Pseudo-independence is destructive

The majority of our people have remained in the false belief that 1980 was the year Zimbabwe attained independence. Of course, this is what is recorded, and will probably remain ensconced in history books for many years to come. But that does not mean there is truth in that assumption. To understand this narrative better, one has to first ask the question of; what independence from.

To answer that question any person would be quick to jump onto the fray, assuming that it was independence from white domination. However, that reasoning, in itself, would be projecting the real problem. Zimbabwe is one of the countries that are said to have been British colonies. But Zimbabwe became a British colony, only as late as 1897. We have to consider whether the country had been independent before that time, or not. Was Zimbabwe independent, before British colonialism, or not?

African colonialism was pursued by Europeans, stretching from the second half of the 14th century up to the end of World War II. The colonialists had sought to spread what they viewed as acceptable civilization. But, whether rightly or wrongly, colonialism facilitated some forms of civilization on the African continent, under the yolk of ignorance.

The dawn of modern civilization promoted democracy, aiming at people’s co-existence on the basis of respecting human rights. Democracy cannot be ideal, though; when humans reach the standard of treating other fellow humans in ways they want to be treated. That level empowers each human being to take responsibility for the survival of other fellow humans.

From time, immemorial, humanity had pursued the idea of attaining power by defeating weaker nations, through vicious battlefields. Africans claim to be victims of slavery, more than any other race. But, among themselves, Africans were not immune to such foolish behaviour. There is no nation that can claim to have behaved without seeking to dominate other groups. Greatness was in the ability to conquer rival nations.

If defeated, a country became subservient to the conquering nation. This displayed a classical example of a dearth of progressive civilization. This was also practised by the Israelites, who were considered God’s nation. The Israelites, probably, butchered more people than any other nation. The reason for such a development can be a subject of another day. Nonetheless, the history of humanity is littered with uncivilized conduct in barbarism.

Zimbabwe was named Rhodesia after the white settlers defeated the natives through the leadership of Cecil John Rhodes. Other than the wars of the 1890s, there is no other recorded serious black resistance before the initiation of liberation struggles in the 1960s. Those white settlers carried some common racial discrimination. However, the policy of Cecil John Rhodes had been to advance civilization among Africans.

The Rhodes scholarship, although later abused, had been meant to advance the civilization of the natives. It is one thing to be clouded in racialism practised by some whites, and quite another to acknowledge the quantifiable positive developments through colonialism. There cannot be sense in settling matters out of emotion, rather than reason.

No other topic in this world triggers emotional debate than talking positively about colonialism. Like any subject that is premised on ignorance, a person can be killed when standing up to suggest that there was something good about colonialism. One is given support, only when narrating that colonialism was the worst thing ever to happen in Africa. This would be said without even mentioning the dark conditions under which those Africans lived, before the colonialists.

Racism, including male chauvinism, class segregation, tribalism and regionalism, represent forms of undesirable elements, that inflict humanity. Women, as currently, are known to pursue emancipation, are presumed to be discriminated against by male chauvinists. Gender equality campaigns are considered, noble; as equal to fighting against racial imbalance, for instance. Such viewpoints serve to reinforce polarity, instead, thereby, creating unnecessary warfare among the groups involved.

Ill-treating women is evil, just as ill-treating any other fellow human is evil. This is different from hoping to attain peace by pitting groups against each other, without specifying wrongdoers. The only effective way of solving any problem in this world is to be specific on problematic issues. If a car is giving problems because of a battery that needs replacement, there is no need to condemn the entire vehicle?

The simple solution would be to buy a new battery, rather than assuming that the entire vehicle would be a bad model. For instance, it cannot be accurate to assume that all men are chauvinistic. There is also a record of men having been treated badly by women. It could be possible that many men are ashamed of highlighting being abused by women, in households.

Although possible that women appear as affected more, due to the common consideration that women are physically weaker. The point is that it is the bad treatment that needs condemnation, regardless of who practices it. There is no need to be selective on matters of evil. Doing so creates a wrong impression that men have an evil agenda against women.

The same consideration is on any other grouping whether to do with race, tribe or any other grouping. A perfect standard of a civilization requires treating another fellow human being, as one would like to be treated. All causes of war are based on assuming being better than one’s fellow men.

Humanity would do well when focusing on addressing the systematic evils, associated with ill-treating fellow humans, regardless of race or gender. In Zimbabwe we have the Mthwakazi party pushing a narrative that all Shona-speaking people are evil. The advancement of this narrative comes from the consideration of evils experienced during Gukurahundi.

However, had the advocate of Gukurahundi been from Matabeleland, the reverse could have been true. The majority of people are so weak, as to be unable to think independently. This is why many people get easily deceived on religious matters. When Hitler incited the massacre of the Jewish people, the majority of the ordinary Germans agreed with him.

If allowed to dominate, such narratives can easily plunge a country into a chaotic dungeon. Anything that gives room for arousing emotion is as dangerous and destructive as war. Such evils need to be confronted across all sectors of humanity. But, as manifested in Zimbabwe, these are worsened, when practiced by those in authority to govern. It is unfortunate that under some democratic arrangements, emotional characters tend to be sympathized with, more than the reasonable ones.

Britain disengaged from the colonization of Africa after World War II, in 1945. However, many are sold to the idea that Britain was defeated through the liberation struggle. In Zimbabwe, the armed struggle was waged against the Smith regime and not against Britain. Another term for insanity is the inability to identify the real source of problems.

For instance, an insane executive comes home to harass his wife, only because he had problems with his subordinates at work. Alternatively, he may harass his subordinates, after having had a tiff with his wife at home. That executive would be insane because of failing to distinguish the causes of his problems, thereby aiming at the wrong targets.

Did Africa need liberation from colonial rule, or from ignorance? The only sin that can be leveled against Britain is failure to educate Africans on principles of governance, before granting them independence. As a colonizing authority, Britain was responsible for properly educating those to take over governance, laying structures on principles of democracy. This is just as Africans had not been properly governed before colonization.

Of course, democracy requires that people should, themselves, be able to choose those they want to lead them. But that could not be possible without proper education. Such leaders would have required vetting, without necessarily considering the British interests. The problem lies in that Britain, led by egotistical humans, wanted to maintain hegemony. Good leaders ought not to serve the interest of British dominion.

A normal person cannot leave an expensive car to an unlicensed driver. If truly civilized, Britain ought to have viewed colonization as necessary for developing civilization. They knew that the idea of just handing over power to the likes of Amin, Mobutu, Kamuzu Banda, and later Mugabe, was counterproductive. Britain knew very well that those characters were not there for democracy but for personal aggrandizement.

It is most likely that they allowed such clowns to attain power, in order to prove that Africans could not effectively govern themselves. They granted independence to such characters with a futuristic re-colonization agenda. As it is, in Zimbabwe, others are currently advancing the theory that whites are better administrators than black rulers.

That is completely untruthful. Human beings are the same, everywhere. Among humans, regardless of race, there are good and bad people. There are also good and bad leaders. There is not a single person, who can be good at everything, in this world. Britain would have been commended for establishing a college for African leaders, considered as would understand the principles of democracy, before handing over power.

This would have set a minimum standard for African rulers. If Britain had confidence in the principles of democracy, why did they choose to be introverted about it, on Africans? What they did was expose Africans to the insanity of racialism. However, a human being cannot be categorized by race or any pattern in this world. A human being was created in God’s image but is currently degraded to the state of indecency. Animalistic behaviour, currently displayed by humans, is not innate to humanity.

The story of the prodigal son portrays a young man caught sharing food with pigs. This had not been the condition under which he had been born. He had been reduced to that kind of life condition through his choice of systematic degradation. However, he later reverted to his original life condition, only after he had remembered where he came from.

On readmitting him as his son, the Father disregarded all his previous degraded conditions. The prodigal son attained freedom, at the point of being received by his Father, from his wayward condition. True independence starts with one’s realization of his true identity, which is not necessarily a racial identity. Let alone, the tribal or class identity.

Jesus revealed a condition that addresses the actual principle of humanity. All humans are a product of what was created in God’s image. Being labelled anything else, other than the spiritual identity is premised on ignorance. Jesus revealed the only basis of liberty, for those clamouring for independence, in this world.

To the Zimbabwean people, this principle establishes that all are equal in this world. Rather than looking elsewhere, when considering Zimbabwean conditions of living and economic challenges, one acquires the capacity to be causative. Absolute freedom grants the ability to take responsibility to change things for the better, in one’s own environment.

The mineral resources of a country cannot be more valuable than those created in God’s image. When not aware of their own worth, most people degrade themselves to be in a state of inferiority to those mineral resources. It is only the misplaced priorities that cause people to put mineral resources ahead of humanity.

The idea of assuming that mineral resources are more valuable than humanity has caused the feeling of deprivation, among the poor people. This is where greedy leaders, use a fallacious narrative to convince the ignorant in assuming that the former colonialists caused their poverty status. However, that is entirely untrue. The cause of poverty is a result of ignorance of one’s own identity. After all, it would be totally impossible for outsiders to scramble for looting, among those who accurately discern their true identity.

True independence comes from the realization of being God’s child. Such a person, automatically, realizes the responsibility bestowed upon him to care for humanity. Like Jesus, God’s child is willing to die for ignorant people. That person may be ill-treated physically but would have attained freedom. True liberty is of the spirit, rather than of the flesh.

The flesh was designed to decompose and perish. But the spirit, being the real God’s image, lives forever. It is true that most nations, even those considered as first world, cherish their national independence days. But they die, just as those from poor countries, die. Perishing under wealthy conditions or under poor conditions carries no difference, to a dead person.

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews gives a narration of people who attained freedom, as compared to lack of freedom. For those people, attaining that reality was by faith. But Jesus provided the ability to attain that reality, even during this physical life. Attaining that reality makes a person celebrate, even when his life is violently taken away by murderers.

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. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

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