The past and the present into the fu­ture

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

THE LO­CO­MO­TIVE con­vey­ing the on­to­log­i­cal pace for the dis­mem­bered “third-world” has seen the con­tin­ued pe­riph­eral iso­la­tion of the wretched Global South.

The supremacy of the West and its un­demo­cratic cen­tral­ity in knowl­edge pol­i­tics, has falsely han­dled the third­world as a re­gion of in­tel­lec­tual back­ward­ness and moral in­ep­ti­tude. Pre­dictably, this is why “our” as­pi­ra­tions for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment are judged through bor­rowed lens that un­der­mine home-grown per­spec­tives to eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

This ex­plic­itly ex­presses how the prej­u­dice of colo­nial­ity has been con­served through var­i­ous bod­ies of main­stream knowl­edge which un­der­mines other knowl­edge(s).

We con­tinue to live within the false at­tributes of racist dis­courses of Africa as a “Heart of Dark­ness” (Con­rad 1902). As such, we give nods to the myth of the West as a fac­tory of all ideas which shape all as­pects of hu­man-sci­ence, eco­nomics and pol­i­tics in Africa.

The long gone seem­ingly phys­i­cal crush of the em­pire has not re­lieved the con­ti­nent from the in­sti­tu­tional op­er­a­tions of im­pe­ri­al­ism.

While we talk of the phys­i­cal crush of colo­nial power in Africa, we need to be cog­nisant of how other parts of the con­ti­nent are still un­der colo­nial phys­i­cal bondage.

The means of pro­duc­tion are still un­der im­pe­rial cap­tiv­ity in South Africa, Mozam­bique, Zam­bia, Malawi and many other African coun­tries.

How­ever, it is an es­tab­lished truth that Zim­babwe through the high PanAfrican pedi­gree of the rul­ing Zanu-PF has suc­cess­fully at­tempted to ef­fu­sively dis­en­tan­gle the phys­i­cal colo­nial clout. Zim­babwe has re­claimed the land as a birthright of her peo­ple.

Un­like other African re­publics we have gone be­yond be­ing sat­is­fied about cos­metic flag in­de­pen­dence nar­ra­tives, into dis­in­te­grat­ing the meta­phys­i­cal com­po­nents of the em­pire that en­close is­sues of na­tional be­long­ing and state own­er­ship. Zim­babwe has stood firm in re­claim­ing her po­lit­i­cale­con­omy. This is be­cause one can­not claim po­lit­i­cal power with­out a clear eco­nomic tra­jec­tory.

This is the rea­son why the colo­nial­lypre­fig­ured ne­go­ti­a­tions for free­dom were more po­lit­i­cally cen­tred than they pre­scribed eco­nomic free­dom of the African. Why was the thrust of the Lan­caster Agree­ment on grad­ual land loss com­pen­sa­tion?

Why was there cos­mic em­pha­sis on rec­on­cil­i­a­tion other than ad­dress­ing the found­ing griev­ance of land loss of the African lot?

The fore­run­ner at­tempts by some war-vet­er­ans to force­fully treat their land hunger ren­dered them “squat­ters” by the colo­nial­ists who claimed to be the right­ful own­ers of the in­vaded farms.

They had the bind­ing terms of our ne­go­ti­ated in­de­pen­dence as the source of ra­tio­nale to con­tinue the op­pres­sion of the ma­jor­ity. All this hap­pened in the in­ter­est of pro­mot­ing the “idea of Zim­babwe”.

It’s quite ob­vi­ous that the idea of Zim­babwe was il­lu­sive, it was meant to serve ab­stract trans­for­ma­tion ex­i­gen­cies.

It is dur­ing lit­er­a­ture was this pe­riod where

more na­tion­al­ist cel­e­bra­tory than it was crit­i­cal of the gaps of ne­go­ti­ated in­de­pen­dence. There was more em­pha­sis on cel­e­brat­ing the newly found po­lit­i­cal power. As we would all re­mem­ber, this was the time per­spec­tives of lib­er­a­tion his­tory were told from a per­spec­tive of ab­so­lute tri­umph of na­tion­al­ism.

The warn­ing by Frantz Fanon (1961) about watch­ing against “pit­falls of na­tional con­scious­ness” be­came a lesser pri­or­ity. I guess it was quite nor­mal for “the masses” to be more im­mersed in cel­e­brat­ing be­cause this coun­try was blood-earned. This is even cap­tured in our mu­sic with Thomas Map­fumo’s song ti­tled Pem­berai.

The song sum­mons Zim­bab­weans to end­lessly cel­e­brate the cre­ation of Zim­babwe. The song even in­vites gen­er­a­tions to come to con­tinue cel­e­brat­ing the birth of Zim­babwe.

Cel­e­brat­ing the birth of Zim­babwe be­came a per­ti­nent as­pect of the im­me­di­ate na­tion-build­ing mantra. This hype was ac­cel­er­ated by the coun­try’s his­tor­i­cal lit­er­a­ture which had a ho­mogenis­ing ef­fect on be­long­ing.

For in­stance, Ranger (1970) posits that Zim­babwe is a prod­uct of a ho­mo­ge­neous lib­er­a­tion tra­jec­tory and de­coloni­sa­tion project.

How­ever, Ranger’s sub­mis­sion at­tracts crit­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion as it presents the Chimurenga as a “re­volt”. Con­trary to the ac­cepted na­tional nar­ra­tive, a re­volt in colo­nial Zim­babwe’s con­text would im­ply go­ing against an ac­cept­able maxim.

The term of­fers an apolo­getic em­pha­sis on colo­nial­ism as an ac­cepted form of gov­er­nance which was met with re­bel­lion by its African sub­jects.

The reader is made to be­lieve that by then Africans were go­ing against a de­jure model of gov­er­nance.

This largely em­anates from the cen­tral the­sis of Ranger’s re­search which places great em­pha­sis on the rel­e­vance of a com­mon African re­li­gion which catal­ysed the mo­bil­i­sa­tion process of forces of re­sis­tance in oust­ing colo­nial dom­i­na­tion prior to these pre-1965 “wars.”

Ranger as­serts that African cultism uni­fied the Ndebele and the Shona in their re­sis­tance to colo­nial­ism, a uni­fi­ca­tion that trans­versely de­fied the “Lug­gar­dian” de­cen­tralised despotic sub­mis­sion which bi­fur­cated the “Black Repub­lic” along petty is­sues of eth­nic­ity.

This points out how much lit­er­a­ture was no­tably used to achieve a cel­e­bra­tory imag­i­na­tion of the idea of Zim­babwe. Works of other his­to­ri­ans like David Beach, Stan Mu­denge and Prof Ng­wabi Bhebe re­mained at the cen­tre of build­ing a mem­ory of the coun­try and in some spa­ces such lit­er­a­ture was used to per­pet­u­ate the idea of Zim­babwe.

In eco­nomic terms, neo-lib­er­al­ism has been mainly en­gaged as a de­vel­op­men­tal ges­ture than it is an ex­pres­sion of the West’s at­tempt to broaden its hege­monic prin­ci­ples of gov­er­nance at the ex­pense of the ex­pe­ri­ences of those it tar­gets as its stu­dents.

This is the same neo-lib­er­al­ism which mu­ti­lated African economies to struc­tural ad­just­ments in the early 1990s.

In some spheres, the ra­tio­nale of neo-lib­er­al­ism has been prob­lema­tised for pro­mot­ing a one-sided course of the democ­racy de­bate in Africa. It is not also dis­putable that neo-lib­er­al­ism has aided the growth of op­po­si­tion pol­i­tics to safe­guard colo­nial prop­erty own­er­ship in Africa.

In Zim­babwe’s case, neo-lib­er­al­ism played a cru­cial role in rais­ing a se­lec­tive aware­ness on hu­man rights and democ­racy fol­low­ing the peo­pledriven Land Re­form Pro­gramme. In turn, this prompted the need for re­viv­ing na­tion­al­ism which was em­phatic of Zim­babwe’s delink from the West in the early 2000s.

Na­tion­al­ism be­came an emo­tive lib­er­a­tion-an­chored per­spec­tive for re­assert­ing Zim­babwe’s in­ter­ac­tion with the West. To­day, na­tion­al­ism should be a re­source for con­struc­tively defin­ing Zim­babwe’s pol­icy lean­ing with re­gards to im­prov­ing the liveli­hoods of the cit­i­zenry.

Na­tion­al­ism must be the defin­ing mark of Zanu-PF’s en­try into this dis­pen­sa­tion. Na­tion­al­ism must be a key re­source to ground­ing the le­git­i­macy of the new ad­min­is­tra­tion in its eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment as­pi­ra­tions.

Tak­ing a na­tion­al­ist turn Na­tion­al­ist pro­nounce­ments on this en­gage­ment en­vis­aged by the rul­ing must go be­yond the nar­ra­tive of em­ploy­ment-cre­ation. This is be­cause job-cre­ation mainly sus­tains the eco­nomic power base of the multi­na­tional com­pany and the hege­mony of its mother coun­try.

The propo­si­tion of em­ploy­mentcre­ation must also cas­cade to en­hanc­ing the sup­ply of skills to the mush­room­ing “in­for­mal sec­tors”.

Like­wise, the no­tion of em­ploy­mentcre­ation must add value to the ab­sence of skills with di­rect im­pact on cru­cial sec­tors like our ex­trac­tive in­dus­try.

There is also need for em­pha­sis on pro­mot­ing indige­nous spe­cial­i­sa­tion in the pro­duc­tion of high-value com­modi­ties for ex­port mar­kets to com­pete with the im­ports con­sumer cul­ture catal­ysed by neo-lib­er­al­ism.

Our en­gage­ment with the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity must fa­cil­i­tate a lu­cid re-or­gan­i­sa­tion of cap­i­tal through mu­tual ben­e­fit of our lo­cal busi­nesses and their for­eign coun­ter­parts.

In the same vein, re­gional trade should be strength­ened so that Sadc and Africa as a whole also ben­e­fit from Zim­babwe’s open­ness to busi­ness. This will en­able the coun­try to be­come a rel­e­vant con­trib­u­tor to Africa’s growth, par­tic­u­larly in terms of restor­ing her le­gacy as the bread­bas­ket of Africa.

Through this ap­proach, it may also be easy for Zim­babwe to set the pace for fos­ter­ing col­lec­tive di­a­logue in trade ne­go­ti­a­tions re­gard­ing goods and ser­vices which the con­ti­nent has to of­fer. IT sur­prises me so much that although a lot has been said and talked about false prophets and pas­tors it looks like our peo­ple still be­lieve in them.

A lot of homes have col­lapsed as a re­sult of these greedy and false prophets. Prophets and pas­tors love money these days than they love their God.

The world was re­cently shocked by an in­ci­dent which oc­curred in South Africa dur­ing a Sun­day church ser­vice when the prophet or­dered ev­ery­one in the church to drink Jik, a de­ter­gent which is harm­ful to peo­ple when con­sumed. The prophet had mis­led peo­ple into be­liev­ing that as long as they had faith in the Lord that liq­uid would be harm­less to them. Af­ter drink­ing the poi­son wor­ship­pers be­gan to vomit in­side the church and the un­lucky ones died in­stantly while oth­ers died on their way to hos­pi­tal. I feel the gov­ern­ments should se­verely pun­ish such mer­ci­less prophets and pas­tors who cause un­nec­es­sary deaths of in­no­cent peo­ple.

Peo­ple go to church to pray and wor­ship their God and not to be forced to drink poi­son as a sign to test the strength or power of God. There was an­other prophet again who forced his fol­low­ers to eat grass like cat­tle. The same prophets are al­ways in the me­dia ly­ing to peo­ple say­ing so and so will die soon. Some politi­cians have lost their hard earned money and prop­erty af­ter they were mus­cled that they would win the har­monised elec­tions.

Peo­ple should be urged to choose churches wisely as some of them may end up caus­ing their deaths.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa flanked by Vice-Pres­i­dent Chi­wenga and Vi­cePres­i­dent Mo­hadi

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