ONE wonders what could have led you to publish such unmitigated rubbish as the article by Trevor Grundy “Whatever happened to Mutasa?”, (Zimbabwe Independent, November 10).
Are you opening up a column for sour grapes from
Grundy effectively argues that Didymus Mutasa was a good Mission boy, a deeply Christian young man, a living legend among liberal Christians, but now he has gone wrong, a political ogre threatening to physically eliminate government opponents.
Grundy talks as if he owns the memory of the late Guy Clutton-Brock, and can talk with assurance on his behalf, now that Clutton-Brock is safely dead.
He supports his case by quoting white liberals who have left the country, perhaps because it is no longer comfortable for whites?
Cold Comfort Farm, together with Nyafaru in Chief Tangwena’s area, was so much more than Grundy’s patronising “to teach young black people modern agricultural techniques”.
Rather, Cold Comfort Farm and Nyafaru were an attempt to begin to map out a more egalitarian land policy and social and economic practice, such as later blossomed in the co-operatives which developed in the 1980s and which to this date have never entirely been defeated, despite structural adjustment and difficult economic times.
The image of Mutasa is of “a fair man, full of charm and integrity”, who has latterly become a heartless and unforgivable man who would welcome the death of nearly half of the people of Zimbabwe. How cheap can one get?
The truth is that Mutasa has perhaps the most difficult job in the country. He has been tasked with cleaning up and professionalising the land reform and resettlement process, no easy task by any measure. And he is succeeding.
He has effectively resolved the multiple farm problem and has professionalised the issue of A2 offer letters, a process which had run into something of a morass.
Now he is struggling with the tenure problem for A2 farms, conservancies and safari farms, and he is making considerable progress.
He is facing the very difficult question of a plantation policy that will both encourage strategic industries such as timber, tea and coffee and at the same time do justice to the original inhabitants of the estates who were forced off their land violently within recent memory without their agreement and without compensation.
Mutasa also faces the very difficult problem of countries that regularly vote against Zimbabwe in the European Commission, breaking their sides of the country to country protection for investment agreements, yet demand of Zimbabwe that it sticks to the letter of its undertakings.
How would Grundy, or his white liberal friends, fare, faced with these challenges? They would capitulate, no doubt, and that is exactly what Mutasa is very unlikely to do.
Grundy really shows his colours when he refers to Roy Bennett, who, he says, was loved by his black constituents in the Eastern Highlands town of Chimanimani in much the same way as Clutton-Brock had been loved half a century earlier.
Bennett was, is a thug, a violent man as I can personally testify, an exploiter of child-labour on a massive scale, a Rhodesian to the core, reputedly a founder member of the reactionary Conservative Alliance of Zimbabwe.
It is this comparison with Bennett that would make Clutton-Brock rest less easy in his grave at Heroes’ Acre, not what has become of his old friend and comrade, Didymus Mutasa.
Underlying Grundy’s article is the frustration and guilt felt by liberal Rhodesians such as Diana Mitchell, Terence Ranger, Eileen Haddon (if she is still with us), at their ineffectual lack of any real commitment to a Zimbabwe that exists for the comfort of all its people, not simply for that of whites, liberal or otherwise.
As has been questioned in the press recently, how many whites did fight for the Patriotic Front during the war of liberation? And how many of these fought for an African nationalist agenda? The answer to the latter question is perhaps three: Jeremy Brickhill, John Conradie and Clutton-Brock.
Where were the rest? And where are they now?
And since Independence, what have the whites, liberal or otherwise, done to build a truly liberated Zimbabwe?
A few — a precious few — have moved out of their economic and cultural comfort zones while in 2000 virtually every single white in the country retreated into a laager, short-pants Rhodies alongside sophisticated and apparently progressive intellectuals.
They have remained within the cocoons of their comfort zones, disparaging that which they do not have the courage or commitment to assist, and then they feel they have the right to put together the crassly racist and classist verbiage that the Independent has seen fit to publish, much to its discredit.