The people of Zimbabwe were repeatedly reminded how important the nation’s independence was, and that it was tantamount to betrayal and selling-out for anyone not to attend these anniversary celebrations.
As I write this article, I can actually see Mugabe, in my mind, fuming with wrath, as he ranted and raved, at how Whites and the opposition were so unpatriotic, and always wanted to isolate themselves, as they were not at the stadium.
He would accuse them of being nostalgic of Rhodesia, and how they were busy working underground to reverse the gains of independence – whatever those were – and plotting to have Zimbabwe re-colonised by the British.
Such gatherings were the opportunity for Mugabe to make his delusional allegations of machinations against the country by Whites and the opposition, and how they were working with Zimbabwe’s erstwhile colonial masters Britain, and her allies, such as the United States (US), to sabotage the economy, and bring about illegal regime change.
He would accuse his target enemies for everything wrong with the country from food and fuel shortages, hyper-inflation, lack of foreign currency, company closures, non-payment of salaries, dearth of medication in government hospitals, and so many others.
Mugabe would pile all the blame on the targeted sanctions imposed on him and his inner circle, and businesses associated with his brutal regime, by the West, for these problems – accusing Whites and the opposition for inviting them.
As Mugabe was fuming and making a complete nuisance of himself, the audience would be busy applauding him, with loud ullulations and clapping.
The nation would be inundated with news reports in the state media – for days to come – on how the president’s speech was well-received, coupled with the voices of so-called analysts – people whose sole mission is to wait for the president to say something, then merely agree with everything that he would have said.
Zimbabweans would then be told how patriotic Mugabe was, and that we should all emulate him.
In fact, his ZANU PF outfit, the 21st February Movement, was created solely that the nation’s youths would follow his footsteps, as he was touted to be a hero amongst heroes.
However, the question that begs an answer is: did Mugabe attend this year’s independence celebrations at the National Sports Stadium in Harare?
I do not recall seeing him during the broadcast of the event.
If he did not – which, I strongly believe is the case – then the next question would obviously be: is he now unpatriotic?
In fact, has he now become less patriotic that the opposition, since most of the leaders were present?
Should the nation now accuse him of being a traitor?
Since he was at the fore of accusing those who would not have attended the event, of all sorts of crimes against the nation, is he guilty of the same?
Whatever the answers to these questions are, the main lesson Zimbabweans should learn from all this is that ZANU PF is unstable and can never be relied upon.
Their policies, as displayed by their own leaders, are fluid, and are all dependent on political expediency – and not concrete policies.
Let us all remember that Mugabe never ruled alone – as he had the same people who are leading Zimbabwe today, around him.
The very fact that, ever since the military takeover last year in November, the country and ZANU PF leadership has confined its criticisms to the so-called G40 cabal, but conveniently avoiding Mugabe, speaks volumes.
It clearly shows that, whatever Mugabe did and said, had the full blessings of those around him, including the current president Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, the then military generals, the whole current leadership.
Never have we heard the new military dispensation utter any negative words against how Mugabe ran the country.
At least, they are being honest, as they know that they were in complete agreement with Mugabe’s policies, and as such, would be unashamedly disingenuous to try and disassociate themselves from him.
When Mugabe was busy proclaiming that Whites who had their farms dispossessed would not be compensated, or that the British and US could go hang, or that anyone who ate and drank with Whites and those in Western capitals were traitors – those in power today applauded.
Yet, today, the new military dispensation – those very same people who were applauding Mugabe – are saying and doing the opposite!
When Mugabe was telling everyone that the Commonwealth was a grouping to glorify British imperialist past, those in power today completely agreed – but, today they are in London seeping tea with the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting (CHOGM).
They are now number one – more than the opposition’s Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, whom they accused of being a White puppet – in visiting Western capitals and enjoying the company of Whites and their money.
However, what the people of Zimbabwe can learn from all this is that ZANU PF can never be trusted in anything they say and proclaim.
At one time, they can passionately espouse one policy – with their subservient state media sheepishly in tow – and then, when it suits them, suddenly change colours.
How many innocent Zimbabweans lost their lives, or where brutally tortured, beaten up, arrested, and even abducted for standing up to Mugabe and ZANU PF policies?
Yet, Mugabe himself can so easily betray his own statements, proclamations and accusations!
So why did all those innocent people suffer?
Why were people like Itai Dzamara abducted?
Where is he now?
As Mugabe has apparently turned traitor against his own country, and the new military dispensation seems to have ‘changed’ policies, why do they not tell his family the truth?
If it is so easy for ZANU PF leaders to turn against their own proclamations – which were supported by the new military dispensation – how then can the people of Zimbabwe trust the current leadership?
Can they not be saying one thing today, and then, when it suits them, turn around and do the complete opposite tomorrow?
We have already witnessed how the ZANU PF leadership appears so passionate about a cause, then suddenly they change face.
As we approach the harmonized elections, let the people of Zimbabwe be wary of ZANU PF shenanigans, and always be aware that what they so impassionately proclaim today, is not necessarily what they will do tomorrow.
If the new military dispensation could – less than a year ago – have been in full agreement with Mugabe’s policies, yet today seem to be saying something else, then it is time that Zimbabweans distanced themselves from these people.
From Mugabe to Mnangagwa, nothing in their modus operandi has changed at all – they are still as unreliable as ever.
What suits them today, is not necessarily what will suit them tomorrow.
Let the people of Zimbabwe finally put an end to this ZANU PF regime, and choose something more steadfast and reliable in its policies.
° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. He is the Programmes Director with the Zimbabwe Network for Social Justice (ZimJustice). Please feel free to call/WhatsApp: +263782283975, or email: [email protected]. Please also ‘Like’ the ‘ZimJustice’ page on Facebook.