When Smith declared that he did not envisage black majority rule, in a thousand years, there was emotive anger from the black populace. I consider such hysterical anger to have been ignited by the inability to perceive things through sober minds, due to envisaged racial prejudice. Forty years on, do we have the black majority rule in Zimbabwe? What did Ian Smith mean, in his words?
It is quite important to demystify all forms of aberration if we are to attain what is beneficial to everyone. Can we honestly say in Africa there is a country that is enjoying black majority rule? If there is one that purports to enjoy black majority rule, it may be a country as obnoxious as Zimbabwe is, currently. This is undeniable by any sane person.
Let us now come to the meaning of black majority rule. In simple terms, this means the black majority would be self-determined. It does not mean that the black majority would be ruled by others, but that they would be self-ruling. It is, therefore, quite possible that the black majority can, actually, rule in a good democratic system. Currently, we do not have a democratic system in Zimbabwe, as clearly visible.
This does not mean the black majority have to be ruling their fellow men. It simply means that the black majority would be self-determined and, therefore, responsible for their independence. They would reduce themselves to being ruled by others, if they fail to understand the significance of responsibility. All rulers need responsibility, without which they are not rulers.
The insane are fond of selecting phrases on what would be said in a conversation and use that to dramatize their insanity. I suppose it was unwise for black people to have just demonized Ian Smith in his statement of impossibility of a black majority? We have to be given the full statement to understand the context, under which he suggested that there would be no black majority rule in a thousand years.
There may have been a white majority rule, at that time, as white people were symbolically in power. Those whites understood the principle of democracy, existing in their white community. But that does not mean that they could think better because of their skin colour. This was a matter of understanding principles of democracy, envisaged as not applicable to Africans, at that time.
The fact that we had the whites ruling, at that time, had been due to the historical background, whether justified or not. The black people were being governed by the whites. There could be no argument in that such governance could have been unjust, as can be accurately documented.
But that is equally true of the present system, which can similarly be documented as unjust. What is said here should not be misconstrued as suggesting that it is impossible to have a black majority rule. It is possible to have a black majority rule if the principle of democracy is understood as meaning the assumption of responsibility by the majority.
If ever there could be black majority rulers who truly exist, such black majority rulers cannot be, necessarily, vindictive. Responsible people cannot be vindictive, as appreciative of other humans, as sustained by principles of civility, regardless of skin colour. Such black rulers, with civility, would not be prejudicial to other races, necessarily.
The idea of granting independence to blacks by Ian Smith had sought an evolutionary process. Before blacks could then be entrusted with governance, rather than cycling a revolutionary take-over. Ian Smith had previously prescribed an orderly transformation, as opposed to some kind of, “jambanja.” The question is on whether Ian Smith had a willing audience at that time.
My own conscience tells me that what the RF government suggested at the time, was saner and practically more workable, than a revolution. As a product of a revolution, we are a country in a miserable condition, both politically and economically. But it is possible and appears achievable that we can be back on track towards the possibility of a black majority rule.
This is premised on what Advocate Nelson Chamisa said recently, as captured denouncing violence, in his MDCA party. It is only the insane who would not find such words commendable. I doubt it that there could have been senseless blood spillage in the Zimbabwean bush war, had our liberation fighters adopted that stance.
The words of Ian Smith, declaring that there would be no black majority rule in a thousand years, were prophetic. Obviously, Rhodesia is no more, and a thousand years will surely come without Rhodesia having ever attained the black majority rule. He died convinced of the fact that the black majority rule would not be achievable, even at his death bed.
However, there is a glimmer of hope for the possibility of Zimbabweans attaining the black majority rule, when considering the averments by Adv. Nelson Chamisa. The problem we have is negative publicity in the media fraternity. Rather than highlighting what is positive, the formal media is awash with negative publicity. This is the case, both in private and state media.
There seems to be some credible news in social media than among the traditionally official media. The news coverage is more on factionalism in political parties, rather than focusing on cohesion in political parties. It is endemic that newspapers do not make profits out of good news. Their income is sustained in negative publicity.
Just by constantly encouraging his youthful supporters to avoid violence, Nelson Chamisa needs commendation. That is the only way towards black majority rule, exorcising the spell suggested by Ian Smith. It is possible for Zimbabweans to attain the black majority rule, on only one condition—assumption of responsibility.
The term responsibility implies serving lives, rather than destroying lives. May the Zimbabwean people be blessed with this kind of vision, as opposed to a philosophy of violent revolutions? The black majority rule implies a possibility of black majority rulers being able to govern, rather than the black minority being allowed to govern.
That is what democracy and constitutionalism should be understood to imply. There should not be anyone said to be unable to govern in an independent Zimbabwe. This starts with the responsibility as small as governing own families, permeating into various other community projects, like burial societies, for instance.
Every human being is born with the ability to govern, depending on structural circumstances and conditions. Only the oppressive regimes see threats in responsible people. Truth is the only virtue that sets people free. We are our own liberators, as long as each of us appreciates being equipped with this mindset.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99