Africa Still Needs Revolutionaries
by Boyd Madikila
AN interesting debate is taking place in Southern Africa, especially coming against the backdrop of the Zuma-Ngcuka saga in South Africa that was ironically legally decided by none other than our own ex-Rhodie judge, Justice Hillary Squires.
The debate is essentially a leadership question pitting heroes of Africa's political revolution against a new rising force of technocrats. It heralds a sad era in African revolutionary politics in that these "educated natives" forming the technocracy are threatening to eclipse the revered slogan-chanting, gun-toting and activist leadership epitomised by the likes of Che Guevara, Steve Biko, Joshua Nkomo, Robert Mugabe, Kwame Nkrumah and others.
What makes it more acute is that this new technocracy is a favourite of imperialist forces who, since independence, have become more cunning and deceptive in their endeavours to influence the goings-on in Africa.
The tragedy of African revolutions is that they have remained largely cosmetic with no direct impact on the socio-economic front for the ordinary peasant and labourer.
It is true that the freedom fighter was highly successful in unshackling the physical yokes and barriers that kept us on the colonial leash, chained to our miserable inadequacies and confined to the mental and physical boundaries the oppressor had drawn for us. We toasted our traditional brew to this new freedom and thanked our God and ancestors for leading us through it all until we gained the then elusive right to put an "X" onto a ballot paper.
The Union Jack was pulled down before the humiliated Rhodies and nostalgic British Royalty as a new Zimbabwean flag - full of beauty and history - was proudly raised amid pomp and fanfare. Unfortunately for the common man, the party ended there.
I refuse to be an average African content with receiving breadcrumbs from the master's overflowing table, because a good Silver Jubilee after independence the blackness in me still screams that the party was, and still is, premature; that the celebrations of black freedom are out of sync with reality; and that the various African revolutions from the Mau-Mau uprising to the Chimurengas have been what we call in Ndebele "imboza".
This succinct indigenous word refers to a frantically and hastily prepared meal, not fully cooked and not well seasoned either. The land revolution in Zimbabwe often lampooned as a "land grab" by reactionary forces is enough evidence that the people were greatly short-changed at independence. The same revolutionary vibes are resonating with ear-shattering echoes in South Africa, whose name alone suggests how Codesa (Convention for a Democratic South Africa), which wrote the 1994 majority rule constitution) fell short in restoring full socio-economic justice to the oppressed African liberation revolutions, and the African will continue to clamour - and loudly - for socio-economic justice.
That is the whole question is: Does Africa need a technocratic leadership opposed to the activist leadership?
If events that surrounded the recent African Union Summit in Libya and the G8 Summit in Scotland are analysed with African insight, then surely Africa still needs activist-cum-freedom fighter leaders. We still need more Joshua Nkomos, Robert Mugabes and Steve Bikos as opposed to the textbook leadership of the so-called technocrats, who are mere natives schooled and intoxicated by "brainwashed" education.
They sound sophisticated though their logic is baptised in the ephemeral quest for materialism. The technocrats are aloof to the people's needs, confining themselves to their mansions and jobs that pay them nine-figure salaries, typically nerdy and flamboyant in Armani suits and English cuts.
Africa is not ready for an era of technocracy. Africa still needs a leadership that will demand unflinchingly and unapologetically that the dignity of the African be restored.
All this hogwash about rule of law, democracy, good governance and other intangible, vague and indefinable political superlatives will not restore nor emancipate Africans from centuries of abuse and disempowerment.
The technocratic mentality believes that the developed world does not owe Africa anything, hence many technocrats in Africa will not subscribe to the ideals of reparations and compensation when it comes to discussing Africa's poverty and debt burden.
Instead, they believe that Africa must succumb to the endless supercilious dictates of the Western world in order to gain acceptability into the so-called global village and "international" community. Technocrats have reduced human life and its ever-increasing needs (or lack of them) into lifeless figures in smoky theorems and workshops, economic graphs and projections.
Eric Bloch is one such manifestation of the technocratic mentality in Zimbabwe. In his recent contribution to the weekly Zimbabwe "Independent", he conjures a mystic parable of the "ant and the grasshopper". What Bloch does not explain in his political parable is how the "ant" ended up having so much luxury while the "grasshopper" languished in empty hope.
His selective memory suffered inexplicable amnesia by ignoring the fact that the "ant", with all its assumed industriousness, got luxuries through occupation and dispossession, forced labour and racial discrimination. Bloch fell short of proclaiming a typical Rhodesian mentality that ants (whites) are naturally more hard-working than grasshoppers (black people).
What bothers me is that people with such a mentality continue to sit on corporate boards of Zimbabwe's strategic companies yet they work day and night to denigrate the aspirations of the majority, whose only hope of survival is Government intervention.
In a recent Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe monetary policy outreach programme, I was thoroughly thrilled to hear Retired General Solomon Mujuru stating clearly that he is not a leader of "memos", but a practical hands-on revolutionary who works directly with constituencies.
Well said, Comrade! Need I say more?
The struggle shall continue until the masses are totally emancipated socially and economically and only fools can ignore this truism to their own well-deserved peril.
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