Nationalist liberation project defines who we are
The country had an unusual visitor last week, in the name Professor Stephen Chan.
It is an unusual guest indeed that claims to know his host’s home more than the host himself. Prof Chan prides himself in being some fundi on Zimbabwe, to a point of crossing oceans from London to Harare to meet lecturer Nelson Chamisa of the CCC.
Ordinarily, no one pays attention to Prof Chan. He has been here many times before.
However, when the man started speaking and explaining the purpose of his visit, every well-meaning Zimbabwean became really concerned.
First, he reeled off a series of tweets denigrating everything about the country, including posing as restaurant reviewer at one point.
But, in the end, his visit was useful in many respects.
In an interview soon after meeting Chamisa, Prof Chan told us something very revealing.
The West, he said, demands to know who will be part of Chamisa’s Cabinet in case he wins next year’s national elections.
First, Prof Chan posted a picture with Chamisa on his twitter handle with the caption: “With Nelson Chamisa this afternoon. We had a very cordial but also very open and frank conversation, in which I outlined my critical views while also expressing my deep hopes for a better Zimbabwean future.”
He went on: “Certainly the West NEEDS to know WHO is in the front bench” (his emphasis).
And as soon as Prof Chan had returned to his base in the United Kingdom, Chamisa announced a so-called shadow cabinet. He a lot of flak from some CCC supporters, some of whom challenged the tribal complexion of those chosen.
Desperate for acknowledgement as the real power behind Chamisa, Prof Chan could not miss the opportunity to remind us all that it was because of the pressure he had exerted on the opposition leader that made him announce the so-called shadow cabinet.
“I am very happy he has done this. During our meeting, and in some of my media interviews while in Zimbabwe, I stressed the need for the West to know with whom it would be dealing, portfolio by portfolio, in the event of a 2023 CCC electoral victory,” said Prof Chan in a post on July 15.
Realising how bad the whole meeting with Prof Chan turned out, Chamisa resorted to some damage control tactics. He claimed that the individuals he had announced were mere secretaries to shadow Government ministries in Parliament and not a shadow cabinet.
This was despite the fact that the letter to Parliament stated clearly that these were, to quote the letter directly, the “shadow cabinet ministers”.
This rebuttal or denial did not go down well with Prof Chan who insisted that Chamisa must not bow down to criticism because the West is very keen on knowing the people to deal with in different portfolios.
Given our known history of Chamisa as a man afflicted with the malaise of prevarication, we ought to believe Prof Chan’s statements that his main mission was to put pressure on the CCC leader to set up structures.
Now there is something politically odd for an African country like ours with a history of an armed liberation struggle to have an opposition political party dreaming of becoming a governing party unashamedly kowtowing to the whims of a figure openly telling the world that he represents the same characters the liberation struggle dislodged in 1980.
Prof Chan took credit for influencing Chamisa to name a shadow cabinet. He confirms this in his Facebook post clearly stating that “I claim teensy credit” for urging him to name a shadow cabinet.
In simple terms, the West refers to all countries in the western hemisphere occupied by Europeans including the United States. When Prof Chan says, “we in the West” he is referring to the geography, history, politics, values or cultural milieu of people cohabitating that space.
In short, he is referring to Western establishments not westerners as individual citizens. We all know the stance of Western establishments towards Zimbabwe as reflected in the European Union economic sanctions imposed on the country for embarking on the land reform programme.
One of the often made mistake by the local opposition is to treat the people as unthinking beings without agency or historical memory.
They are quick to treat our valiant history of our struggle for independence as some distant past, forgotten and buried. It’s a big miscalculation.
This is the major disease that afflicts the country’s opposition. They are not rooted, framed or cast in the nationalist liberation project. The idea behind the coming up with notions of a “new Zimbabwe”, implies an attempt to distance themselves from the nationalist liberation project. They think it’s fashionable to cast shade on the valiant Second Chimurenga.
It is in fact a deadly weakness.
The majority of Zimbabweans are existentially rooted in the nationalist project. We are all products of that project and that’s how as a country we have become Zimbabwe.
We thank Prof Chan for delivering a timely reminder.