Zimbabwe sadly remembers its heroes and heroines whilst the World commemorates the United Nations International Youth Day. The liberation struggle that dismantled the yoke of colonialism was executed by youth as I stated in my presentation at SAPES on 9th August 2017 entitled “Legacy of the Heroes: Challenges and Opportunities for the Youth”. Unfortunately, that legacy of the heroes has been tainted by the yoke of the militarisation of Zimbabwe.
There is urgent need to address the unprecedented levels of poverty and suffering that is being forced on Zimbabweans the by militarisation of the state and its institutions. We must recognise the reality that some actions that occurred should not have been allowed to occur, and that some of the things that should have been done were not done. As I said during my presentation at SAPES two years ago, “the national liberation project demands conversations between the heroes of our past and the leaders of our liberation present” . We must speak truth to military power.
Zimbabwe continues to regress deeper into poverty and suffering. The nation is captured through the AK47. Members of the security establishment have been using mafia-style strategies and techniques to force themselves onto national resources. They have run roughshod on corporate governance in the country’s public sector institutions. Even standard regulations designed to protect the environment are wilfully violated by entities that are linked to this mafia.
The media reports of a classic example of such corporate governance violations involves Africom which is 51% owned by Fernhaven Investments, one of whose directors is General SB Moyo, the coup announcer. Despite board misgivings, NSSA, a minority shareholder with only 4.5% shareholding in Africom, became the sole guarantor of a US$15 million loan from Afrimex to Africom.
Africom persistently defaulted on the loan and Afrimex demanded its money. NSSA, as the guarantor, made payments to Afrimex. Fernhaven was to have indemnified NSSA by providing security for the loan in the form of Longcheng Plaza which, coincidentally, was built on wetlands in flagrant violation of environmental protection standards and norms.
Zimbabwe’s public sector is replete with such examples of wide spread plunder and looting which include the US$15 billion diamond heist and the US$3 billion command agriculture scandal. The proceeds of such unparalleled theft of public resources do not filter to the ordinary Zimbabwean or even the ordinary veteran of the liberation struggle. Yet, very sadly, the majority of Zimbabwe’s veterans of the liberation struggle are used and paraded as the reason why such entities as Fernhaven Investments are created. The vast majority of the veterans of the liberation struggle are being used and played, vari #kuitiswa.
Despite being referred to as Operation Restore Legacy, the November 2017 coup had nothing to do with restoring the legacy of the revolution. The coup sought to replace civilian authority over the governance of Zimbabwe with military might. That military might which is now in control of the machinery of the state is working for the selfish benefit of a few individuals within the security establishment.
The legacy of the heroes has not be restored at all. To the contrary, the legacy of the heroes and heroines of Zimbabwe’s liberation is consistently being tainted and tarnished. Poverty and suffering are the order of the day with citizens not able to demonstrate their displeasure.
The murders and massacres of 1st August 2018 and January 2019 tainted the legacy of the heroes. Such atrocities would have any self-respecting revolutionary and veteran of the liberation struggle wondering whether they wish to be interred at shrines such as Heroes Acre and have their farewells presided and pontificated over by looters and murderers.
Asante Sana. Iwe Neni Tine Basa. Umsebenzi lo Umkhulu.