Well, it is not a deniable fact that, indeed, both the then ZANU and ZAPU brought the independence that we attained on 18th April 1980 from colonial rule.
However, there is a need to make one thing abundantly clear – Zimbabwe is in desperate need of more liberation struggles – since, what was achieved 43 years ago was simply the first stage, and the people of this country are still light-years away from real freedom and uhuru.
I am not advocating for any violent armed rebellion – but simply stating a fact of life – that a country’s independence from colonial domination has never been a guarantee of true liberation for the ordinary citizenry.
In quite a number of nations, that have attained a measure of democracy – it took more than one revolution for the men, women and children on the street to finally ‘enjoy the fruits of their independence’.
In fact, some, such as the USA (United States of America) have taken more than 200 years – and various forms of revolutionaries – to get to the point they are today.
Even then, most of their nationals are still clamouring for more freedoms, equality and equity – on account of continued instances of marginalization and segregation of some sections of the population.
As such, it becomes rather insincere and disingenuous for the ruling ZANU PF regime to portray themselves as the ‘be all and end all’ of democracy and the respect of human rights in Zimbabwe – simply on the basis of fighting the 1970s armed struggle, and the subsequent independence from British domination.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
How can anyone, in their right mind, ever claim that there is any independence to enjoy in Zimbabwe – when the majority of its citizens still languish in poverty, can not afford a basic standard of living, and are reduced to near paupers and destitute?
What independence is there, when those who dare speak up against these undoubted injustices are imprisoned on spurious charges, or the opposition is savagely denied their constitutional right to freely participate in the country’s democratic processes?
In simple words – for Zimbabwe to reach the levels of freedoms and liberty acceptable to the majority – more revolutions are required, as just one liberation struggle was not enough.
Let us look at the history of our world.
On 4th July 1776, Americans signed the declaration of independence – thereby, freeing themselves from the yoke of British rule – which had culminated from the Revolutionary War of 1775 to 1783.
As much as George Washington and his fellow founding fathers have always been heralded as bringing freedom and liberty to Americans – is this really true?
We need to know that, in spite of this hard-won independence – bought by the blood of gallant heroes and heroines, who sacrificed everything – women could still not vote, blacks were still enslaved, and basic human rights not guaranteed.
In fact, it took nearly the next century for slavery to be abolished – under the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, signed in 1865 – only after a devastating civil war waged between 1861 and 1865.
Even after that, although Abraham Lincoln was credited as having ended slavery – blacks remained segregated from their white compatriots for another one hundred years – until the emergence of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, led by such luminaries as Martin Luther King Jnr, Malcolm X, and others.
When it comes to women, they (only whites) were finally allowed to take part in electoral processes in 1919 – after the enactment of the 19th Amendment – a good 143 years after independence.
What I am merely trying to show here is that it is a huge fallacy to believe that, just because a country has attained political independence from a colonial power – that automatically translates into the freedom and liberty of the ordinary people.
No, it does not work that way.
There is always a need for more revolutions and liberation struggles to force the desired uhuru for all the country’s citizenry.
If anything, the greatest tragedy of the initial independence is that the victors and new leaders usually have a tendency of taking on the form of the former oppressor.
In so doing, the welfare and well-being of the ordinary citizenry seldom truly improve in any meaningful way – as the new ‘post-independence’ government merely continues with the politics of preserving the privileges of only a small ruling elite – at the expense of the majority, who remain in poverty and marginalized.
This also applies to Zimbabwe
As long as we sit back, believing that we are now free – just because of what occurred in 1980 – then, we will forever be crying.
Whichever way we choose to wage that liberation struggle – since, there is really no need for violence or going back to the bush – but, there is no denying that we need another truly ‘people’s revolution’.
It is about time that ordinary oppressed and marginalized Zimbabweans rejected the fallacy of ‘freedom and liberty’, which has been deceptively peddled by the ZANU PF regime for the past four decades.
It is very little that has changed for the people of Zimbabwe since the days of colonialization.
If anything, our living standards have further deteriorated over the course of our ‘independence’ – with most citizens attesting to life has become worse than in Rhodesia.
What is, therefore, required is certainly not the return to the colonial era – as that is a closed chapter, that no one wants to return to – but, a new series of revolutions that actually take our country forward, and not backwards.
Just as witnessed in the US – real freedom and liberty does not automatically come with the attainment of independence from colonial rule.
The ball is now entirely in the court of the people of Zimbabwe.
- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: [email protected]