Zimbabwe: Of the Independence Day and the Opposition

22 April 2021

On Independence Day, last weekend when the nation was celebrating 41 years of self-rule and sovereignty, the MDC faction led by Nelson Chamisa was busy trying to pour water on the event using all sorts of stunts. All this was calculated to brew up some disaffection and animosity towards President Mnangagwa and ZANU PF in the misguided and baseless hope of presenting the faction as a suitable alternative.

While progressive and patriotic Zimbabweans were celebrating Independence, the faction was tweeting that "we acknowledge that Zimbabwe is #NotYetUhuru. We want a nation that works for the many, not the few."

While it is the faction's right to feel that its members are not fully benefiting from the liberation of the country and express it, it is very dishonest of it to claim that the country is not yet independent as the faction's members have been barred from participating in the socio-economic processes of the country to improve their lives.

Upon landing in office after the 2018 elections, President Mnangagwa invited all losing presidential elections losing candidates to join the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) and chart the country's way forward, but the faction, which was still masquerading as a political party, spurned the chance to contribute to the rebuilding of this great nation.

The faction accused Government of taking care of only a few, a claim which is not only blatantly false, but applies to the faction more fittingly to itself than to Government.

The Government does not cut deals with municipal executives to get prime residential land for a song as did the faction's Murisi Zwizwai in Gweru. Government does not sell residential stands to one's relatives on land meant for all home seekers on a city's housing waiting list as did its suspended Harare Mayor, Jacob Mafume.

What can one say of the councillors who tore the Chitungwiza town planning rule book to create residential stands on undesignated pieces of land for self-enrichment?

In all these deals no one except senior faction officials benefited. Not even the excitable and impressionable youths who are sent to commit crimes in the name of fighting ZANU PF got anything.

Contrast that with the youths who are doing wonders on the land that they got from Government or are leasing from other beneficiaries of the land reform programme.

Granted, more land needs to be parcelled out to the youth, but that does not justify criticising the Independence Day.

Instead of using the unifying effect of the Independence Day to reach out to President Mnangagwa and fellow Zimbabweans and offer to work with the rest of the nation in building the country, the faction played politics by using the day to incite insurrection in the country.

"It is time for the citizens to converge and fight for our freedom," the faction tweeted. This makes it clear that the faction's quest is not for the good of Zimbabweans, but for power. What freedom was the faction talking about in a country that was liberated over 40 years ago? It is shameful that a faction which claims to be a political party fails to distinguish between national interest and petty politicking. Chamisa also recorded an Independence message on video, which served no purpose except to support his faction's claim that Zimbabwe is not yet independent.

One of Chamisa's deputies, Lynette Karenyi-Kore also posted an Independence Day message on her Facebook page where she made the usual false claims that the arrest, conviction and imprisonment of the faction's criminally-inclined activists like Tungamirai Madzokere, Last Maengahama and Makomborero Haruzivishe was political persecution.

She shamelessly claimed that Rhodesia was better than Zimbabwe -- which is an admission of failure on her faction's part. An opposition faction, which is striving to land State power someday, does not compete on the basis of the "achievements" of a long gone racist regime, but on the basis of its own ideas if it has any.

Such is the nature of the opposition that Zimbabweans are cursed with. Instead of playing a constructive role, Chamisa's faction prefers the childish politics of vengeance and kudira jecha (sabotage). Karenyi-Kore ironically complained that "our politics has gone rogue," but the world knows which Zimbabwean political party faction acts rogue.

It is interesting that Chamisa, Karenyi-Kore and their faction in maligning the country's Independence Day, were very careful not to tell the world how they, as an opposition political outfit, have contributed to the situations and scenarios which they were citing as unbefitting of an independent Zimbabwe.

They, for example, were deafeningly silent over how successive MDC, MDC-T and MDC Alliance councillors have superintended over the deterioration of Harare from its former glorious days of the "Sunshine City" to the garbage city that it has sadly become today.

Chamisa spoke of what one would term the shortcomings of the new dispensation, but conveniently "forgot" to tell the world of the role and effects of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West for reclaiming her land and assisting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to stand up to America's grand theft of that country's mineral resources from 1998 to 2002.

The world knows that David Coltart and Tendai Biti, then both of the MDC played a critical role in the crafting of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) back in 2000 before it become the US' sanctions law for Zimbabwe in 2001.

Fearing that the new dispensation could see the sanctions being removed, Biti, Chamisa and Human Rights Watch Southern Africa Director, Dewa Mavhinga flew to the US in December 2017, to plead with the Trump administration to keep the punitive measures in place.

As Chamisa used the occasion of the country's Independence to criticise the way President Mnangagwa's administration handled the Covid-19, he conveniently withheld the fact that in May last year, Biti wrote to the World Bank Group President, David Malpass requesting the global financier not to extend any loan to the Government of Zimbabwe. This was against an indication by the World Bank that it was considering extending US$7 million to Zimbabwe to enable the country to fight the pandemic.

The new dispensation has done its best to turn the economy around despite the sanctions and it cannot achieve its objectives overnight.

The negative effects of 21 years of sanctions cannot be corrected in three years.

As Chamisa was criticising President Mnangagwa's administration, he should have told the world of how the sanctions, which he supports, have ruined the economy.

In July 2019, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the late Sibusiso Moyo told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs that, apart from losing an estimated US$42 billion in revenue, Zimbabwe had lost bilateral donor support estimated at about US$4,5 billion dollars annually since 2001 because of sanctions.

After the nation celebrated its independence, focus is now on the work of rebuilding the country's economy, which is at hand, Zimbabweans should know who has their welfare at heart and who is after using them in their pursuit for power. The youth should be told the truth that when the faction incites them to fight Government, it is not for their own good.

When the faction incites the youth into fighting causeless wars, they should ask hard questions.

They should ask their leaders what they are doing to improve the youth's lot. They should refuse to be used to destroy the hard-won peace which is prevailing in the country for the sake on enthroning a politician who was rejected by the electorate three years ago.

It is time that youths in opposition abandoned the mob mentality of the likes of Haruzivishe, asses the trajectory of their own lives and take charge of the own future instead of surrendering it to clueless leaders like Chamisa.

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