How ZANU PF killed independence!

Last night, by force of habit, I decided to flip through the television channels, just checking out what was showing on various stations.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

I came to the local ZBC, where they were playing a liberation song. 

It was obvious that this was all part of the  independence fervor, as Zimbabwe turns 44 years on 18th April.

I knew the song – since throughout my early childhood in the 1970s, the spirit of  uhuru was an integral facet of our household. 

My late father was a fervent proponent and supporter of the independence cause, as such, inculcated in me an inextinguishable passion for justice and a loathing for all forms of oppression. 

I can proudly declare that my father created the man I am today. 

Therefore, we would sit around the radio in the evening listening to the VOZ (Voice of Zimbabwe) broadcasts carried via Maputo (then Lourenço Marques) Radio.

The song I bumped into on ZBC was one of those that we used to listen to and sing along to on the VOZ  – which sought to educate the masses and mobilize them to back the struggle for liberation. 

It was called ‘Maruza imi vapambepfumi’.

What endeared me to this particular song – memories of which were evoked last evening – was how it so beautifully chronicled the history of our country from colonization to independence.

As I listened to ‘Maruza ini vapambepfumi’ yesterday, I was gripped by a sense of pride for the independence that we attained in 1980 from decades of colonialism. 

I felt as though it was 1980 all over again.

The renewed self-confidence of a people that had perceived themselves second-class citizens in their own country, and the hope of a new Zimbabwe where all of us would benefit equitably in the sharing of the national cake.

Honestly, those feelings returned last night. 

However, this was not to last long. 

Before the song even finished, I was painfully brought back to reality.

This was no longer 1980 but 2024.

We have been ‘independent’ for the past 44 years, yet we are still treated as second-class citizens in our own country. 

The vast majority of Zimbabweans are still living on the fringes of society where we are not sharing in the national cake. 

The biggest pieces are still going to a small minority who are in the ruling elite. 

They are the ones who live in vulgar opulence as they enjoy the fat of the land. 

Only a tiny fraction of Zimbabweans are the ones who are enjoying the fruits of our independence – whilst half the population wallow below the extreme poverty line.

Already, based on statistics from UNICEF, an estimated 1.7 million children in Zimbabwe will need urgent humanitarian assistance this year. 

Zimbabwean children – 23.5 percent or over half a million – are stunted (chronically malnourished) and do not grow and develop to their full potential.

Last year alone, 4,300 children were admitted in hospital for wasting, which the WHO describes as acute malnutrition and a sign that a child has experienced periods of undernutrition. 

Furthermore, most families in Zimbabwe have resorted to restricting their meals per day to only one.

All this is due to unimaginable poverty and lack of access to sufficient food. 

Those in power or aligned to them are the ones with access to vast tracts of fertile land – as the majority languish in the same reserves of the Land Apportionment Act of 1930.

We will not even talk about our children whose prospects of owning even a square inch of land in Zimbabwe is next to none.

Yet, there is a small clique in possession of more than one commercial farm, such as former president Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s daughter Bona, who reportedly owns 21. 

Who knows how many those in power today own – after generously gifting each other huge farms under the guise of a ‘land reform program’.

Maybe we will only be told after they all leave office. 

Yet, the so-called ‘land question’ was one the central grievances of the liberation struggle. 

This remembrance sunk my heart. 

It was clear that Zimbabweans were not yet free. 

There is no denying that ZANU PF killed independence. 

They have become the new ‘vapambepfumi’ – working in cahoots with their Chinese puppet masters who are pillaging our natural resources with impunity.

In all this, hapless villagers are being forcibly displaced from their ancestral lands – with little to no compensation at all. 

To make matters worse, these communities (and the nation at large) are not befitting anything meaningful from these minerals (as gold, platinum, diamonds, and lithium) being mined in their areas. 

If they are extremely lucky, the local youth are offered menial work for peanuts, and one or two classroom blocks built.

Yet, those in power are looting these minerals by the plane-load.

All the dreams and hopes of 1980 have been systematically destroyed by a corrupt, greedy kleptomaniac ruling elite.

We are just as oppressed and marginalized as during the colonial era, if not worse today. 

Yesterday, I wondered to myself: Will Zimbabweans one day sing again, ‘maruza imi vapambepfumi’ when we finally attain true freedom?

● Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email:, or visit website:

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