Ts­van­gi­rai’s democrati­sa­tion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide - Jo­ram Ny­athi Spec­trum Mu­juru’s slav­ery

IT started with their un­re­mark­able ab­sence at the In­de­pen­dence cel­e­bra­tions. Then came the sim­i­larly un­re­mark­able an­nounce­ment of a pre­elec­tion deal. That’s Ts­van­gi­rai and Mu­juru. We don’t know if any­body no­ticed their ab­sence, be­cause Zim­bab­weans turned out in huge num­bers to cel­e­brate the day and to hon­our those who sac­ri­ficed their lives for such a day. Pri­vate me­dia told us the two had urged their sup­port­ers to “boy­cott” the na­tional in­de­pen­dence cel­e­bra­tions be­cause “it is not yet uhuru”.

Dr Joice Mu­juru, who was in Gov­ern­ment en­joy­ing all the trap­pings of power, in­clud­ing the Vice Pres­i­dency, in­di­cated dur­ing her event with Ts­van­gi­rai why she was not part of those cel­e­brat­ing Zim­babwe’s great day.

“As NPP, we be­lieve that what ought to be 37 years of in­de­pen­dence has been turned into 37 years of slav­ery and mis­ery to Zim­bab­weans,” she de­clared. Ap­par­ently this long night­mare of slav­ery was only re­vealed when she was kicked out of the rul­ing party, or in the past six months she spent ne­go­ti­at­ing a coali­tion with Ts­van­gi­rai.

For his part, Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai called “. . . upon the peo­ple of Zim­babwe to join hands with us and play their part as well so that we can re­claim our coun­try, our free­dom and our dig­nity”.

Both are very brave in­deed to un­der­take such a project on the oc­ca­sion of the na­tion com­mem­o­rat­ing lib­er­a­tion from colo­nial bondage. In a year when Zim­babwe is set to reap the full ben­e­fits of the land re­form pro­gramme. That is to­bacco, maize and cot­ton farmers.

They be­lieve all Zim­bab­weans to have such short mem­o­ries not to re­mem­ber how sanc­tions im­posed on the coun­try were at the be­hest of the MDC to stop the land re­form; and how those sanc­tions have had a ru­inous im­pact on our ed­u­ca­tion, health care in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vice delivery in gen­eral. How those sanc­tions have lim­ited Gov­ern­ment’s abil­ity to fully fund agri­cul­ture and meet the train­ing needs of the new farmers.

They con­ve­niently for­get why young men and women sac­ri­ficed their lives to re­claim land stolen from their fore­fa­thers since the oc­cu­pa­tion of the coun­try by the Pi­o­neer Col­umn, per­haps giv­ing Zim­bab­weans their first di­rect taste of white en­slave­ment.

The fast-track land re­form launched in 2000 has man­aged to do hon­our to our lib­er­a­tion he­roes. It must there­fore make those who sac­ri­ficed so much squirm in their graves to hear those against ful­fil­ment of that strug­gle ob­jec­tive talk of “re­claim(ing) our coun­try”.

Re­claim­ing Zim­babwe from who? Which part of Zim­babwe? On whose be­half? If pre­vi­ously marginalised Zim­bab­weans now oc­cupy some of the best land and Ts­van­gi­rai talks of re­claim­ing the coun­try, where does he want to take the land to? Back to the pi­o­neers of Rhode­sian oc­cu­pa­tion!

Tellingly, the two lead­ers’ in­signif­i­cant speeches at Ts­van­gi­rai’s man­sion in plush High­lands sub­urb in Harare are mute about the im­por­tance of land and other nat­u­ral re­sources. The coali­tion, ac­cord­ing to Ts­van­gi­rai, “shall drive a com­pre­hen­sive democrati­sa­tion and transformation agenda”.

Com­bined, Ts­van­gi­rai’s state­ments yield a stag­ger­ing irony to which he ap­pears im­mac­u­lately blind. Imag­ine if in 2000, at the start of the land re­form pro­gramme, Ts­van­gi­rai had cho­sen the side of the peo­ple and urged Zim­bab­weans to “play their part as well so that we can re­claim our coun­try, our free­dom and dig­nity”!

Imag­ine if Ts­van­gi­rai had at that time mo­bilised fel­low Zim­bab­weans to “drive a com­pre­hen­sive democrati­sa­tion and transformation agenda”! For what was the land re­form about be­side democrati­sa­tion of its con­trol and own­er­ship among the peo­ple of Zim­babwe? Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe’s pol­icy of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, which in essence was an ap­pease­ment of whites who re­sisted ma­jor­ity rule, failed be­cause it was not re­cip­ro­cated.

Whites didn’t want democ­racy; they didn’t want any transformation. And they re­mained in their laager un­til Zanu-PF launched the land re­form pro­gramme.

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma in neigh­bour­ing South Africa is today be­ing vil­i­fied, and faced with the same re­buff of Man­dela’s rec­on­cil­i­a­tion pol­icy. Bo­ers are happy with the Rain­bow Na­tion so long as it doesn’t democra­tise own­er­ship of the banks, land, mines, fac­to­ries, the JSE. Most im­por­tantly, so long as the con­sti­tu­tion le­git­imises and cod­i­fies apartheid eco­nomic priv­i­leges and a ma­jor­ity of black South Africans stay emikhukhwini! Zuma’s talk of a “rad­i­cal eco­nomic transformation (democrati­sa­tion)” has pro­voked a mas­sive back­lash, es­pe­cially among whites who have pri­va­tised con­trol and own­er­ship of the econ­omy. They are in­im­i­cal to democ­racy; they don’t want transformation.

It’s no se­cret that it was Ts­van­gi­rai’s re­jec­tion of the democrati­sa­tion of own­er­ship of the na­tion’s nat­u­ral re­sources; that is banks, mines and land, which bit­terly di­vided Zim­bab­weans at the turn of the cen­tury. That rift will be hard to heal be­cause a num­ber of his sup­port­ers lost on their birthright. In­stead he wants power so he can stake his own claim in the name of right­ing po­lit­i­cal prej­u­dice.

Let’s sim­plify it for Ts­van­gi­rai and Mai Mu­juru: democrati­sa­tion of con­trol and own­er­ship of the coun­try’s nat­u­ral re­sources is the rea­son Zim­bab­weans went to war in such large num­bers in the 1970s. That war has not been won. Hence Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe’s ap­peal for vig­i­lance, es­pe­cially when jux­ta­posed with the views of prospec­tive na­tional lead­ers talk­ing about “re­claim­ing our coun­try” and push­ing for a bour­geois con­cept of democ­racy, which es­chews the econ­omy.

What is the mean­ing of democ­racy to a per­son who is dis­pos­sessed of his means of liveli­hood!

Shake­speare put it well: hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Thirty-three years in gov­ern­ment, and more still in Zanu-PF, Dr Mu­juru re­duces all this to “37 years of slav­ery and mis­ery”! It’s not hy­per­bole. It’s ridicu­lous. Is Mu­juru say­ing free­dom and lib­erty ex­isted only be­fore 1980? She sees no value in ed­u­ca­tion, hospitals and pro­fes­sions which came with in­de­pen­dence.

Not even a white com­mer­cial farmer who lost land can make such an ir­re­spon­si­ble state­ment. Whites en­joyed in Rhode­sia, true. But they lived in fear be­cause of the war. They only cast away the ghost of fear with ma­jor­ity rule, and pros­pered fab­u­lously in their en­clave econ­omy.

That is why ev­ery one of them wants to hang Mu­gabe for aban­don­ing the pol­icy of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and try­ing to democra­tise land own­er­ship. With­out the land re­form, which only came 20 years into In­de­pen­dence, Zim­babwe would have the hap­pi­est white pop­u­la­tion un­der the sun.

That land re­form re­duces the white farmer’s pe­riod of “slav­ery and mis­ery” to 17 years since 2000, by which pe­riod Mu­juru tells us Zim­bab­weans had been liv­ing in “slav­ery and mis­ery” for 20 years! In short, for her new po­lit­i­cal party and her sup­port­ers, ma­jor­ity rule, African rule, has been a long night­mare af­ter the par­adise of Rhode­sia! And Ts­van­gi­rai thinks he is adding lib­er­a­tion war cre­den­tials to his party by form­ing an al­liance with some­one ap­par­ently re­gret­ting her role in that war and han­ker­ing af­ter Rhode­sia.

Their uhuru is in the past. Vig­i­lance is the word. To guard and pro­tect Zim­babwe’s in­de­pen­dence.

Mrs Joice Mu­juru

Mr Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai

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