December 16, 2017

What next for Zimbabwe after Robert Mugabe: Division and hatred? Or ‘One Love?’

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By: Earl Bousquet From telesurtv

, if alive today, would probably have hesitated to write another song to replace “.”

The has long had a close association with the Southern African liberation struggle and movements, especially the role played by Cuban soldiers in beating back the racist forces trying to turn back the tide of liberation progress in Angola in the late 1970s.

There was also the fact that Grenada’s revolutionary Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, during the 1980 Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference, was able work with other like-minded government leaders to get British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the traditional backers of South Africa’s and Rhodesia’s racist Apartheid regimes to (very reluctantly) accept “majority rule” in Zimbabwe.

Unofficial Anthem

But even before Zimbabwe became independent, a song dedicated to the Zimbabwean liberation struggle, written and sung by the Caribbean’s best known and most popular Reggae band, was destined to become the unofficial international anthem of the newly-liberated Southern African nation.

“Zimbabwe” is a song by the world-famous award-winning Jamaican band, Bob Marley & The Wailers, which had been released on the 1979 album Survival and premiered at the Amandla Festival.

According to Wikipedia: “Marley wrote the song in support of the Marxist–Leninist and Maoist guerillas fighting against the Rhodesian government in the Bush War.

“Shortly after Robert Mugabe’s victory and ascension to power in the newly renamed Zimbabwe, Marley was invited to perform at the independence celebrations in Salisbury.

“His concert was briefly delayed while local security forces quelled instances of civil unrest in the city.”

Predictive and Philosophical

Marley was both predictive and philosophical with the song – predicting that “Africans” will “liberate Zimbabwe” and warning that “Soon we’ll find out who’s the real revolutionaries” because “I don’t want my people to be tricked by mercenaries”.

In the long bush war for Zimbabwe’s liberation, Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo led two armed groups that eventually joined to form the Zimbabwe African Liberation Union — Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).

But ZANU-PF was rivaled by other black-led and mixed-race forces backed by South Africa and other supporters of the racist Rhodesian regime, which led to Marley’s separate categorizations of “real revolutionaries” and “mercenaries”.

Marley and the Wailers’ performance at Zimbabwe’s independence rally in 1980 drew thousand to the newly liberated country from the rest of Africa, as well as from the Caribbean and Europe, North and South America.

Reverence

All of 37 years later, Marley’s song is still played and sung with the same reverence in Zimbabwe, even three decades after his death.

Caribbean people too – especially Jamaicans – have also been playing and re-playing Bob Marley’s historical hit song since the November 15 military action.

But even while they may sing the popular song, Zimbabweans are not about to jump and dance to it in the streets of Harare.

Uncertain Calm

The army first seemed to have toppled Mugabe, but is now in deep consultation with the aged but normally strong-headed president regarding his role in Zimbabwe’s future.

The uncertainties in Zimbabwe regarding Mugabe’s future are as worrying to Caribbean people as to supporters of African liberation everywhere.

The African Union (AU) is as concerned as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that whatever transition or continuity takes place in Harare will be non-violent and bloodless — and the army will return to barracks.

The clear division within the ZANU-PF between those supporting Mugabe’s wife (Grace Mugabe) and his lifelong co-leader and vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa is clear manifestation of the stark differences between the surviving older liberation fighters and the younger emerging trend in the party led by Mrs Mugabe.

The situation remains one of uncertain calm, given the expected various political manoeuvers and shenanigans related to where Mugabe stands in relation to the army takeover, his future role as Africa and the world’s oldest leader, the future of Grace Mugabe and what’s left of her “Generation 40” (G-40) group, the call by the Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for inclusion in a transitional government, etc.

The confusion was multiplied by Mugabe’s subsequent appearance in public, as President, at a university event just a couple days after the army’s action; and equally by photographs of the supposedly toppled President shaking hands and smiling with the army general who led the military action that placed him in confinement at home.

Equal uncertainty reigns as to what will be the roles of and relationships between Mugabe and his beloved wife, who he was grooming to succeed him, but who has become virtually invisible since the army takeover that also arrested her main supporters in her husband’s Cabinet.

Head Strong

The army made it clear that it’s move was “not a coup” and “not against President Mugabe,” but against the ‘criminals’ around him who support his wife’s ambitions and had been promoting her cause through the G-40, leading to a serious division within the ZNU-PF ahead of its upcoming national congress to select a new leader ahead of planned presidential elections in 2018.

The head-strong Mugabe – regarded across Africa as an ultimate survivor — is said to have asked to be allowed to stand down as ZANU-PF Leader at the upcoming December congress and allowed to serve the rest of his term until next year’s presidential elections when he will voluntarily step down.
If so be the case, Mugabe will certainly also demand certain security and retirement guarantees associated with him being the only leader the country has known since independence.

Similarly, should the army agree to replace Mugabe with Mnangagwa (who Mugabe fired last week) as the new ZANU-PF Leader and presidential candidate, the outgoing president will also demand equal assurances against any future possibility of vengeance, should the powerful ruling party maintain state power following next year’s scheduled presidential vote.

Mugabe’s immediate future remain uncertain and he is still under army control and protection at his official residence.

There have also been reports of eight out of ten branches of the ZANU-PF having taken votes of “No Confidence” in Mugabe which can have implications for his request to be allowed to end his current term.

‘One Love …’

Like yesterday, tomorrow is still uncertain for Zimbabweans of races and political complexions.

Bob Marley, if alive today, would probably have hesitated to write another song to replace “Zimbabwe.”

Instead, those who knew one of the entire Caribbean’s greatest icons suggest he might simply have urged all Zimbabweans to unite at this crucial time and play, listen to and sing that other universally popular song he also wrote and sang, entitled “One Love.”

IMAGE: The head-strong Mugabe – regarded across Africa as an ultimate survivor — is said to have asked to be allowed to stand down as ZANU-PF Leader at the upcoming December congress and allowed to serve the rest of his term until next year’s presidential elections when he will voluntarily step down. | Photo: Reuters

For more on this story and video go to: https://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/What-Next-for-Zimbabwe-After-Robert-Mugabe-Division-and-Hatred-Or-One-Love-20171118-0009.html

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