By Simbarashe Nyatsanza
The implosion within Zanu-PF, which has culminated in the historic resignation of President Robert Mugabe, has left me wondering if indeed it is within us as the formerly colonised to take charge of our destiny looking “neither East nor West” but towards an exclusively African future. I’m failing to see the feasibility of the (perhaps too ambitious) idea of self determination in our context because it seems that in as much as we might want to forge our own path, we are failing to go anywhere without the intervention of, and succumbing to influence from, forces which might not necessarily have our best interests at heart.
I mean, we saw what happened after the land redistribution of the year 2000. I’d still like to maintain that the disintegration of the economy that followed was necessarily not of Mugabe’s making, nor was it his ultimate intention. It showed that forces bigger than the young nation were not pleased with such a fearless and unrelenting show of disregard for convection in favor of an actual independent way of being. Whatever factors led to that action (whether it was because Britain had forfeited some of the Lancaster House stipulates, or if it was because Mugabe was under pressure from the War Veterans and so on), in my understanding the fact remains; that an African, in exercising a fundamental tenet of his freedom and sovereignty had gone way too far and had to be punished. The nation suffered consequently. The country turned into something of an uninhabitable waste land that did not have functional infrastructure, any industry, any currency to speak of, any actual means with which ordinary people could partake in and exercise the freedom they had wholeheartedly fought for. My family left the country because of that. Mugabe became a system that in many ways, some sinister and outrightly frightening, tried to salvage whatever remained of the country and, you know, it’s spirit and Zanu-PF became the machine that protected and kept the system going. The rest, from this point onwards, is history and yesterday we experienced the conclusion of that chapter.
Which brings me back to what had been my point of concern in the first place; can we really do anything meaningful for ourselves, by ourselves? Not of course exclusively, but the point is clear. Are we wasting our time in thinking that we can rise, as the world’s undesirables, from the bottom till we reach the pinnacle of self determination, or will we be forever in need of aid and intervention and have the need to lay the foundations of our development on the feet of a system and civilization whose ideals of liberation and freedom do not necessarily recognize our need for those same values, whose proponents would be more than content if we remained at the periphery of acceptable humanity (in our current stage so to say)? What really is it to be free, and is freedom for all of us? Is fundemental economic and political development in Africa impossible, zero chances, without whites/white people/settlers at the center of it?
It was a matter of time before Mugabe met his demise. That’s not the problem. I’m just dejected because to me he stood for all that we aspired to be as a people, and in him we almost got it. He gave me a sense of worth and self respect that I have not been able to derive from any other leader, past or contemporary. He gave us a sense of being that made it unnecessary to constantly measure our humanity in relation to the non-black “other” and, in my understanding, that was the whole reason why the Chimurenga was staged. In him we almost touched it, that indescribable ‘thing’ that made you unable to recognize that you were black until you met someone who wasn’t. But then again there was only much he could do.
A bit of the hope I had has dimmed because of what happened today. A bit of my strength is gone. I simply at this point am not sure what my position in the world is, and what struggles I should be fighting and if indeed I am guaranteed a victory in those battles.
Anyway, I’m glad to have witnessed this moment in the history of my country. Indeed we are learning. #MugabeResigns