War vets dragged through mud: Komichi

Information Technology Minister and MDC-T National Organising Secretary, Nelson Chamisa, says his party does not need to reinvent the wheel and come up with a new political ideology, saying his party was guided by the need to liberate the people from oppression.

Nelson Chamisa: More important to stand for something, than against.
Nelson Chamisa: More important to stand for something, than against.

Chamisa was last week speaking at the party’s Ideological Lecture Series dubbed “The revolution checked halfway: where did we go wrong and where are we going; the case of the liberation struggle,” at which the guest speaker was celebrated liberation war hero Wilfred Mhanda of the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform.

“Ours is a continuation of the people’s revolution and we seek to complete the people’s struggle. We are for the liberation struggle and as such, there is no need for us to recreate or fashion an ideology.

It is good to stand against something but it’s more glorious and important to stand for something. We want to make sure that the betrayal of the people’s revolution is finally laid to rest and the fulfilment of the people’s wishes is realised,” said Chamisa.

He said the MDC-T valued the history of the country, adding that the “ideology of the country is dear to us as a party … the revolution speaks to the interests and aspirations of the people of this country”.

In his presentation Mhanda, known during the 1970s war against colonialism as Dzinashe Machingura, chronicled the reasons that forced those of his generation to take up arms against the racist Rhodesian regime.

“The same things that forced us to go to war are the things that have forced Zimbabweans to stand up and fight dictatorship. Freedom is an instinct and nobody needs to be forced to fight to be free. We need therefore to teach our people that it is a sacrifice that does not have a monetary reward at the end, but freedom for this generation and posterity,” Mhanda said.

The MDC, which split into two factions in 2007 over a disagreement on the re-establishment of the Senate, was formed in 1999 mainly out of protest against President Mugabe’s tightening grip on power and a snowballing political and economic crisis.

While its formation was mainly coordinated by trade unionists championing the cause of increasingly suffering workers, it also had components of employers, lawyers and student activists.

Some political analysts regarded this composition of the party as a cocktail of sometimes contradictory interests brought together out of protest, thus it was difficult for the MDC to come up with a coherent ideology.

Zanu (PF) has always accused the MDC of being a puppet of western governments gunning to remove President Mugabe from power.

MDC-T Deputy National Chairman, Morgan Komichi, speaking at the same forum, called on Zimbabweans to accept the country’s liberation war fighters.

The ex-combatants became unpopular with Zimbabweans for a violent takeover of commercial farms from 2000 and political victimisation of the opposition during election periods.

“War veterans are a very nice lot and good people who fought for the emancipation of the people of this country but Mugabe has dragged their good standing and name through the mud.

“Now Zimbabweans cannot trust them (but) I implore you not to judge these people based on that man (Mugabe)’s character which is flawed and not representative of the behaviour of all liberation fighters,” said Komichi, to applause from the audience.

Mhanda concurred with Komichi and accused the local media of naiveté, saying they had been duped by fake war veterans paraded by Zanu (PF) across the country.

“Our media has been fed and they took hook, line and sinker, a dummy by Zanu (PF) into catapulting obscure characters such as Joseph Chinotimba and others at the expense of genuine veterans of the war.

“They have also abused our name and standing by claiming that veterans of the liberation war are spearheading the land reform program when they have gone about buying rogue elements of their party to masquerade as former fighters and we now seek to correct that perception,” said Mhanda.

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