ASI 2006 Reports – Zimbabwe – Tonderayi

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History informs us that our people migrated from the Great Lakes Region to present day Zimbabwe where we constructed great architectural cities like Khami and Great Zimbabwe where we get our country’s name, which means house of stone.

Our forefathers established the Munhumutapa dynasties that kicked out the Portuguese invading barbarians. Then the British missionaries came in spreading the gospel. They told our people that our home was in heaven, while their fellow countrymen followed hot on their heels and forced us off our fertile lands and into concentration camps on arid lands.

The first Chimurenga (liberation war) was led by three powerful spirits named Mbuya Nehanda, Mukwati and Sekuru Kaguvi. Initially, when the white man came in under the pretext of being traders, Mbuya Nehanda told the people to welcome them, but the white man quickly showed his true colors imposing forced labor, imposing taxes, and stealing the land and cattle.

Mbuya Nehanda declared war on them, resulting in the first uprising. The people were defeated in this first war which ended with the hanging of Sekuru Kaguvi and Mbuya Nehanda. Before they hung her, Mbuya Nehanda declared as her last words that her bones would rise again.

The second Chimurenga was led by Robert Mugabe under the Zimbabwe African National Union’s (ZANU) armed wing, Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA), and Joshua Nkomo under the Zimbabwe African People’s Union’s (ZANU) armed wing, Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA).

The war escalated after Rhodesian colonialist settlers broke away from the British government. A deal was brokered which saw Bishop Abel Muzorewa become the country’s first black Prime Minister in 1978, but Mugabe and Nkomo rejected this puppet government and continued fighting.

Finally, Margaret Thatcher met up with all parties concerned to make the Lancaster House Agreement, which saw Zimbabwe gain its flag independence with Mugabe as president. But economic power was still in the hands of the white people because they still owned the land.

In the 1980s, Joshua Nkomos’ ZAPU party was assimilated into the ZANU party, now termed ZANU Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), in a truce agreement forming a government of national unity.

In the early years of independence, the ZANU-PF government tirelessly built schools and hospitals throughout the country increasing the country’s literacy rate from about 70 percent to 94 percent, the highest ever obtained in Africa.

The economy was thriving on agriculture, cash crop farming of tobacco and tourism. Production of minerals was at an all time peak and surplus production of maize ensured food security for the Southern African Development Community countries.

In 1991, the government adopted the disastrous free market Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) with the World Bank assuring the populace that this would lead to rapid development and wealth at an initial price of slight economic disturbances.

The reality on the ground was the total opposite. Public spending was severely reduced, and the welfare state retracted. Unemployment was rampant. Thousands of workers were laid off from hundreds of liquidating companies.

“IMF, having given loans in the millions to tie up the Zimbabwean government in debt from its ESAP program, withdrew their funding. This was the classic story of the destabilization caused to developing countries the world over by World Bank and IMF policies.”

During this period, the IMF, having given loans in the millions to tie up the Zimbabwean government in debt from its ESAP program, withdrew their funding. This was the classic story of the destabilization caused to developing countries the world over by World Bank and IMF policies.

In 1997, civil unrest over the deteriorating conditions of the masses led to demonstrations. The demonstrations turned to violent riots after the government sent in the army and police to quell popular dissent.

In 2000, Mugabe moved to have the national constitution amended. Zimbabweans voted against it.

This was the first time the ZANU-PF government had ever been defeated in the polls, clearly proving they had lost favor with the masses. Liberation war heroes were disgruntled at their poverty-riddled living conditions two decades after waging a war for liberation, self-determination, and possession of their own land.

The promise of land had not materialized. Meanwhile, Mugabe and his party acquired farms, mansions, luxury cars and more aid for their personal accounts from international donors.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, was formed in 1999. It is not a revolutionary party. They would just maintain the status quo and never bring about the real revolutionary change needed in Africa.

Seeing his popularity waning and the threat of the MDC, Mugabe began to seize farms from white farmers in an effort to fulfill the promise of land, decades after independence. He called this seizure the Third Chimurenga.

No infrastructures were put into place to support this Third Chimurenga. The people were not given machinery or fertilizer for farming. Ironically, most of them were told not to build permanent homes.

In 2002, Mugabe was re-elected in a disputed poll. Since then, most of the peasants have been forced off the land again so that Mugabe could hand them over to his party faithful in reward. Some white farmers have been given their farms back again.

The economy is in free fall. The Zimbabwean government prints bearer’s checks, not money. Like food, these have a best before date after which they cease to be recognized as legal tender.

Unemployment soars above the 80 percent mark. The country does not have foreign currency to purify water, import fuel or develop electricity.

The average Zimbabwean family lives on less than US$2 a day. The government resorts to mortgaging State assets to China for foreign currency and fuel.

On May 25, while other Africans were commemorating Africa Liberation Day, the Zimbabwean government launched a pre-emptive attack on its urban civilian population in an operation called Operation Murambatsvina (drive out filth). They purged the cities of families living in ghettos in the millions.

Zimbabweans live in misery, and many flee only to face slave labor and xenophobia in foreign countries with an uncertain fate.

Izwe Lethu I Afrika!



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