Friday, December 14, 2012

(HERALD ZW) In Pursuit of Revolutionary Change

In Pursuit of Revolutionary Change
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 16:57
Reason Wafawarova

Zimbabwe, like the generality of post-colonial Africa is still smitten by the brutal scourge of ancient social ills, be it famine, disease, pauperisation or any other forms of harassment.

This is despite the fact that the continent began the overturning of the colonial political order way back in 1956, with Zimbabwe achieving its political victory 32 years ago.

Now the country is heading for elections due in March 2013 and there can be no mistaking that the people of Zimbabwe are hungry for true revolutionary change. They want a better country, a functioning economy controlled by themselves, and they want to define their own destiny. It is abundantly clear that our people are not hungry for benevolence, be it from local politicians or from foreign donors. They are hungry for an opportunity to change their own lives – to look after themselves.

The answers we seek as a people can only come from this revolution that was started by pre-independence nationalists who brought down the British colonial empire. It is only the revolution that can overturn the old order set up by colonisation – as indeed we saw in 2000 with the dismantling of the colonial land tenure, when white-held farmlands were heroically occupied and reclaimed by the indigenous masses who had been disinherited of their land rights for 110 years.

It is only the revolution that can satisfy the aspirations of the people, and this is precisely why the economic empowerment policy must be the epicentre of the revolution as it stands this day. The revolution must not be a myth by which our politicians perpetually hoodwink the masses at election times. Rather the revolution must of necessity transform the poor into an organised economic force.

The force must have as its axis a conscious commitment to genuine wealth creation for the entire country – a genuine revolutionary desire to ensure broad-based utilisation of national resources for the benefit of everyone. The revolution must not be a front for selfish elites seeking self-aggrandisement in the name of the people. Until and unless the corrupt lot within the revolution are eliminated the cause of the people will continue to be thwarted, and that is unacceptable.

Much as it is plausible for President Robert Mugabe to promise to individually deal with corrupt elites within Zimbabwe's revolution, it must be made crystal clear that whistle-blowing alone cannot be enough to thwart the culture of corruption. The power to ruthlessly deal with the corrupt must be within the revolution itself and not only at its top. Crooks must fear the people more than they fear the leader.

If we allow the people to deal with corrupt elites the way we allowed them to deal with white commercial farmers who occupied our farmlands then corruption will disappear in a year just like the era of white-commercial farming did. This writer longs for a day when the corrupt will flee the country with the masses in hot pursuit, and that day is surely coming without fail. It may tarry but it will come. Accountability in a revolution is the responsibility of the masses and that must be the case always.

It is one thing to come up with high sounding and impressive initiatives like land reclamation and the economic empowerment policy; and yet another thing to complete the complex task of fully implementing these policies to their intended end. In completing this task our politicians must be reminded that the revolution is not in political power, but that political power is in the revolution.

One cannot establish a political power base in order to safeguard the revolution; rather one makes a revolution in order to safeguard power. Those in power do not own the revolution. The revolution owns them and can uplift or destroy them.

The goals of the revolution must have to be fully and profoundly defined so that the vision of the revolution is so clear that everyone finds cause in pursuing and defending it. Bludgeoning of those who see no cause in joining the revolution is called tyranny, and it does not do any good to the decent cause of the revolution. That is why political violence has nothing to with the nobility of revolutions, but all to do with the primitiveness of hopeless politicians.

The revolutionary change we seek in Zimbabwe must mark the birth of a new society – a society of progressive indigenous producers running the economic affairs of the country. We cannot keep talking of a revolution when our politicians are in the notorious habit of addressing rallies comprised of the old colonial peasants – resigned to fate, naïve, credulous, slaves of obscurantism, and ferociously submissive to inferiority.

The revolution must of necessity celebrate the birth of a new society made up of a breed of citizens who are aware of their responsibilities, citizens who are working for the future by pursuing new technologies and facing up to competition in the global market.

Only the indigenous actor can create for Zimbabwe an independent national economy. The foreign actor cannot by definition create an independent economy for Zimbabwe, and history has taught us enough brutal lessons about this.

The indigenisation of Zimbabwe's economy must not be treated as a battlefield of political contests between the country's political parties. Rather it must be an occasion for all Zimbabweans to learn how to meet their own needs and how to constantly improve the quantity and quality of production in the country's economy.

The economic empowerment policy cannot be allowed to be about a few politicians posturing as little human messiahs ready to heroically save the hapless masses from the ruthless jaws of poverty. Creating an independent national economy is a national cause and must always be treated as such.

Poverty eradication is not and cannot be an act of charity or even political benevolence. Poverty cannot be ended by giving people money or any other forms of handouts. In fact acts of charity have degenerated into the most vulgar forms of pretences at tackling the scourge of poverty – and many charities today perpetuate poverty more than they try to stop it. One can read Dambisa Moyo's book "Dead Aid" to see clearly the ruin created by treating aid handouts as an act of eradicating poverty.

In the context of the Zimbabwean revolution it must always be remembered that poverty alleviation starts with a transformation of the mindset of the poor and that the implementation of anti-poverty policies must always involve the active participation of the beneficiaries if the economic handicaps hindering a people's progress are to be completely removed. Poverty resides more in the mind than it does in its various forms of manifestations; and nothing can be done about eradicating poverty if the mindset of the poor is not transformed.

Our people must have a mindset that instructs that poverty cannot be eradicated by the culture of receiving, and that jobs in themselves are never designed to end the poverty of the employed.
Jobs can play the crucial role of pacifying the pain of dire poverty by making the employed spend the rest of their lives in the comfort of mild poverty, or if lucky in mild riches, but no job is designed to create wealth for the employed, not one.

It is time Zimbabweans transform themselves from mere voting statistics in the eyes of their politicians. The people must become synonyms of respect and of course respect is earned and not just granted. We earn respect by making politicians feel our presence and serious sense of national duty. We cannot allow unscrupulous politicians the luxury of feasting on our people's apathy.

The people of Zimbabwe must transform into proud and worthy economic combatants who defend the just cause of economic empowerment – cadres who successfully and adequately shoulder their part in social production as members of this great body that is the people.

Our working class must not be so blinded by the need for jobs as to forget that employment creation that does not benefit the nation's revenue coffers is in itself a form of national exploitation. We must take stock of where our jobs are coming from; otherwise we inadvertently export our economy for the benefit of foreign nationals, and that can only be done to our peril.

Our intellectual community must take up a historic responsibility to promote the reduction of the gap between the rich and the poor; between town and country. We face the dire danger of an intellectual community that serves the interests of foreign liberalism, and most of our intellectuals are in the employment of foreign forces that come through the donor community. These have developed a disdain for the revolution and they have become part of the greater problem as they front Western interests.

There must be a strategic alliance between our working class and the indigenous business class, together with our intellectual and political classes. Only then will our revolution become a guaranteed success.

The emblem that must unite us all is the democratic and popular revolution that seeks to make Zimbabwe the first revolutionary success story in Africa. The country is in good standing to achieve this great feat given the way the land reclamation program is admired and envied across the continent – all in contrast to its ferocious vilification by the Western word.

We must as of necessity ensure that the revolution draws on the strength, the richness, and the invincibility of the masses.

We have today among us delusionary politicians who believe the revolution anchors on their invincibility, and this is across the political divide.

You cannot have a revolution that derives its power from a single individual's prowess, or even from a clique of elites. This is precisely why it is difficult to describe the political pursuits of the MDC-T as revolutionary. When some people make assertions that Morgan Tsvangirai is the "face of the revolution," or that without him there is no MDC then what you are dealing with is not a revolution but a mere movement. Rallying on the perceived bravery of one man cannot logically be the foundation of a revolution.

Zanu-PF has had a relatively long history of leadership change starting from Ndabaningi Sithole, Chairman Herbert Chitepo to President Robert Gabriel Mugabe from 1977 to date, and these changes are what perhaps distinguishes a revolution from a mere movement. If Ndabaningi Sithole led a movement the party could have died when he was removed from power, and if Chitepo led a movement the party could have disintegrated at his tragic death. Revolutions are bigger than their membership and leadership. A revolution is when ideas find bayonets and it does look like Zimbabwe's revolution has bayonets in war veterans and its young revolutionaries.

Abel Muzorewa's movement died earlier than Muzorewa himself because the UANC was no revolution but a sell-out movement. Edgar Tekere's correctly named Zimbabwe Unity Movement died way before Tekere because again it was a mere movement.

A true revolution defines its own norms and it does not borrow its points of reference from foreign sources. A true revolution is not made up of people who judge the quality of their social, cultural and economic lives according to the norms in foreign countries.
Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!!

Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in SYDNEY, Australia.

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