A Black Liberation Primer on Zimbabwe, Pt. III
by, 05-04-2008 at 08:25 AM (1213 Views)
THE SOUTHERN AFRICA BATTLEFRONT
During the 1970s liberation war, ZANU waged armed struggle against the Rhodesian settlers’ Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) because the racist, unprincipled British colonial government washed its hands of the situation, anticipating the UDI to become Rhodesia’s Isandhlwana. Treating the settler issue in Southern Africa as tho white people were autochthonous, Imperialism also contradictorily supposed the UDI had a principled starting point for solving the land question.
At the same time, ZANU assisted their FRELIMO comrades in Mozambique against Portuguese colonialism. Portugal had lost control of the situation, simultaneously having to wage warfare on three African battle fronts, and struggling to preserve a democracy at home.
Portugal itself soon became a formal fascist regime under Salazar, deploying NATO weapons and the most insidious operations against poor African peasants. In Return to the Source, Amilcar Cabral retells how the small PAIGC anti-colonial movement confronted this vicious spectacle in Guinea-Bissau, capturing NATO-issued munitions that Portugal had used against villagers.
To offer a bloody tidbit of Luso-colonial atrocities, the Portuguese murdered three of the brightest African leaders on the continent. That included Cabral in Guinea-Bissau, Mondlane in Mozambique, and Neto in Angola, all medical doctors. Portuguese Africa only produced three African physicians in its 400-year African colonial history; the racists feared them as such a threat that they assassinated all three. No international body ever discussed prosecuting Portuguese military commanders as war criminals.
The Portuguese fascist army coordinated with the UDI apartheid-regime of Ian Smith to dispatch Renamo rebels with machetes, to maim and butcher Mozambican peasants. This is where the post-colonial practice of machete butchery had its origins. Counterinsurgency Renamo took the assignment of stripping away guerilla bases in Mozambique, to stop the threat posed by ZANU and FRELIMO. In this strategy, ZAPU was never considered a military threat.
As the legendary Field Marshal Samora Machel took leadership rein over FRELIMO fighters in Mozambique, the UDI increasingly sent Renamo to destabilize Tete Province to the effect that ZANU guerillas (ZANLA) there had to simultaneously fight Renamo and the Rhodesian Selous Scouts to defend rear bases provided to them by FRELIMO.
It is necessary to give some background on the grave conditions dictating political circumstances in Southern Africa. The counterinsurgency group Renamo was formed under Rhodesia’s murdering racist Selous Scouts, infiltrating Mozambique’s Tete Province to terrorize peasants and strip material support away from FRELIMO and ZANU. After the Ian Smith UDI apartheid-regime collapsed before ZANLA freedom fighters, Renamo was then transferred to the SADF command.
So now how did Renamo function? Choppered in from Malawi by South African Defense Forces, Renamo terrorists invaded villages, destroyed food stores, killed livestock, mined fields, raped women, and mutilated people by hacking off hands, feet, lips, buttocks, whatever. Renamo had no self-led objectives of its own until after the death of Samora Machel, when the international community cried out against their very existence. Suddenly, the South African regime began selecting counterinsurgents for leadership.
Now while the American newspapers had always published ZAPU’s impressive press releases, which reported ZANU’s battlefield successes as its own, ZAPU therefore had little leverage during the negotiated settlement. After the power transfer, Nkomo’s ZAPU took to the field and created more problems for Harare than they ever had for Salisbury. Southern Africa promised to dissolve into a hot mess as Renamo continued to destabilize Mozambique’s remote areas. When America sent mercenaries to destabilize Angola during this period, Ronald Reagan also declared Jonas Savimbi a freedom fighter. Savimbi’s UNITA stirred carnage in Angola, eventually inviting the racist, apartheid SADF to invade Cuito-Cuanavale. UNITA was Chinese-backed and made for havoc. But Zimbabwe still managed to help in an important way.
Thru out it all, ZANU-PF maintained the tradition of destroying Renamo inside of Mozambique years later, as a gesture of revolutionary unity. Yet Renamo had the last cruel laugh. The SADF clandestinely brought down a Soviet aircraft in 1986, killing the revolutionary Samora Machel inside South African territory on his return from a critical tri-partite summit in Tanzania, held to solve the Renamo problem.
ZANU Fights Ongoing Genocidal Imperialism
ZAPU had not played the vicious, counterrevolutionary role of Renamo or UNITA, but it had played a devil’s advocacy in Zimbabwe’s internal development, until it merged with ZANU in 1987.
Imperialism’s all racist invective has infected black people in America against anything in Africa. Professors from Zimbabwe hate Mugabe. They will side with anybody to depose him. During the 70s liberation war, Joshua Nkomo sat on his thumbs until ZANU came to power. After the negotiated settlement and up until he was ousted from the cabinet, Nkomo-led ZAPU’s contention for power had delayed the political stabilization process.
This state of affairs grinded thru the 1980s, and prevented Zimbabwe from contributing a greater share towards assisting Angola’s hard, uphill fight against the combined military forces of UNITA, alongside South Africa and Southwest Africa. Angola led this war against the invasion on its territory, with the military assistance of Cuba and Zimbabwe, adding liberation forces from AZAPO, PAC-A, ANC and the Namibian liberation movement, SWAPO.
Imperialism has made a huge issue of ZANU-PF’s desire to make settlers unass land they have historically jacked off of Africans, and turn it over to war vets. Imperialism must not be given any legitimate claims to Africa. Still, the US Congress wants laws to return land seized from Cuban exiles following the Revolution led by Fidel and Che. If crackers can have it both ways, so can ZANU-PF.
A small anti-colonial fighting formation, ZANU-PF was poor, like all the African liberation movements, but it successfully fought wars on multiple fronts. Under Mugabe’s leadership ZANU-PF unselfishly assisted black revolutionary struggle in Mozambique and Azania. After coming to power, only Zimbabwe and Tanzania consistently helped Mozambique fight against the SADF-guided Renamo counterinsurgency.
Carrying out an outstanding policy under difficult circumstances, ZANU-PF did not allow its 1981 arrangement with HJ Heinz to derail its responsibility to the Black Revolution. Having cut the best deal for itself despite the fears of many onlookers, Zimbabwe at one time had the strongest economy in black Africa. It led many Third World countries in food exports and food surpluses when other African countries were importing maize, soy and other goods. Heinz’s Zimbabwe agricultural sector outperformed all its other overseas holdings combined, look up the portfolio. However, the Imperialists have steadily eroded those gains. Imperialist violence on Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe (the “former” Frontline States) has led to the desertification of Southern Africa, and climate change.
Neither South Africa, the ANC’s Jacob Zuma nor Nelson Mandela carry the historical leadership mantel in Southern Africa. Only one republic is ideologically strong enuf to provide security in the region over the long term; even if its democratic style seems suspect. Hands down, that country is Zimbabwe, under Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF leadership.
Neither Angola nor Namibia must leave Zimbabwe whistling in the dark should the “shoot-to-kill” SA pres Zuma formulate a policy which backstabs Harare after supporting ANC’s struggle against apartheid rule. Zuma may be that stupid and treacherous, risking his neck in Soweto. If the Congressional Black Caucus steps up to the plate by intervening in this affair, hopefully, the African street will oppose all such betrayals. The African Union better respect the Southern Africa Development Community to solve this issue, and Zimbabwe will determine its own future.
Yet even with his hands tied, Robert Mugabe is a giant. When the Imperialists destabilized Central Africa, Zimbabwe was one country that moved decisively to stabilize the situation. However, the forces of Imperialism militated against immediate success during that period, playing the ambitions of its client states (Zambia, Uganda, Congo, Rwanda and Burundi) against African interests. How people interpret this period informs us about who is who and what is what in Africa, and America.
Mugabe’s Zimbabwe has contributed far greater revolutionary sustenance to African liberation than Kwame Nkrumah ever dreamt, tho we studiously uphold Nkrumah’s thought.
Portside can call its Ivy League fact checkers or anybody else to do the research. Maybe they can prove me wrong because, like I sed, these are things I kno from heart, not from having just read the Jamaica Gleaner. Malcolm X once sed something to the effect that if the white man says north, I’m going south. And when it comes to Africa and Africans, I heed his advice. You won’t catch me behaving like a white man’s nigger! I kno better. Besides, nobody can make up my mind on Africa. I do it myself.
The Zimbabwe constitution says a runoff must take place if one party fails to win by 50% plus one vote. MDI supposedly had 47% of the vote and ZANU 43%, and that's in the COSATU DAILY NEWS. Let Africa have Mugabe in place of Bush, Sarkozy and Brown, too.
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