Monday, June 17, 2013

(STICKY) (SUNDAY MAIL ZW) MDC’s persistent attack on masses
Saturday, 15 June 2013 14:36

COMMENT - Chatham House (RIIA)? See the lecture Land Reform In Zimbabwe Revisited: A Qualified Success? (with audio), back in January 31 2013.

“Vanokunga rurimi rwavo souta hunokanda miseve ine muchetura wemanyepo. Havamire pachokwadi munyika; nokuti vanokwira nokudzaka vechironga zvekuparadza.” (Jeremiah 9 verse 3) (Native Version)

“Asi hapana chokurwa nacho chakagadzirirwa kurwisana nemwi chinozobudirira. Ndimi nemitauro yekumupandukira pakutonga muchazvinyisa pachokwadi. Iyi iri nhaka yavakasarudzwa na Jehovha.”(Isaya 54 verse 17) (Native Version)

It is no coincidence that the founder president of modern Ghana and one of the founders of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), Dr Kwame Nkrumah, observed that African Unity and Pan-Africanism would be difficult to achieve and sustain without a Pan-African media system.

It is no coincidence that the most persistent call by the white-sponsored MDC formations against Zimbabwe has been for unlimited “media reform.”

Indeed, it is no coincidence that the demonisation of the African land reclamation movement, the vilification of Zimbabwe’s unique revolution in land tenure and peasant empowerment, has been achieved through white-sponsored media outlets, through white-sponsored media NGOs, and through the Anglo-Saxon Press. NGOs thrive on the myth of African rural poverty which they use to raise funds for themselves.

As Madzimbahwe now look forward to the end of the humiliating and dysfunctional inclusive Government and start the campaign for the election of a truly sovereign Parliament of Zimbabwe, the best way to separate organic African leaders from the foreign-funded and foreign-controlled clans of Judas is to examine closely the language they use to describe themselves, to describe the people they seek to influence and to name the conditions in which our people find themselves today. These indicators will tell the voters even more than what party manifestos may say.

The war for economic indigenisation and African empowerment is indeed as much about land, minerals, company shares and farm and factory production as it is equally a war for fashioning the lamp that precedes all our perceptions, a war over the signs and sounds that shape our orientation, a war over the sharpening and blunting of our symbolising capacity — a war over language.

And since the impending campaign for the hearts and minds of Madzimbahwe is going to be conducted mostly through images, signs and words, let us pay attention to the one thing which separates the MDC formations from the African liberation movement represented by Zanu-PF.

In a speech delivered at Zimbabwe Grounds on May 19 2013 and reported in local papers on May 20 2013, the leader of the MDC, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, said:

“We cannot build an (national) economy on peasants. Having everyone going into farming is not sustainable. We have to move people from the farms to industries rather than removing people from the industries to the farms because I don’t see that working.”

My instalment for this column on April 24 2005 was entitled “Opposition MDC vents anger on rural folk.” It documented the MDC’s attacks on the povo for taking part in the land reclamation and resettlement programme and for voting for the liberation movement in Zanu-PF in 2005.

Now, eight years later, the MDC is still attacking the same povo. Now the main cause of Tsvangirai’s anger is that it is the povo who have made Zanu-PF’s land revolution the success which the MDC, through mere words, still wants to condemn as a disaster.

Despite the overwhelming evidence from the tobacco industry in this country; despite overwhelming evidence from the recent book titled Land and Agrarian Reform in Zimbabwe: Beyond White Settler Capitalism; despite recent publicity at the University of Zimbabwe over the findings of Jeanette Manjengwa and others who have just launched another book called Zimbabwe Takes Back Its Land, Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC formations continue to cling to the most backward Rhodesian perceptions of the African povo as demonstrated in that May 19 2013 outburst at Zimbabwe Grounds.

Now what did that outburst mean for Madzimbahwe who are about to go to elections?

* First, the MDC pictures the African land reclamation and agrarian revolution as a “forced removal” process similar to the forced removals of Africans during apartheid and during the enforcement of the so-called African Land Husbandry Act of the 1950s in Rhodesia.

* Second, Tsvangirai’s speech pictures the MDC formations as a white-sponsored “broom” which will sweep the 300 000 resettled peasant families from the lands they now occupy and replace them with the former white farmers whom Tsvangirai met in Bulawayo on June 7 2013 and in South Africa between June 8 and 10 2013. The sweeping away of 300 000 resettled peasant families and their replacement with the former white settlers is what Tsvangirai meant when he said the MDCs are the new brooms on May 17 2013: “We are the new brooms; we sweep the cleanest.”

* In the third place, the MDC attack on resettled peasants assumes that the 300 000 resettled African families are keen to give up the land and will be happy to be swept by the MDC-Rhodesian broom back to urban locations where the MDC-invited sanctions have decimated industry and destroyed jobs already.

* But the most surprising meaning of the attack on peasants is the gross ignorance about the Zimbabwe economy and the nature of African society in Zimbabwe today.

With improving transport, solar power, rural electrification and the fast acquisition of digital technologies, there will no longer be the binary economy which the Rhodesians wanted to make permanent. New transport networks, new growth points, new small-to-medium enterprises, new community share trusts and the 300 000 productive households already resettled on the farms — these revolutionary developments have already destroyed the old Rhodesian dualism reflected in Tsvangirai’s statement. Rural-urban migration in Zimbabwe is not the same as it may be in South Africa or Mozambique.

Kumusha in Zimbabwe will have a completely unique Zimbabwean meaning precisely because of the land revolution. One question which Tsvangirai and the MDC did not ask themselves is why the diabolic sanctions they asked for failed to stop the progress so clearly documented in Zimbabwe Takes Back Its Land and in Land and Agrarian Reform in Zimbabwe: Beyond White Settler Capitalism.

The answer is that the cash earned by urban workers, the cash earned by self-employed relatives in urban SMEs, the cash sent home by those who were forced by sanctions to go and work abroad — much of this cash has been channelled to the farms to help relatives defeat the effects of illegal sanctions.

Indeed, within Zimbabwe, most of the urban workers with resettled relatives spend almost all their weekends on the farms and thereby help to boost production there; just as the banks in the cities are also financing the activities at the tobacco auction floors where the resettled farmers bring their tobacco. So the language which the MDC formations and their Rhodesian handlers use to describe Zimbabwe has always been wrong and way off the mark. That is why they are in panic over the impending elections.

Now, when we look at the liberation movement in Zanu-PF, we notice that it is not only able to take credit for the successful land reclamation and agrarian revolution; it has organic roots in the daily existence of the povo and it speaks their language.

When President Robert Mugabe and the late Cde Edgar Tekere first left Zimbabwe to join the war front in 1975, they sought and received the assistance of the Tangwena community of Nyanga, that was the assistance and support of peasants. Mugabe’s and Tekere’s safety from the Rhodesian police, army, air force and intelligence during their journey to the war front was mostly provided by peasants.

The school children who left rural mission schools at Chikore, Mount Selinda, Rusitu, Biriiri, Mutambara, Hartzel, Saint Augustine’s, Bonda, Gokomere and other places were mostly children of peasants guided by peasants on their way to join the war of liberation in Mozambique.

As Terrence Ranger documents in Peasant Consciousness and Guerilla War in Zimbabwe, as David Lan also confirms in Guns and Rain, when those children of peasants came back from their military training in China, Russia, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, East Germany, Cuba, Tanzania and elsewhere — they came back to peasant communities and asked peasant leaders, madzimambo nemasvikiro, how they should apply their weapons and training in a real-life African peasant war front against the Rhodesian regime and its South African, European and North American mercenaries.

What is at stake is that we as vana vevhu have been paying for, glorifying and enforcing against ourselves an imperial and neo-colonial system of thought and power in which our very existence has been reduced to and dismissed as a “gimmick.” The values of the povo are no gimmick. Our language is no gimmick. The Herald of January 23 2012 carries a front page story called “(Bindura Magistrates’) Court okays PM’s fine.” That is a profound story.

The entrenchment of legal apartheid in Zimbabwe means that 32 years after uhuru, a mambo’s dare must take its judgment to a Eurocentric magistrates’ court for validation in English! Which is to say we are paying for the perpetuation of a neo-colonial system which daily states that a Euro-trained magistrate using Roman Dutch Law and derivatives of Anglo-American common law is closer to God than our mambo; so the mambo’s decisions have to be vetted and ratified by the magistrate in English. This is the kind of language and mentality which enables sell-outs like the MDCs to flourish.

In other words, the living relational philosophy and law of the African are inferior to the linear Eurocentric philosophy and its apartheid laws.

But before I can explain how the elevation of English as the language of record and the demotion of African languages ran parallel to the apartheid ranking of the courts; before I can explain how we got to where we are in the development of legal apartheid — it is important to answer the first question which our Euro-trained African lawyers ask: What is this African Relational Philosophy and African Relation Law you are talking about? Does it really exist or is it only in your imagination? How has that philosophy helped us to distinguish organic African leaders from impostors and sell-outs?

African relational philosophy is the value system of unhu/ubuntu which Jordan Ngubane in Ushaba called umthetho wesintu, the law of the people or the values that people live by. Unlike the narcissistic and linear philosophy represented by Rene Descartes’ dictum “I think, therefore I am,” African philosophy is summed up in “I relate, therefore I am” or “I am who I am because of who we are and who we become in and through our relationships.” So it does not matter whether in Tsvangirai’s head the peasants are seen as “mushrooms” who sprout everywhere. That is not the reality. African relational philosophy tells us otherwise.

In Ushaba, Ngubane called it “the secret weapon to xina the white man (of apartheid) . . . The African (was and) is able (under slavery, apartheid or UDI) to live within the white experience and (yet) be fulfilled by fighting (the same) out of it.”

For Africans to survive 300 years of slavery in North America; for Africans to survive 300 years of apartheid in South Africa and live to organise themselves and overthrow that apartheid; for Africans to survive Cecil John Rhodes, British South Africa Company rule and Rhodesia Front rule for a hundred years and still live to organise and wage the three Chimurengas — for Africans to do all these things under surveillance and bombardment by a comprehensive imperialism — these Africans ought to have a philosophy and a living body of law which was not Roman Dutch Law, which was not English Common Law and which was definitely not the contaminated and compromised system called African Customary Law.

That living law was and is like a sixth gear which was and is engaged outside the system which the empire believes it has installed and it controls. That sixth gear in particular has enabled Zimbabwe to survive ESAP, illegal sanctions, financial warfare, hyperinflation and a collection of MDCs supported by a globalised propaganda war. Zimbabwe engaged that gear and survived where Somalia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia and others did not.

The assumptions or principles of this African relational philosophy include but may not be limited to the following:

* The people related and relating are the law embodied. That is the meaning of the supremacy of the people.

* How people relate in community and conduct their business is an expression of law and being able to understand that conduct and those relationships constitutes knowledge of law.

* Lived, living, and remembered relationships in real time, real space and history also constitute law, so much so that 300 years of the African’s relationship as a slave in North America or under apartheid is a law which the US Constitution, the US Bill of Rights, and the constitution of South Africa’s “Rainbow Nationhood” can moderate but should never try to erase or deny. These pieces of holy paper stating good intentions and high ideals are not superior to living and lived experience in real time and space, which experience and reality contradicts them. The existence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the International Criminal Court do not refute the lived and living experiences of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Côte d’Ivoire, which experiences to those communities represent the real face of law as a relationship with Nato, Britain, France and the US.

* Because African law is lived and living in real communities, it is built through centuries of successful resolutions of disputes and potential conflicts without going to court. Therefore its precedents are those cases that never reached the courts. African law is not adversarial; it is consensual and relational.

Eurocentric linear law, in contrast, is an accumulation of instances, actions and judgments of failure —because it is built upon precedents recorded in court documents precisely because the litigants failed to resolve the matter in community and therefore went to a proscenium court where one adversary won and the other lost.

* A beautifully written document purporting to be law is not law until its provisions are practised, lived and experienced by real historical beings in real time and real space as well as underpinned by practical power.

In my February 10 2013 instalment, I started to show that it is the relational structure and philosophy of the African dariro which ensures the grooming and retention of organic Africa leadership both in politics and in ideas.

There I stressed the African relational concept of leadership in all forms, which comes alive in the active aesthetic verbs kuparura and kushaura, which performance verbs would not make sense without their complement, kutsinhira. The opposite concept is kupaumba, which means to make destructive and disruptive noise outside the circle and without listening to those in the circle.

The two verbs kuparura and kushaura (to call out) describe organic leadership because they generate organic resonance which is represented by kutsinhira (to respond, to affirm, to resonate, or to adjust the call if it cannot be affirmed in its present form, so that it can then be affirmed). In Zimbabwe the role of the foreign-funded opposition is kupaumba.

In his book Making History in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe: Politics, Intellectuals and the Media, Dr Blessing-Miles Tendi identified two groups of intellectuals in contemporary Zimbabwe: Those he labelled patriotic (nationalist) intellectuals and those he labelled public (opposition) intellectuals.

He went further to say that the latter group, including the late Professor Elifas Mukonoweshuro and the late Professor John Makumbe, lost the public debate during the 2001-2010 crisis because what they praised as examples of international best practice in democracy, good governance, human rights and freedom either remained vague and remote from the average person’s daily life or clearly demonstrated the opposite of what was claimed (as in the cases of the Western interventions in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan).

Apart from the faulty labels, what Blessing-Miles Tendi failed to articulate was that the first group of intellectuals spoke from within the African dariro and focused on the need for Africans in Zimbabwe to reclaim their land and own the economy, whereas the latter group was preoccupied with importing the neo-liberal linear politics of good governance, human rights, transparency and accountability without anchoring them to anything tangible and resonant. The discourse of the neo-liberal opposition intellectuals made it seem as if Madzimbahwe or vana vevhu did not belong to the international community, as if the defence of human life and human dignity were foreign inventions which Africans needed to learn and to import from their former colonisers, as if colonialism, settlerism and apartheid were the same as good governance, so that in fighting and overthrowing them the Africans were not in fact fighting to establish their own good governance.

But above everything else, the MDC’s neoliberal opposition discourse failed to resonate with the people because it was a contradiction, requiring one to practise good governance of what one does not own. Blessing-Miles Tendi reported the failure of the neo-liberal opposition intellectuals long before the on-going crisis of neo-liberalism in North America and Europe became glaring and scandalous.

Now, it is clear that the neo-liberal project has failed in its own home societies of Europe and North America. This explains why those relying on “benchmarking” Western neo-aliberalism in our midst are thoroughly confused and failing to put together a clear programme or manifesto for elections which are supposed to follow the referendum.

It is at election time that the ideological and moral chasm between the two types of “leaders” will become extreme.

This is because one set of leaders, those from the MDC formations, have not abandoned their relationship with those countries (all white) which maintain illegal sanctions against the people of Zimbabwe.

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