By Kudzai Mbudzi
I LEFT this country in 1977 at a very tender age when I was still doing Form 4 at the then Chibi Secondary School. I fought throughout the armed struggl
e as a Zanla Detachment political commissar and instructor.
On January 27 1980, I was in the entourage of President Robert Mugabe on a plane from Maputo to Salisbury to join in Rhodesia’s first democratic elections which ushered in political independence to our people.
I and many of my colleagues were prepared to sacrifice our lives for two main objectives.
Firstly, political independence as a panacea to self-fulfillment, and ultimately the much-sought-after freedom from underdevelopment and hunger, and the right to choose one’s own leaders in a free and fair democratic election process.
To me democracy then could be likened to a classroom exercise in the election of school prefects. This same view of a simple and unguided classroom democracy was to be amplified, much to the satisfaction of my callow mind, almost 30 years later, when in Polokwane, South Africa, about 5 000 mostly rural folks replicated my previous shaky imaginations of the basic tenets of a democratic process in the choice of their leaders.
When I left this country I had completed only Form 3, but 10 years later, had acquired four prestigious university qualifications, most of which were achieved with meritorious performance of clear distinctions, implying my humble flexibility to quickly adapt to the challenges in my new operating environment.
It is this tradition of clear wisdom which made me a disciple of a deliberate process of adaptation that I saluted in the Polokwane debacle — or was it a revolution to many of us? At least this open exercise of freedom was a wonder to witness at Polokwane.
The primary objective of any revolutionary fight and the underlying factor of our fight against foreign domination was economic empowerment of all Zimbabweans regardless of race, creed, colour, sex or age. The general meaning of empowerment is clear to many of us, as it is supposed and therefore presumed to be the gateway to success — away from a downtrodden life of misery and poverty.
I have little differences with George Charamba on the definition of a fully empowered person as he is daily reminded of his own state and his meagre civil servant’s salary, lying side by side with the riches of many of his own principals, as he administers the proceedings of their deliberations as dictated by his job description.
It is the definition and our exercise of the first objective and freedom of the revolutionary struggle that I find Charamba’s assertions and accusations unutterably foreign to my nature of living. Charamba refers to me as a “mere Major Mbudzi”, implying a very insignificant element in the whole unfolding political process under review.
Charamba forgets that I directly fought for the positive construction of the Zimbabwe we today want. I have therefore a stake in the democratic process of this country in a more defined role of an activist and a shareholder.
I therefore do not define myself simply as a passive subject and therefore a supporter of some predetermined development and change process. I am not prepared to mortgage my own fate and that of all the future generations to some third parties.
And when I do this, it will always be with full and constant reference to what we agreed upon while in Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania as Zanla and Zipra forces to which Charamba might not have been a part.
As he is not an ex-combatant he should stop poking his nose into the basic tenets of freedom and liberation which we agreed upon more than 30 to 40 years ago while in the bush. I openly challenge him to a public debate on this, even on television.
But Charamba, the same zeal and passion you are showing in being a master of ideological correctness should also have been elicited in your sacrifice and the fight for the same objective during the armed struggle and, deducing from your stature, you seem to have been of the correct physical build then to have been a fierce freedom fighter.
So stop trying to be the “Lenin” of the Zimbabwean revolution through the abuse of your official position and the public media.
Charamba must also be ethical.
Firstly, his position as a senior civil servant prohibits him from openly bragging about his political orientation as he is required to be apolitical. He must be reminded that he is not a permanent secretary to the revolution, but to cabinet, which tomorrow might change to include me.
Secondly, if Charamba is a loyal Zanu PF cadre within the civil service, he must be cognisant of the fact that the party is always supreme to government. He must and should uphold the orientation of subservience to personalities such as Simba Makoni as a member of the politburo and Major Mbudzi as a member of Zanu PF’s provincial executive.
Indeed the lack of wisdom, clarity and direction in your articles under the pseudonym Nathaniel Manheru smack of the same poverty and lamentable lack of wisdom, clarity and orientation in the brains behind the articles.
As I read your article in the Herald on Saturday (January 5), I simply but could only conclude that if a fool climbs a tree, stop all the rescue operations and wait until it is dark, he will simply willingly disembark when his hands start losing grip. No wonder the public media institutions are over-managed and under-led. Our democracy can never develop when our important public institutions for self-proclamation are being controlled by people like Charamba.
A dangerously degenerated level of this view might even lead to a perception that only you in top public positions that support the perpetuation of the current system and status quo for obvious reasons always entertain a belief that you hold the title deeds of liberation and freedom of the people, and yet you are simply and ordinarily beneficiaries of a system collectively fought for and therefore contrived.
There is then a danger that some of you, Charamba, might move around with democracy zipped in your own pockets, only to produce it when it best suits you, but quickly zip it back when your interests and those of your own principals are threatened.
Is it a lie Charamba that you personally arranged the hiring of the plane used in the Tsholotsho debacle? So why all of a sudden have you become the self-proclaimed treasure of our democratic rights and freedoms against dissenting voices and therefore rebels?
If you look at Cuba, one probably wonders whether those comrades are still on the same arrangement to go to “Mecca”, or they better be advised to abandon the Mosaic plans and go back to the biblical “suppressive” Egypt. Cuba became liberated in 1959, but up to now its people are yet to cross the Rubicon and taste the goodness of independence in an open global villagised economy.
Indeed systems like the previous communist Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Romania and so on were supposed to be barometers for independence and freedom but, alas, ended up with very sad episodes of celebrated break-ups. But look at China and its Hu Jintao — it’s all fire and energy, an epitome of development.
So what is the lesson my brother, Charamba? It is clear then that we need to continually adapt ourselves to the changes taking place in the global political market place (with Polokwane as part of this global market place) and thrive to continually adjust our thinking and behaviours through the eyes of this global political market place.
It is painful Charamba, with all that I have experienced in this meanderous revolutionary walk, to enter a pub and hear some of these young guys remarking: “Mukoma, kana zviri izvo zvamakagwira izvi dzokerai nenyika munoisungira kwamakaisunungura. (If this is the freedom you fought for, the country is better off under colonial rule.)“
As an ex-combatant, I firmly believe, and correctly so, that there shall come a time when we shall assume full ownership of the political processes in Zimbabwe, and to some of us final victory is certain.
But what do I perceive as final victory, Charamba, lest you catch me once more by the wrong foot?
* Victory means success of all the individual family units in Zimbabwe.
* Victory means more happiness and satisfying lives of all Zimbabweans.
* Victory means freedom from hunger and impoverishment.
* Victory means people will not flock into neighbouring countries wearing haggard and mournful faces foraging for food and basic subsistence and being stigmatised to the extent of totally losing their own individual characters through mistreatment and menial jobs they are forced to perform.
* Victory means that our innocent and pregnant women, some with babies on their backs, are no longer swept away by the flooded Limpopo in a desperate bid to look for subsistence in South Africa.
* Victory means those in the diaspora will be free to visit and spend all Christmas and New Year holidays with us, pay last respects to our dead before saying goodbye to all their loved ones and heading back for their different international assignments.
* Victory means that the arrogant and dehumanising terms ” shefu” and “fugitive” are replaced by comrades, friends and dear Zimbabweans.
* Victory means affordability and ability to adequately provide for our daily dietary requirements.
* Victory means highly affordable tariffs, low prices and low cost of living for all.
* Victory means inner comfort and a sense of security in every Zimbabwean worker in the adequacy of the monthly wage to pay for one’s basic dietary requirements, transportation and shelter and, and afford an opportunity for savings to meet school fees and related expenses.
* Victory means no shortages of our own monies on call, deposited in our own banks; it means abundance of fuel at a cost of $5,00 per litre; it means sunset will perpetually be replaced by some form of lighting; that we as an evolving human species shall be restored back to our rightful evolved era, from our present epoch of hunting and gathering and endless darkness.
* Victory means a modest but highly affordable education for all our children where primary education is once more accorded a basic right for every Zimbabwean child.
* Victory means modest but highly productive manufacturing, mining, tourist and agricultural sectors of Zimbabwe, and for some of us, the struggle continues until final victory. And indeed, final victory, is certain whatever it takes to fully achieve it.
* Victory means that we transform Zimbabwe into a real African beacon, an epitome of development.
People and tactics might change, but the revolutionary objective, zeal and passion of liberating the motherland will never change or become acceptable in any other different form or definition.
* Retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi is a war veteran, former senior Zimbabwe National Army officer, and is currently serving a prohibition order as the Zanu PF provincial secretary for information and publicity (Masvingo).