Greetings to you in the name of the peoples’ national democratic revolution! My dear brother, it is with great regret that I recently read your speech at Medunsa on your continued support of ZANU (PF), a liberation movement that has brought many sorrows to us Zimbabweans. I must say that, your continued support of ZANU (PF) and what it stand for continues to pain my heart and it is important that I write and share with you how our alleged liberators have only liberated themselves and continue to oppress the masses and the poor, the very people that you claim to be fighting for.
It was also at your youth conference in Midrand in August, that you mentioned the need for the ANCYL to strengthen its relationship with liberation movements against the onslaught of imperialism and neo liberalism. This was after your visit to Zimbabwe earlier this the year where you showered praises to ZANU (PF) and Mugabe.
Let me be quick to add that I have nothing against you in person, for, thank goodness, in this country each one of us is free to articulate their views and opinions without fear or victimisation, something that I may remind you, is very difficult in Zimbabwe under the ZANU (PF) freedom of speech laws that limit our personal freedoms to speak as you do and to organise and associate ourselves with those that seek change.
I am sure, given your position in this country, you have done your homework on the issues facing Zimbabwe right now. Despite the fact that the MDC was voted into power by the majority of Zimbabweans in March 2008, they remain a marginalised in a government of national unity (GNU) whose negotiations were spearheaded by your ex-President Thabo Mbeki, then the leader of your very own political party.
In addition, I am sure you are also aware that in excess of 3m Zimbabweans have voted against ZANU (PF) with their feet in the last five years with most of them coming here to South Africa not out of choice, but because of the political and economic circumstances created by the very ZANU (PF) that you support.
As a matter of fact, I am sure that neither the ANC nor the ANCYL has 3m members so it is difficult for you to appreciate the sheer numbers involved and the conditions that led to so many people leaving their own country. This represents almost a quarter of the country’s population Julius. Just to give you an idea, this would be equivalent to half of Soweto’s residents leaving Gauteng for fear of violence and economic hardship. It is estimated that 80% of those Zimbabweans here in South Africa, are poor people and not professionals or business people.
You will also be aware that an estimated 700 000 people were displaced by ZANU (PF) during the politically motivated Murambatsvina campaign that was designed to rid urban Harare of those that voted for the opposition. There is also the outstanding issue of Gukurahundi that has been declared a crime against humanity, where an estimated 20 000 people perished and our Ndebele brothers and sisters from Matebeleland still have to come to terms with that. If I remember well, this is more people than those that died in the Sharpville Massacre that your country, even to this day, still remembers as a dark day during the days of apartheid.
As a member of the ANC leadership, I am sure you are also continually briefed on the progress in Zimbabwe and how South Africa is the intermediary in this process so that we may see the emergence of a new democratic system in Zimbabwe, something that South Africa will benefit from immensely in all fronts. Be it the return of Zimbabweans who are seen as taking your jobs here, or the volume of trade that is possible with a stable economy in Zimbabwe which can only benefit South Africa. Believe it or not Julius, our fate is inextricably linked and I do wish you would sit down and ponder on that before you support what us Zimbabweans have rejected and will continue to reject – ZANU (PF)’s continued oppression of the masses who, by the way, also sacrificed and contributed to the liberation struggle but remain poor and marginalised to this day.
You are also aware, of course, that the current effort by Zimbabweans to give their input into a new constitution has been disrupted by ZANU (PF) war veterans and the army. Violence has erupted in some areas as ZANU (PF) forces people to agree to their political views. In addition our diamond mines have been nationalised , yes nationalised in the name of ZANU (PF) who have become main beneficiaries.
Julius, Zimbabwe is not a democracy as South Africa is. Your very freedom to organise yourselves as the ANCYL and your freedom to associate with whomever you wish, your freedom of speech and the fact that you even exist are things that you must not take for granted but cherish. These are the similar conditions that we as Zimbabweans also wish for but are unable to achieve because of the ZANU (PF) dictatorship. The economic freedom that you want is also the freedom that we want from these oppressors who you continue to support.
My dear Julius, you cannot be pro-poor here in South Africa and support ZANU (PF) in the same breath, it is a contradiction in terms, a conflict of intent which compromises your bona fides. I must say that I am dismayed and disappointed at your insensitivity to our plight. We are as free to support the MDC as South Africans are free to support the ANC, DA or COPE regardless of what your opinion on them is. In addition, whether a political party is founded in a shack in Kwamashu or a hotel suite Sandton where you live, is neither here nor there Julius. It is irrelevant to the fight against black capitalism, black on black violence and oppression that is being presented to us as economic indigenisation and the fight against imperialism by ZANU (PF). I pray that this will not happen here?
Your liberation icons here such as Mandela, Tambo, Sisulu , among many, sacrificed their valuable lives so that you may have the freedom that you have now. Their sacrifice gave birth to the opportunities that you enjoy today including the fact that you as Julius Malema, can stand up and articulate your views and opinions without fear. That you can stand up today and claim your place in shaping of your country’s future.
We in Zimbabwe also have our icons, such as Chitepo, Nkomo, Tongogara among many, who died so that we may enjoy the same freedoms that you have today but we stand oppressed and violated. Yes, we stand oppressed and violated by those that now claim to have liberated us. We stand despised and treated as foreigners in Africa, our motherland. We take menial jobs here in South Africa and all over the world despite our talents and skills and stand dejected by the economic circumstances created in our country because of the greed and selfishness of our own folk in ZANU(PF) who continue to call it a fight against imperialism as you now do.
Your blind support of ZANU (PF) clearly shows most Zimbabweans who have been disadvantaged, killed and maimed by them that you neither care nor are you qualified to be a leader that we can be proud of as Africans. What a pity because Africa needs young vibrant leaders yes, but leaders that have those values of human dignity and freedom that your partners ZANU (PF) sorely need. This of course has put to question in our minds what you Julius Malema stand for and in particular what the organisation you represent stands for.
Our fight Julius, is not against imperialism or neo liberalism as you state, our fight is against African dictatorships, such as that of Mugabe and those that prop him up who oppress their own. Our fight is against liberation movements who claim to represent the interest of the poor but are worse than those imperialists they condemn. Our fight is difficult yes because today we must fight our own who, after liberating us, have assumed that we do not have the same aspirations as they have. They have assumed that theirs is the sole right to have it all and we the masses must be content with the poverty that they have created. That, there is the sole right to govern us even when they misgovern and theirs is the sole right to enjoy the fruits of liberation.
You see Julius, we will not accept those conditions as I am sure that you would not. You have already said so many a time and I wonder why you think less of us Zimbabweans. That we Zimbabweans must be victims of ZANU (PF) by the mere fact that they are a liberation movement and accept to play lesser role in shaping our future than you and the ANCYL would accept here in South Africa. That Mugabe must rule our land for life despite his failure to protect our interests. That ZANU (PF) must have rights above everyone else.
In my opinion Julius, there is nothing wrong with what you claim you stand for, ie, the amelioration of the economic condition of the poor majority. In fact we all stand for that and some of us Zimbabweans who are here are actually doing more to assist poor South Africans than black South Africans themselves. My pain is your continued support of those that for 30 years have shown us that they neither respect our views nor do they care for the condition of Zimbabweans who have become poorer and more desperate by the day.
If that is what you as an individual choose to support, that is your choice for we live in a democracy here in South Africa. However, let it be known that, as Zimbabweans, the majority of us do not support ZANU (PF) any longer nor do we respect those that do. All we pray for right now is to register our disapproval through a free and fair election, if that is ever possible in our land.
It is the inevitable consequence of history Julius that those who oppress others, whether they be black or white, liberation movements or imperialist, will never prevail. Freedom shall surely come in our lifetime.
I sincerely hope that our paths shall cross one day as we all seek to be free not only from imperialism as you state, but from those Africans who continue to perpetuate the oppression of the poor under the skirt of liberation and black economic empowerment.
*Vince Musewe is an independent Zimbabwean economist based in South Africa. He is also chairman and founder of Truth2Power. You may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org