The birth of a new nation called Zimbabwe came after an undeniable protracted war of Liberation that took two decisive phases of resistance and confrontation of the white settler regime. It is this past that has shaped the future of this great nation that now suffers from stagnation and persistent problems that have hindered progress and societal development. Those two decisive phases have been called the 1st and 2nd Chimurenga/Umvukela.
Those periods were popularised by revolutionary exploits in the 1st phase of resistance by astute legends such as Mbuya Nehanda, Sekuru Kaguvi, Tobela Murenga, Mawarashanga Rusinauta, Chamimuka “mufemberi” among many others. In the second phase, the names are countless and the effort to fight colonialism immeasurable. Chairman Chitepo, Nikita Mangena, General Tongo, Umdhala wethu okaNyongolo ubaba uNkomo, Dr. Mzee and many more who live to this day, are names that dominate phase 2 of colonial resistance.
1890 is that year that has been penned down as the year that the first column of settlers came pioneering and settling in a nation that had its own indigenous inhabitants. That Pioneer column consisted of all manner of people from priests, miners, farmers, crooks and thieves and those that came for the savannah sunlight in the land between the mighty Zambezi, the roaring Limpopo and bordered by magnificent Nyangani and Vumba mountain ranges to the North and the Gonarezhou National Park to the South East.
They came in a land endowed with the exploding mighty Mosi oa Tunya, the smoke that indeed Thunders, the Victoria Falls. That domineering column of individuals that called themselves the pioneers who came to discover Zimbabwe and become a domineering force of emasculation, subjugation and mental slavery of the once peaceful Dzimbahwe. They came to separate men from his traditions, beliefs and way of life. That initial phase of colonialism fits well in Walter Rodney’s exploits and explanations as espoused in his book, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa.
Dzimbahwe had been known to be a peaceful people who had began trading with vaPutukezi in modern day Mozambique. The nation was quickly turning into organized settlements with a modern feel to their daily lives. Construction and architectural structures in sites across the nation attest to that. The Great Zimbabwe, Mapungubwe and Khami are examples that fit well into this narrative. Mhangura had been well known as the city and establishment of iron smelters and gun inventors with modern tools being developed, modern by standards of those days.
With the entry of Rhodes under the cover of the British South Africa company Dzimbahwe knew no peace. It became taboo to yearn for peace. It was taboo to be at peace with one another. He set brother against brother and made sure communities where always at each other’s throats. He did this by introducing Native Commissioners who always controlled how the black man behaved, what he did, where he went and with whom.
In the end, life became unbearable. A Royal charter was promulgated and Dzimbahwe became Rhodesia, then Southern Rhodesia during the Federation and later Zimbabwe – Rhodesia under Abel Muzorehwa’s veiled agreement with the Whiteman and with Chief Chirau as Muzorehwa’s acolyte.
After recognizing all the pains and tribulations across the history of the state, men took it upon themselves to fight against the white settler administration that had been set up. Bands and pockets of resistance where organized albeit on a small and localized scale. The resistance was easily quashed by the firepower of the colonial regime who came with guns and gunpowder as instruments of colonialism.
The settler entered into agreements with some traditional leaders by hook and crook, and at times by intimidation till they where given pockets of land to settle on. After their crooked exploits, they began taking over the native land and the rest is indeed history. They took over all productive and fertile land till they owned three quarters of Dzimbahwe. A small pocket of a few thousands of settlers had taken over the pristine of the land rich in fertility and endowed with mineral wealth.
The second Chimurenga became a second phase of organized and well orchestrated resistance against the settler. With more organization and steadfast belief in the “mapfupa angu achamuka” Nehanda prophesy, the sons and daughters of the soil kept all hands on deck as they fought colonialism to the bitter end. No one flinched in their resolve to defeat the enemy.
18 April 1980, independence was celebrated. Little did people know that the gains of the struggle where fettered in the shackles espoused in the Lancaster agreement. No one would readily eat of the fruits of the struggle as all the levers of power remained in the hands of the very few settlers. Ken Flower still ran the department and yet we ran in adulation, ululation and were exuberant in euphoria.
Fast forward 1990, the black Friday of October 1990 saw the collapse of a nation from grace to grass as the fortunes of prosperity collapsed like a deck of cards. An Economic Structural Adjustment Programme was instituted but it did not bring about required fruits of economic progress and fortunes.
Since then, year in year out, colorful blueprints have been carved but have all failed in one way or the other to completely transform the nation of Zimbabwe. ZIMPREST, Operation Sunrise, the age of BACCOSI, ZIMASSET and now the recently adopted Transitional Stabilization programme are all colorful documents and instruments craft by brilliant minds but are dribbled from fulfillment by mercenary industrialist cartels that have formed syndicates that make sure the nation fails for their self gain and perpetuate the suffering of the common man.
The events of November 2017saw the ushering in of the New Dispensation after Operation Restore Legacy. It is this phase that ushered in an election that saw His Excellency ED Mnangagwa ascending to the throne domiciled at statehouse at number 1 Borrowdale Road. His ascension was indeed met with resistance from those in the opposition who approached the courts. The apex court declared His Excellency duly elected president and swearing in ceremony conducted at the giant National Sports Stadium.
The clarion call of the second Republic has been premised on the mantra Zimbabwe is open for business. The giant stadium was packed to capacity with some people packing into the B arena of the stadium. The jubilation, faith and expectancy was just too much. It was written all over the faces of those that willingly thronged the stadium.
Independent Zimbabwe has been razed down by massive corruption, poor corporate governance, uncommitted public and private workers. High level corruption cases are yet to see their finality as the courts have also been fingered in the cases of rampant corruption with cases never reaching finality. Public prosecutors continue to sup with the devil, magistrates and court officials have become members of an emerging metamorphosis of white collar crime perpetuators. Criminals take up Law as professions and are attached at courts where their cases are to be heard.
As Sanctions continue to hurt the generality of the populace with no one aware of where they are headed as a nation. The trade and economic restrictions continue to hurt the ordinary man on the street as lines of credit have been completely shut, limiting economic potential. This has caused massive company closures as lack of fresh capital has caused an increased stagnation of the potential of the economy.
Independence now entails celebrating freedom from colonialism and colonial bondage yet a new war persists on the economic front where the masses have been reduced to Street beggars in neighboring nations and far afield. Some have been plunged into doing despicable things to erk a living. Our women have been reduced to midnight mendicants in a nation they call home.
The twin manacles of sanctions and corruption need to be faced headlong so as to completely eradicate poverty and create a breadbasket African economic status that Zimbabwe has always been known to be.
Happy 39 years Zimbabwe. The great spirit of Uhuru should keep the fiery fire of hope burning in the wake of untold suffering and a simmering gleam of hope.
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