since independence in 1980 such as creating a stable political environment in the country under President Mugabe’s leadership.

However, Political analyst Shadreck Guto of the University of South Africa says President Mugabe has overstayed in power which has resulted in the entrenchment of his autocratic rule.


  • comment-avatar
    John Thomas 8 years ago

    Mugabe is symptom only. The true causes of all that has happened lie much deeper. Until hard work, honesty, integrity become the admired characteristics not much can be fixed. The founding lie that colonialism is the reason that Zimbabweans found found themselves so low needs to be dealt with.

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    Littledorrit 8 years ago

    Mr Thomas is right. We need a mindset change and until that happens this nation is doomed. Witness the lack of respect on the roads – a symptom of selfish hedonism that plagues this continent. And please acknowledge the benefits of colonialism starting with increased lifespans, eradication of disease, running water (no more), roads and railways (C J Rhodes laid more track in 2 years at the beginning of the 20th century than this govt with access to good roads and international funding laid in 34 years), WRITTEN LANGUAGE, the concept of country and properly rights etc. The pan-africanists who parrot meaningless soft science pinko anti-colonial jargon should try a bit of honest introspection.

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    How can anyone with any brain say Mugabe has done something positive. I suppose it takes no brain to recognize no brains

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    Tjingababili 8 years ago


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    Stardust 8 years ago

    The change is so far away from us the African man.. Our leaders are coming from deprived situations and are intrinsic in their knowledge of the world .. Visiting Zimbabwe is like gojng back to the Stone Age mentality of how things work with little sparks here and there but no substance .. It’s not only the technological advancement of IT or infrastructure that is lacking from government structures but the mentality and culture if dojng things.. The BIG man mentality and personalisation of government institutes by ministers and civil servants has led us to here..Zimbabwe has the manpower, resources and capacity to copy (no need to re invent the wheel) from within sadc, Africa and the international community at large on how business is done..
    Suggestions.. Trim line government activities in business by privatisation of parastatals (all)
    Ministers need accountability to stronger business/ parliament committees that question their decision making process..
    And the rest of Zimbabwe forget MDC … Not clever enough

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      Jono Austin 8 years ago

      is zanu clever enough to bring economic prosperity? 34 years and counting…

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    Ruramai 8 years ago

    Chamisa points to “the big man” mentality that has forced Mugabe to abandon the democratic parth. The irony is that he is busy creating the same culture in his own party where he tells us Morgan was chosen by God hence all should be loyal to him.

    Sounds to me like Chamisa is aping the Zanu p.f. modus operandi without even realizing it.

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    Independence has become a myth like the unicorn.A mirage shimmering in the distance to be seen from afar, yet so unreachable. I think we were sold a dead horse.
    ZPF’s idea of independence was selfish.There were always two classes of people in Zim, POVO(to wash the feet ot the comrades and do as they are told) and the COMRADES turned CHEFS( to eat where they did not sow just as the comrades ate chickens they did not rear during the liberation war).

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      kutongwa nonjazi 8 years ago

      Thus the plain truth. Nanhasi we are being treated as the less equals. It’s Animal Farm….(although animals are now covered by animal rights of late).

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      Parangeta 8 years ago

      The word you are searching for is CHIEFS not CHEFS, education?

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        Roving Ambassador 8 years ago

        It is Chefs and means the same as Chief. Chef is more french and Latino.’Education’.

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    Gumbo should just shut up. He sounds ridiculous. What political stability? Does he mean putting a gun to someones head and saying, “we are politically stable” and you will do as we say?

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    Mixed Race 8 years ago

    I won’t make a long comment except to quote the Holy Bible to put our current political situation in context.
    Romans 5:3-4
    Sufferings/Tribulations produce perseverance,perseverance,character and character hope.
    Our people in MAT and Midlands have reached Character stage in politics whilst the rest of the country is still on Perseverance stage,so we have a lot to educate the masses who make 80% of our voting population.This will avoid useless small parties springing up towards elections paid by known big politicians to disturb the voters who are not properly informed.

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    Mukanya 8 years ago

    Zembe murwere! Takarwira nyika ino kwete kuti vese vese naana Jojo vanakirwe. Izvo ndinoramba.

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    Mixed Race 8 years ago

    2Mukanya-What gives you the right to choose who should benefit from independence and not?

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    Tongoona 8 years ago

    Political independence? I have not seen any in the 34 years of ZANU PF rule. What I have seen and have known is that one cannot express freedom of speech without fearing ZANU PF kadidiyas the CIO. So what political independence is there to talk about. Hapana

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    Let’s forget MDC and the Renewal team. Whatever they’re going to do now won’t work. They are totally discredited and tarnished. I have confidence in ZUNDE. They give me hope for the future. Watch this space.

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    Tongoona 8 years ago

    ZUNDE is a proxy for ZANU PF. We are not fools.