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