September 12 – History tends to repeat itself
On September 11, 1999, the MDC was officially launched after Georg Limke (from the Danish Trade Union Council) had since 1996 been grooming the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) leadership to remove Zanu PF from power.
Limke was the brains behind the formation of a Tsvangirai-led National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) – a half-way house as a façade or smokescreen of the hidden political agenda.
The motivation was “if Chiluba did it in Zambia, in 1991, where he ousted the United National Independence Party (UNIP), so why can we not do it also”.
The strategy was meant to target all liberation movements in the SADC region.
This is why recent the opposition victory in Zambia is analogically falsely inspiring CCC, once again it remains a futile dream.
Nonetheless, September 11 is the eve of 12 September which has telling historical underpinnings.
On 12 September 1890, Zimbabwe was officially colonised by the British South African Company (BSAC) and the first nationalist political party, Southern Rhodesia African National Congress, was launched on September 12 in 1957.
Deductively, in 2023, it will be a battle of “Rhodesia vs Zimbabwe”.
History tends to repeat itself.
Yesterday was September 12. To most Zimbabweans it was just another Monday.
Undoubtedly, though, in the past few days there was apparent inundation of the media space with news of the passing on of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Queen had been firmly occupying the throne of the British Monarchy for a good 70 years.
Certainly, her influence was pervasive and ubiquitous in global politics.
The Great British Empire historically generated both envy and scorn. Why not?
At some point the empire was greater than a third of the globe. Only less than 25 countries have never been invaded by the British.
The United States itself was once a colony of Britain. This expansionist and exploitative instinct dates back to slavery and colonialism.
It was rightly captured by Cecil John Rhodes thus: “We must find new lands from which we can easily obtain raw materials and at the same time exploit cheap labour that is available from natives of the colonies. The colonies would also provide a dumping ground for the surplus goods produced in our factories.”
Queen Elizabeth II inherited an institution perceived by its victims as brutally imperialist, aggressive and seeking global socio-political and economic dominance.
It was and is motivated by accumulation of wealth for a distinguished race. Capitalism is by nature predatory and rapacious.
Zimbabwe became a victim when the BSAC hoisted the Union Jack on September 12, 1890.
For the natives, it meant being conquered, subjugated and enslaved.
The First Chimurenga ended in defeat for the Africans whose targeted land had been for centuries the basis of their identity, traditions and culture, spiritual beliefs and source of livelihoods.
The mere fact that the heads of spirit mediums like Nehanda, Kaguvi and Mkwati are in Britain as trophies captures the unforgivable sin that many nations did bear and find difficult to forget or forgive.
Although it is not the intention of this article to open old wounds or propagate hate, it seeks to interrogate the injustices of British imperialists, not least because the vice still obtains.
Every action causes a reaction.
On September 12, 1957, the Southern Rhodesia African National Congress was launched as the first nationalistic movement that was set to ignite the Second Chimurenga.
It was succeeded by the formation of National Democratic Party in 1959, ZAPU in 1961 and ZANU in 1963.
It is the symbolic September 12, 1957 date that gave birth to the revolutionary and liberation antithesis to the British colonial thesis of September 12, 1890.
When Ian Smith rebelled against the Queen through the November 11, 1965 Unilateral Declaration of Independence, Britain responded with sanctions, but more could have been done in terms of punishment.
To the contrary, British Prime Minister Wilson refused military intervention for “kith and kin” reasons.
This led to a bloody and protracted liberation struggle, which could have been avoided.
Queen Elizabeth II called for Lancaster House talks in 1979 to spare Ian Smith from facing total military conquest and subsequent loss of economic control of our mineral-rich country.
The Queen sought to perpetuate her colonial interests at Lancaster, in as much as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President Jimmy Carter were deceptive on verbal promises they made to fund the land reform that would not be binding at international law, a law of, by and for the same powerful forces.
However, in 1980, Prince Charles was sent by his mother to preside over the granting of independence on behalf of the crown.
At midnight on April 17, he lowered the Union Jack and the Zimbabwean flag was hoisted.
In schools we were on a daily basis singing the famous song, “you better carry our message to the Queen, Prince Charlee . . .We want to be very happy everyday . . . We want to be very happy tomorrow.”
Now, whether the message got to the Queen or did not is water under the bridge. The new reality is that the messenger is now the King. And the ball is in the King’s Palace.
Similarly, Thatcher and another British Prime Minister Tony Blair are out of the picture, although Blair can still play a role in building the bridges following his assumption of office in 1997.
Recently, His Excellency President Mnangagwa had a handshake with Blair and a brief talk.
If Blair is honestly sincere that he made mistakes in handling the dispute over land reform, he should repent and also advise incoming Prime Minister Liz Truss on how to normalise relations with Zimbabwe.
It will be imperative to reverse the statement he once made in the House of Commons: “We work closely with MDC (launched on 11 September 1999, a day shy of the 12th) on measures that we should take in respect of Zimbabwe . . . to put pressure for change on the Mugabe regime, because there is no salvation for the people of Zimbabwe until that regime is changed.”
Instead, Blair must advise King Charles III and Prime Minister Liz Truss that resilient Zimbabwe has weathered all external storms.
President Mnangagwa is now steering the ship in the New Dispensation and the Second Republic.
In honouring his predecessor, the late former President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President Mnangagwa said: “In his memory let us set the wrongs of the world right, opposing injustice, racism and oppression. In his honour let us continue to reform across all areas.”
Zimbabwe seeks engagement and re-engagement and the country is open for business.
Goodwine Mureriwa is a political commentator and communications director at the Chitepo School of Ideology.