GIVEN that the term Generation 40 (G40) has gained currency in local political parlance in reference to a Zanu PF faction associated with First Lady Grace Mugabe, the Zimbabwe Independent dug up Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo’s opinion article first published in the state-controlled Sunday Mail on August 7 2011 on the eve of Heroes’ Day then. The idea behind the republishing of the article is to trace the origins of the term and its growing usage in the media and public discourse on internal ruling party politics and attendant dynamics, especially the raging power struggle in which there are two main rival factions — reportedly led by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Grace — battling to produce a successor to President Robert Mugabe.
Jonathan Moyo Cabinet Minister
What critical questions should preoccupy our national introspection this week and throughout this month as we remember and celebrate the memory of the selfless sacrifices of our gallant sons and daughters of the soil, some who paid the ultimate price to free our country from colonial bondage in 1980 and others who, thanks to providence and history, have lived long enough to variously contribute in immeasurable ways to the making of a liberated Zimbabwe whose sovereignty is today under illegal regime-change attack from the same interests that colonised us in 1890?
If the truth were to be told without fear or favour, there are at least seven current and critical national questions whose mere mention ties the tongues of some comrades in the nationalist movement in ways that betray the revolutionary commitment and ideological clarity of the liberation heroes whose legacy we celebrated on August 8. These issues are the following:
Why is it that some comrades in the nationalist movement in general and in Zanu PF in particular seem to be afraid of change when it is a fact of everyday life and is thus essential to the survival of any living thing whether biological, social, economic or political?
Why is it that comrades appear to have lost the distinction between transformation and change and the understanding that transformation is revolutionary and that those who, like the MDC formations and their sponsors, use change to attack transformation are in fact counter-revolutionaries seeking reactionary or negative change?
Why is it that some comrades in the nationalist movement do not seem to understand that the whole debate about when elections should be held has absolutely nothing to do with the alleged implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) or the need to fulfil the so-called Sadc election roadmap, but is all about confusing everything to ensure that the next elections are held when it is practically impossible for President Mugabe — whom the United Kingdom, United States and the European Union governments and their local puppets see as an unbeatable electoral opponent in the post-GPA era — to be candidate?
Why is it that there continues to be utter confusion and a total lack of fiscal and monetary leadership on the fate of our national currency whose destruction was instigated by merchants of regime change some of whom inflicted their damage by pretending to be on the side of the people when God knew better? When will the Zimbabwe dollar return given not only the fact that an overwhelming majority of our people, especially in the rural areas, cannot access any of the foreign currencies in use, but also given that the same ordinary people are losing their assets such as their livestock in ways that are yet to be told through barter trade led by the some of the same sharks that instigated the fall of the Zimbabwe dollar?
Why is it that the political class in the nationalist movement appears unwilling or unable to come to terms with the fact that the logical consequence of our independent country’s unprecedented and unparalleled investment in education since 1980 is that we now have an empowered youth, based on the principle that the most important empowerment is education? In particular, why are some comrades trying to block the inevitable fact that the time has come to allow and enable our country’s G40 to take charge of the national indigenisation and empowerment thrust as an expression of the legacy of our heroic liberation struggle whose legacy we celebrated on August 8 and throughout this month by remembering the historic sacrifices of the youth of yesterday?
Why is it that some comrades in the nationalist movement have allowed a situation where the vanguard party, Zanu PF, has come to be associated with political violence and has, by definition, been made a perpetrator thereof by merchants of violence in the MDC formations and their founders and funders when the truth is that our party is the only political organisation in the country with a substantive political and economic programme to benefit the majority of our people rooted in our history and aspirations?
Why is it that some important comrades in the nationalist movement are afraid of denouncing corruption when all indications are that this has become a cancer that threatens the gains of the liberation struggle whose heroes we celebrated on August 8 and throughout this month?
Why is it that some comrades in the nationalist movement appear to believe that our leadership cannot make mistakes and that in that vein, our leadership must not be criticised?
Starting with the last point, it is almost axiomatic that we have comrades in our midst that will have the world believe that our leaders in the nationalist movement should be treated like corruption-free demigods who never do or say anything that is wrong. But, of course, this is not true. No wonder why charlatans have taken full advantage of the untruth to misrepresent not only Zanu PF policies, but also the legacy of the liberation struggle itself.
Yet the fact which we should acknowledge as we commemorate and celebrate our heroes is that there is no leadership on earth which is infallible or which does not make mistakes. All human beings by their very nature make mistakes and that is part of the essence of humanity. As such, it is important to acknowledge mistakes when we make them and to commit ourselves to not only correcting them but also to avoiding them in future under similar circumstances.
As nationalists, we have not fared well on this score. We have tended to be shy to acknowledge our shortcomings and this has given cheap and undeserved ammunition to our UK, US and EU detractors and their local puppets who have shamelessly sought to define us on the basis of our mistakes and not on the basis of our values and yet surely our mistakes are not and cannot be our values. It is in this connection, for example, that we have not been able thus far to deal adequately and resolutely with the Gukurahundi scourge which some among us have sought to avoid dealing with or have sought to explain away or have sought to even justify when it was a monumental mistake that should not have been made and which, having been made, should have been corrected as it still must be in an open, honest and responsible manner in the national interest that unites rather than divides us as a nation.
The fundamental point on this issue is that the heroes we commemorate and celebrate this month would not be shy today to criticise each other constructively or to admit or correct mistakes. There is no leader anywhere in the world who has never made a mistake and that is why the essence of leadership is to learn from mistakes and that accounts for experience. What we must reject and resist resolutely is any attempt by merchants of regime change to define our cause, values and objectives on the basis of our mistakes.
That we should never ever allow because our founding values are clearly rooted in noble and gallant sacrifices of the heroes whose standard and legacy we celebrate and commemorate this month.
Second, it is unfortunate that some comrades in the nationalist movement are afraid of denouncing corruption when all indications are that corruption is the number one cancer in our public life. This cancer threatens the gains of the liberation struggle because it shortchanges the masses who are the beneficiaries of our liberation struggle. As nationalists, we must be the first to denounce corruption not least because it is always committed by individuals who must not be allowed either to hijack the revolution or to tarnish its cause.
It is not possible for the nationalist movement itself, or for Zanu PF, to be corrupt. What is possible is for some among us to be corrupt under the cover of the nationalist movement or of our vanguard party. The challenge is whether our movement or party gives cover to corrupt individuals whose despicable deeds soil our movement and party.
If our commemoration and celebration of our heroes is to be as meaningful as it should be, then we must be prepared to denounce corrupt individuals in our midst without fear or favour. That is the least we can and must do in the name of our fallen heroes. We need to be willing and able to do this especially now when the UK, US and EU alliance is pouring millions of dollars to corrupt NGOs and the media in pursuit of illegal regime change. In fact, there is now enough documented evidence of dirty brown envelopes all over the place to show that the whole quest for regime change is nothing but one hell of a corrupt enterprise. There are no important, selfless or enduring values behind this enterprise of regime change besides stinking corruption whose shocking extent and depth is yet to be told.
Surely, the nationalist movement has every reason to be above this kind of fly-by-night corruption which is driving the so-called private media, NGOs and other sections of our society. Anyone at a loss about this should find inspiration in the August 8 commemoration and celebration of the heroes of our liberation.
Third, it is as surprising as it is disappointing that some comrades in the nationalist movement now seem to believe the propaganda that the vanguard party, Zanu PF, is by definition guilty of the political violence as alleged by its detractors. If the media propaganda about violence in Zimbabwe were true, our country would be the most violent not only in Southern Africa or in Africa but in the world outside a war zone.
While we cannot deny that there have been unacceptable incidents of political violence in our country, on the basis that a single case is one too many, the fact, for example, is that there is by far more violence in South Africa than there is in our country yet South Africa is ironically supposed to be mediating peace in Zimbabwe. The gun is more prevalent and more used to settle all manner of issues in South Africa than it is in Zimbabwe. The heroes we are commemorating and celebrating used the gun to liberate our country. It would take a lunatic to say we have used the gun to run our country. The evidence that’s there for anyone and everyone to see is that we have used our brains to run the country and used the guns to defend it as a matter of pride recognised by the United Nations which explains why our security forces have participated in many UN peacekeeping and peace-making missions around the world.
Violence is therefore not part of our culture as an independent nation yet it clearly has been the manifesto of our detractors. The time has come to be bold about this fact and to state it robustly given that the MDC formations have nothing to offer besides falsely seeking to present us as a violent party. None of the MDC formations has the programme or capacity to benefit ordinary people better than Zanu PF. Nothing. The truth of the matter is that the two MDC formations find meaning and support only when they claim to be under attack from Zanu PF and never when they promise to do anything for the people as they have no capacity to deliver anything whatsoever.
We must, therefore, denounce and shun violence in the strongest and visible terms possible and assert our values, ideology and superior policies such as land reform, indigenisation and empowerment in honour of the heroes we are commemorating and celebrating this month as a matter of our belief and practice.
Fourth, the commemoration and celebration of the heroes of our liberation struggle is a perfect opportunity to recall that our struggle for independence was fought and won by young people. This is true of every revolution. The current struggle for indigenisation and economic empowerment will not be won unless young people are its core fighters. At the moment, we have an excluded G40 whose marginalisation by the nationalist movement is not in the national interest. We have started addressing this issue in both Zanu PF and the broader movement, but far more still needs to be done otherwise our country might suffer undeserved counter-revolutionary Facebook and Twitter quakes.
We have educated our youth. Now we must hear them by giving them real responsibilities in the running and management of our public affairs with the demand that they must be guided by the legacy of the selfless sacrifices of the gallant heroes of our liberation struggle we are commemorating this month. The time has come for Zimbabwe’s G40 to consolidate the gains of our liberation struggle by winning the Last Chimurenga through indigenisation and empowerment.
Fifth, it is really a sad commentary on our country that we have no national currency. The symbols of our sovereignty are our national flag, national anthem and national currency. It is a shame that we have no national currency because of policy failure and even outright treachery on the part of those who were charged with the responsibility of defending our national currency as their primary public responsibility. Mozambique went through arguably worse experiences under the Renamo attack than we did between 2000 and 2010 under the MDC attack, but survived with its currency while we did not. Even Somalia, with all its chaos and mayhem, still has its currency.
Some of the heroes we are commemorating and celebrating are tossing and turning in their graves over the fact that we dismally failed to defend our national currency with the result that the majority of our people in the rural areas have been forced into exploitative barter trading as if we have no fiscal and monetary authorities in place.
The currency situation is a clear threat to our national security and either we get new appropriate policies to deal with the situation or we get new responsible authorities capable of coming with requisite policies. The current situation of self-indulgent fiscal and monetary authorities is simply unacceptable as it as an affront to the heroes we are commemorating and celebrating this month. We made a mistake and we must now correct it by coming up with a clear and actionable plan to restore our national currency in the public and national interests.
Sixth, the comrades we are commemorating and celebrating tomorrow, whether departed or among us, would be aware and thus disappointed that some comrades in the nationalist movement don’t seem to understand that the current UK, US and EU-driven debate in Sadc and in our country on when elections should be held is not about the alleged implementation of outstanding GPA issues or about the need to fulfil the so-called Sadc election roadmap or about the pending referendum on a new constitution, but only about finding roadblocks and not roadmaps to ensure that President Mugabe is not a candidate.
The narrative in currency is that if Zimbabwe holds elections in 2011 or 2012, the likelihood is that President Mugabe will stand as the Zanu PF presidential candidate. If that happens, so goes the narrative, it is more than likely that he and Zanu PF would win because President Mugabe commands the respect and support of the security sector more than any other potential Zanu PF presidential candidate. The prevailing presumption is that the security sector would either ensure that President Mugabe wins or would be in place to allegedly reverse his defeat.
In the circumstances, the enemies of Zimbabwe peddling this narrative in and outside Sadc have resolved to do everything possible to throw all manner of spanners in the works to ensure that there is no election in Zimbabwe until the last second permissible by law in 2013. The thinking behind this strategy is that at that time it will not be practical or reasonable for President Mugabe to be a presidential candidate given the allegations that are being made about his age and alleged poor health. Furthermore, the detractors peddling this narrative believe that no other Zanu PF candidate will be able to unite Zanu PF and the security sector as President Mugabe, hence the mayhem they are promoting.
The challenge for the nationalist movement arising from this is obvious. Is it right that we should allow our enemies to determine when we should hold elections in a manner that is counter-revolutionary in pursuit of our personal interests? This time of remembering our heroes gives us an excellent opportunity to examine this question with the seriousness it deserves.
Seventh and finally, the time has come for comrades in the nationalist movement to understand that there is an important difference between change and transformation. The heroes we are commemorating and celebrating knew this and that’s why they succeeded. Change is a constant of life because everything changes. As a revolutionary party, Zanu PF seeks change to bring about the transformation of our society from a colonial state to an independent, developing state. This change will not be overnight, it will take decades if not centuries. Whereas the MDC formations seek reactionary change to benefit our erstwhile colonisers; we seek revolutionary change to effect the transformation that the heroes fought for.
We must, therefore, embrace change and lead it in every respect so as to connect with today’s youth who make up the current G40 while also connecting with yesterday’s G40 whose gallant sacrifices we are commemorating and celebrating this month.
Moyo is Higher Education minister and professor of politics.