SIZWEKAZI JEKWA’S COLUMN (24 July) was flagrantly ignorant of the facts on the ground. It’s not clear whether Jekwa’s assertion that Zimbabwe lacked a strong vocal civil society is with reference to pre- or postindependence Zimbabwe. In pre-independence Zimbabwe a vibrant civil society was in place with the formation of the City Youth League (CYL) in 1950.
The CYL had leaders such as Ndabaningi Sithole and advocated the recognition of black people in colonial Rhodesia similar to what the ANC did in the infancy of apartheid in the Fifties and Sixties. From the CYL arose the Zimbabwean ANC, National Democratic reputable publication.
She also makes the point that at independence Zimbabweans didn’t have a culture of accountability or transparency. Again, she makes assumptions that only mislead people who have no knowledge of the struggle for African emancipation. If you could, please highlight which African country had a culture of accountability or transparency at independence based on our different struggles for emancipation.
Governments have made decisions unilaterally. Witness the case of SA’s deployment of troops in Lesotho in 1998 without accounting for or being transparent about Government’s actions.
Mugabe’s dictatorship emerged in our struggle for independence when the Zanu (PF) leadership was systematically eliminated and annihilated, leaving Mugabe to assume power – which he entrenched in the period 1975 to 1980. Over that period Mugabe had already begun positioning himself for a long term of office by placing his yes-men and -women in strategic positions (which they assumed at ministerial level at independence).
Mugabe in post-independence Zimbabwe was known not to listen to his advisers and take unilateral decisions, such as sanctioning the Matabeleland massacres in the mid-Eighties and the deployment of the Zimbabwe army and air force in Mozambique between 1983 and 1990. It’s in that light I find Jekwa’s assertion linking the lack of accountability and a vocal civic society as the reason for Mugabe’s dictatorial tendencies mischievous.
As much as Zimbabweans and other African nationals would want to see a better day in that country, that day won’t dawn as long as we remain masters of pessimism and illusion. Mugabe was not a frozen accident but a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Party (NDP) and consequently PF-Zapu and Zanu (PF). Civic leaders such as George Silundika, Joshua Nkomo and Leopold Takawira – to mention but a few – bore the brunt of the Rhodesian crackdown on this emergent civic onslaught and, like the apartheid regime in SA, denounced and banned those emergent voices clamouring for African freedom.
Post-independence Zimbabwe always had a vibrant and vocal civic society. If you research the activities of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Women of Zimbabwe Arise ( Woza), Crisis Coalition, Public Information Rights Forum (PIRF), to mention but a few, all of which have been spearheading the country’s civic concerns. It’s in that light I find her assumption that Zimbabwe “lacks” a vocal civic fraternity ill advised and misleading to readers of such a