Info essential for democracy


n:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />HARARE – Zimbabweans are unfortunate in that the dwindling sources of information have turned the country into a nation exposed to half-truths, distortions, untested conspiracies and rumours. All the three State-aligned daily newspapers have failed to fill the growing information vacuum.

These newspapers claim to be purveyors and suppliers of information yet what they give out is simply drivel and advocacy propaganda on behalf of Zanu (PF). The grand plan is to turn Zimbabweans into a mediocre people, unable to debate and question pertinent issues in their own society.

Recently, these newspapers reported that MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai became the first Zimbabwean politician to be deported from Zambia. This display of ignorance is unacceptable.

Chinamasa, and others, ended up mistaking Tsvangirai’s deportation for Zambian solidarity with the tyranny of the Zanu (PF). A look into the events of liberation history will confirm the often-impulsive disposition of Zambian authorities towards bullies and tyrants surrounding their country. Zambia is a cautious nation, keen to avoid confrontation.

Some events that took place as Zambia hosted liberation movements cannot be understood outside their proper context. Zambia’s position towards supporting Zimbabwe and Namibia’s independence struggles was unequivocal. Yet Zambia suffered from impulsive behaviour, much of which was informed by its military vulnerability and its penchant desire to escape aggression from its belligerent neighbours.

In 1972 after the formation of Frolizi, Zanu and Zapu, the liberation movements of that period, appreciated the need for a concerted rather than divided approach in their confrontation with the Smith regime. This desire to form a united armed front resulted in the formation of a Joint Military Command, (JMC) which brought together the commanders of the two-armed wings of Zanu and Zapu.

At that time part of the military commanders of both Zanla and Zipra were based in Tanzania, which housed most of the guerilla training camps. The JMC held its first meeting in Tanzania and decided to hold its second meeting in Zambia in the same year.

The OAU liberation committee assisted the military commanders based in Tanzania with air tickets to enable them to attend the JMC meeting in Lusaka, Zambia. Part of the team of commanders then based in Tanzania included Webster Gwauya (Nenji) of Zanla, and Nikita Mangena of Zipra.

On arrival at Lusaka international airport, these commanders were refused entry by the Zambian authorities. Efforts were made to seek the release of these commanders so that they could join their comrades at the JMC meeting to no avail. They were later deported back to Dar-e-Salaam.

In another related incident, which left the liberation forces even more confused is the deportation of veteran politician Walter Mtimukulu as the Zambians tried to grapple with possible consequences of the formation, by Nathan Shamuyarira and others, of Front for Liberation of Zimbabwe (Frolizi). Mtimukulu and about 120 other trained combatants were deported to Smith’s Rhodesia to meet their fate.

Tsvangirai’s deportation is therefore not an isolated incident of political intrigue as portrayed by Zanu (PF), but it typifies the attitude of successive Zambian governments towards those fighting for freedom in Zimbabwe.

Post published in: News

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