AFTER a challenging week for President Emmerson Mnangagwa who has attracted international rebuke for superintending over gross human rights violations by an increasingly militarised state, one hopes he will take time to reflect on the values of the liberation struggle and crucially, his performance after assuming power in the November 2017 military coup.
On a week when the country commemorated Heroes Day, a day set aside to honour illustrious Zimbabweans who sacrificed their lives to liberate the country, the Mnangagwa administration was receiving global condemnation for brutalising Zimbabweans.
Mnangagwa should go on a soul-searching exercise and ask himself why he is getting criticised by the African Union, which rarely admonishes sitting governments.
He should ask himself, why a revolutionary party, ANC of South Africa, believes there is a crisis in Zimbabwe as expressed by its chairperson of the international relations committee, Lindiwe Zulu who this week called for a “frank and honest” discussion.
ANC Secretary-General, Ace Magashule last week acknowledged that all was not rosy in Harare.
It was symbolic and perhaps ironic that while Zimbabwe was commemorating its Heroes and Defence Forces Day, South African president — who is also the AU chair — Cyril Ramaphosa sent envoys Sydney Mufamadi, Baleka Mbete and Ngoako Ramatlhodi to engage Mnangagwa over the deteriorating social, political and economic situation in the country.
It is increasingly getting clear to Mnangagwa’s African peers that Zimbabwe’s problems are not limited to “illegal” western sanctions, as government and Zanu PF would want them to believe.
Mnangagwa should ask himself what role bad governance, high-level looting and corruption, nepotism, state sponsored brutality, policy inconsistence, impunity and the lack of rule of law among other things, have played in bringing the Zimbabwean economy to its knees.
The president should revisit the liberation war ideals and ask himself tough questions including whether Zimbabwe, under his leadership, is what he envisaged when he went to war.
He should ask himself whether the likes of Josiah Tongogara, Jason Ziyapapa Moyo, Alfred Nikita Mangena and Herbert Chitepo among other prominent nationalists and freedom fighters, who did not see independent Zimbabwe, would be proud of his leadership.
Zanu founding member Edson Zvobgo once said: “We do not want to create a socio-legal order in the country in which people are petrified, in which people go to bed having barricaded their doors and their windows because someone belonging to the special branch of the police will break into their houses….This is what we have been fighting against…This is why we are in this revolution for as long as it is necessary, to abolish this system”.
Zanla commander Josiah Tongogara, a liberation icon who by far dwarfs Mnangagwa, was clear about what he was fighting for: “What some of us are fighting for is to see that this oppressive system is crushed. We don’t care whether, I don’t even care whether I will be part of the top echelon in the ruling, I’m not worried but I’m dying to see a change in the system, that’s all, that’s all.”
The oppressive system that Tongogara and Zvobgo loathed seems to have been perfected under Mnangagwa’s watch, having been inherited from the oppressive Mugabe regime.
Unjust arrests, abductions, torture and rape have become everyday occurrences in Zimbabwe today. What a shame!
Joshua Nkomo, a revolutionary giant, was disappointed in independent Zimbabwe as revealed in his autobiography, Nkomo: The Story of My Life.
“The hardest lesson of my life has come to me late. It is that a nation can win freedom without its people becoming free,” Nkomo said.
Many Zimbabweans share Nkomo’s pain.