Autocracy in Government

OPINION – The man at the centre of attraction was shaking like a leaf in a windy day. He had already wet this pants in obvious fear because it had already dawned on him that this was the end of his life.

Those around him, most of whom he had grown up with, were all shouting in unison at the behest of an AK rifle-clutching commander of a group of about ten ZANLA forces who operated in that area. “Pasi nevatengesi” shouted the commander and the group responded with a reverberating “PASI!!”

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It had come to the attention of this group that following their visit to that particular village three days earlier a group of Rhodesian forces had come to that village asking for information about the whereabouts of that group. And it had somehow come to their attention that the man who was now to about face his ultimate punishment was responsible for leaking the information of their presence to those Rhodesian forces.

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“Pasi nevatengesi” meaning down with the sell-outs, went on the commander with those gathered responding likewise “PASI NAVO!!” down with them.

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That is how most of those who were found to have passed such information to the Rhodesian forces met their demise. But in some cases some of these people would have done nothing of that sort. While others could have actually sold out, there were others who just had the misfortune of being not very popular with the majority of the villagers and they were just fingers out of that hatred.

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But Vana Mukoma (brothers) as the freedom fighters were populary known, didn’t have time to investigate the genuineness of such allegations. As long as there was a presence of Rhodesian forces within the area, they took uopn themselves that it was the work of some informer that betrayed their presence.

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However, there were also more instances where villagers supplied vital information to the freedom fighters about the movements of Rhodesain forces in which they scored notable successes. In addition to that it was the villagers who provided not only such vital information but also made sure that the freedom fighters were well fed to pursue the struggle.

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Those who had cars sacrificed their lives through road blockes manned by Rhodesian forces to drive into nearby towns to buy provisions for them. In some unfortunate incidents they could be stopped and their cars thoroughly searched and if they failed to advance a satisfactory explanation as to why they were carrying so such provisions, they were arrested and thrown in prison and their cars together with the groceries confiscated by the state.

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That was the nature of the war of liberation that brought Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980. The villagers and ordinary civilians bore the brunt of it in as much the same way as the freedom fighters if not worse because they were always caught in the middle.

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It is very supprising to note that very few people especially those so-called securocrats do not seem to understand that it was the villagers who supplied very vital logistical support for the freedom fighters to pursue the war. Rhodesian forces had ordnance supply depots and stores where they got their provisions such as food and clothing whereas the villagers also did it in their own measure for the freedom fighters.

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No side, villagers and freedom fighters alike, should claim to have played a more important role than the other. It was a collective effort of everyone. The Rhodesian forces had two-way radios for their communication whereas freedom fighters relied on villagers to supply them with the much-needed information about the movements and whereabouts of the enemy.

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Everyone was involved in the struggle for independence that was fought in order to eradicate the repressive regime of Ian Douglas Smith that denied others the right to a better live. The war was fought so that every person has equal rights regardless of race, creed or colour. It was fought so that everyone enjoys the right to assembly, worship, information and all other fundamental human rights.

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Therefore it is very folly of those people who apply themselves as ultimate authorities in government whose word should always be final because that is in total contrast with fundamental human rights that we all fought to uphold.

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A goverment of the day that should have been put in place through a universal system of a ballot box should carry-out its functions according to the dictates of the majority who mandate it. No head of state is mandated to run the country to suit his or her own whims.

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Autocracy should never be tolerated in Zimbabwe whose independence was brought about through a collective effort of eveybody.