“There is no stretch of open country without a grave.”
Zimbabwe is an ancient and powerful high culture, that wxisted long before the barbarians from the Caucus mountains set out on their quest for fire. The ancient stone structures at Khami, Great Zimbabwe and Dhlo-Dhlo were and are examples of some of the mind boggling (to Anglo-Saxon) evidence of the greatness of Zimbabwe…The great Zimbabwe. There were successions of great civilizations and high cultures through out this countries exhistance.
The clash of civilizations
The Mwene Mutapa (or Monomatapas) was the first major civilisation to become established and by the mid 1440’s, King Mutota’s empire included almost all of the plateau and extensive parts of what is now Mozambique. The wealth of this empire was based on small-scale industries, such as iron smelting, textiles, gold and copper, along with agriculture. The regular inhabitants of the empire’s trading towns were the Arab and Swahili speaking merchants with whom trade was conducted. In the early 16th century the Portuguese arrived and destroyed this trade and began a series of wars which left the empire so weakened that it entered the 17th century in serious decline.
To stave off further decline several Shona states came together to form the Rozwi empire which covered more than half of present day Zimbabwe and by 1690 the Portuguese had been forced off the plateau thus much of the land formerly under Mwene Mutapa, was controlled by the Rozwi. The next two centuries saw peace and prosperity reigning while the centres of Dhlo-Dhlo, Khami, and Great Zimbabwe reached their peaks. Due to the infection of the Boars disease into southern Africa and subsequent decay as a result of the mid-19th century turmoil in Transvaal and Natal, the Rozwi Empire came to an end.
Inviting Vampires in to the house
In 1888 a treaty was signed with the British South Africa Company allowing them to mine gold in the kingdom, now under Ndebele rule. As a result of this treaty, the increased influx of illegal Anglo-Saxon immigrants, led to another colonialist war with the Ndebele in 1893. The Ndebele were defeated and European immigration began in earnest. After the invaders held a referendum of 1922 the Anglo-Saxon invaders chose to become a self-governing colony rather than become part of the Union of South Africa. The referendum of course excluded most Africans from the vote, despite the colony’s supposed and theoretically non-racial constitution.
In 1930 a land act was passed which denied Africans from ownership of the best farming land further entrenching white supremacy. The labour law, put in place in 1934, prohibited Africans from entering skilled trades and professions. As a consequence of these actions, Africans were forced to work for just above “slave” status and almost none existent wages on Anglo-Saxon farms, mines and factories. Eventually the Africans became more radicalised due to terribly poor wages and conditions. The White Supremist invaders particularly the mining and industrial concerns, by 1953, had considered a more racially mixed middle class as a balance to the angry elements in the labour force. Also in 1953 a federation of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesian (now Zambia) and Nyasaland (now Malawi) was formed.
The formation of a number of political parties, along with acts of sabotage, occurred as a result of African impatience with the prospects of any constitutional change. At the forefront of this move was the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), mostly Ndebele, led by Joshua Nkomo. It was shortly joined by the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), mostly Shona, and a break-away group under Ndabaningi Sithole.After the collapse of the above mentioned federation in 1963, both ZAPU and ZANU were banned and the majority of their leaders imprisoned. Later in response to Britain’s refusal to grant independence to Southern Rhodesia, Nazi thug, Ian Smith then the illegal prime minister of the country, called for a unilateral declaration of independence (UDI). In the May 1965 elections, Smith’s party picked up every one of the 50 Anglo-Saxon government seats and in December, UDI was declared.
Supposedly, that is according to his-story, attempts were made by both countries (South Africa -so Ironic and the corporate USA) to pressurise Smith into accepting the African nationalists. I say ironic because England, under whose ultimate colonial legal authority most of the land had been stolen, was able to cast itself in the role of mediator and arbitrator at Lancaster House. This enabled Britain to avoid any further formal responsibility for reconciliation in Zimbabwe. The Lancaster House Agreement created a constitution for an independent Zimbabwe, based on majority rule. However, it granted the Anglo-Saxon settler invaders significant minority rights: 20 seats out of 100 in the first parliament and, even more important, a strict and detailed protection of commercial farmland. Anglo-Saxon perpetrators of human rights violations were allowed to go unpunished. The martyrs of Zimbabwe rolled over by the hundreds of thousands in their graves.
Dealing with the devil
Finally, facing an unceremonious demise, Smith called non-racial elections, to stave off the inevitable. In 1980 Mugabe’s ZANU party won the election although unfortunately the European invaders retained most of the guarantees that Smith wanted. After winning post-independence elections, Prime Minister Mugabe pursued a policy of reconciliation with his former white enemies, letting them keep their economic wealth, while he was political master, and continuing the fallacy of down pressing the poor to satisfy his Anglo-Saxon masters. There followed a continuing bitter rivalry between ZAPU and ZANU. Guerrilla activity started again. Nkomo (ZAPU) left for England and did not return until Mugabe guaranteed his safety. Soon talks led to the uniting of the two rival parties.
Amnesia bears a strange truth
By the 1990s apartheid (pronounced appropriately Apart-hate) was dying, and the constitutional barriers to Zimbabwean parliament abolishing all clauses protecting the Anglo-Saxon owned land expired. More urgently, the liberation government faced, for the first time, the prospect of electoral defeat in the wake of “economic liberalization” (a mill stone placed around the necks of all newly independant African countries). Introduced by the IMF and the world bank, this policy had brought unemployment, strikes and demonstrations. At this stage reconciliation faced its first real test. Reconciliation is a pile of waste matter usually forced on African countries who have violently thrown off the yolk of White Supremacy as it transformed into a colonialist wet dream of rewards but no punishments.
Reconciliation is supposedly a public acknowledgement of what went wrong in the past, bringing minimum of retribution and redress and, above all, progress towards economic justice as promoted under a Christian insanity banner, always by the ex-colonizers over its victims. Silence about the past, it was argued, was what the newborn country needed. Searching for the truth would constantly reopen old wounds and damage the politics of reconciliation was what the devils whispered into independently intoxicated ears. The positive thing about us Africans is our collective spirituality; problem with with us Africans is our collective spirituality.
This strategy draped a veil over the human rights attrocities committed by the “Rhodesian” secret service, army and police. It was also supported by the leaders of the liberation movements because it meant they too wanted to close the books on their own internecine violence against civilians in Zimbabwe and against their rivals in the training camps in Mozambique and Zambia. Information about the colonial and liberation war atrocities was not completely lacking. Domestic NGOs such as the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Rhodesia and the Catholic Institute for International Relations have documented torture, resettlement and eviction in the 1970s. Although interestingly attrocities committed by the former colonial rulers were less documented.
Amnesty International, which always seem to emphasis the attrocities of the revolters more than the oppressors, has published reports on war crimes in Zimbabwe. They detailed how women members of the liberation movements spoke about sexual assaults by their male companions in the camps. The pattern of impunity in pre-independence Rhodesia and post-colonial Zimbabwe consists of many elements: erosion of the independence of the judiciary; political manipulation of the police; and silencing independent media and human rights organizations. But by far the most forceful instrument is the recurrent use of indemnities, amnesties and pardons.
Granting an amnesty to the Nazis like attorcities of the Anglo-Saxon police and military personnel for human rights violations was a tradition long before the liberation war was at its height. The Indemnity and Compensation Act of 1975 sanctioned this tradition. The key provision of the Act was granting indemnity in advance: it proclaimed that members of the army, the police, the Central Intelligence Organization, the government or the civil service who had committed crimes “in good faith” could not be prosecuted. In accordance with the Lancaster House Agreement, Lord Soames, the British Governor for the transitional period, passed the Amnesty Ordinance of 1979 and another General Amnesty Ordinance in 1980, “pardoning” both sides of the liberation war.
Initially the Mugabe government was confronted by an embarrassing situation when its Secretary General, charged with the murder of a white farmer, successfully used the 1975 Act to escape conviction. The Act was repealed, but the political utility of immunity was underlined and surfaced in the form of the repeated use of the executive’s power of pardon and ad hoc clemency orders. The Anglo-Saxon population arrogantly expected Mugabe’s promise in April 1980 of reconciliation to be forever in place. That there was no enforced redistribution of land in the first decade after independence was the ultimate proof to them of his reliability. Observers have noted that this belief lulled many descendents of the settler invaders into a false sense of economic security and moral superiority. The maintenance of their pre-independence privileges was seen as absolutely normal.
The White Supremist and the destructive social relations they generated against the African nativesd were kept alive. Explicit acceptance of responsibility for the past and for the future was an exception, not the rule. This “culture of contentment” led to the persistence of serious economic and social inequality, most visible in the skewed distribution of land and in the wealth that is so obvious in the white suburbs of cities like Harare.