Bevan Musoko Correspondent
Even before his burial, former President Robert Mugabe could be turning in his coffin given the scale and scariness of the on-going black-on-black violence in South Africa.
While disguised as motivated by scarcity of jobs and other economic opportunities which South Africans are blaming on the influx of migrants from other countries, the attacks, beatings, looting and murder of foreign nationals working in South Africa expose far bigger and deeper fault lines between and among African countries.
These fault lines challenge the very heart of the liberation ideology and consequently, the viability of the independent African state as conceived by the African renaissance founding luminaries, among them Kwame Nkrumah, Robert Mugabe, Dawda Jawara, Jomo Kenyatta, Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere and Kenneth Kaunda. These men bore a heavy historical responsibility.
Cde Mugabe the person
Despite the superficial Western portrayal of Cde Mugabe as a tyrant, despot, liberator-turned-villain and all sorts of negativities by its powerful media, the sustained attack on his personality and what he stood for is testimony of the impact his values, principles and philosophy had on the developing world, not only in Africa, but beyond.
Even among people of colour slaving it out in the developed world, Cde Mugabe symbolised the essence of an African who got schooled by the West, but was not assimilated by Western niceties that he forgot the material conditions of his people: the mass of the African population oppressed by white monopoly capital under the guise of employment and economic development.
Realising the trajectory being taken by the evolving 20th century socio-politico-economic order, Cde Mugabe became a reader, ultimately earning over 10 university degrees, some honorary.
This placed him on an even keel, if not better, with the white capitalists he was to confront for the greater part of his political life.
This commitment to knowledge reflected in his unprecedented budgetary investment in education for the generality of Zimbabweans denied education opportunities by the Smith regime and the liberation war.
Throughout his long political life, Cde Mugabe sang the song of unity among Zimbabwean citizens. He challenged the very foundations of white monopoly capital when he implemented the revolutionary land reclamation programme.
Despite stiff resistance by the Western world ganged up against him and his vision of an empowered Africa, Cde Mugabe remained resolute.
He exported the same philosophy to neighbouring countries, extolling regional counterparts to speak with one voice on matters that commonly affected the region.
The viciousness with which white monopoly capital, its political leadership and the embedded media reacted to Cde Mugabe’s resource nationalism and the potential it held for the Third World was legendary.
Bogus political parties were formed with a view to sow black-on-black discord. The formation of MDC saw a spike in cases of political violence, with attacks on Government installations such as police stations rising.
This was an attempt by colonisers to divert attention away from the real issue that was of importance to Zimbabweans: the reclamation of land, mines and other means of production.
The white man’s strategy is to foment black-on-black violence while they loot a country’s wealth.
It happened in Angola where the West sponsored Jonas Savimbi to fight the MPLA government while they siphoned oil. In Mozambique, the West similarly sponsored Afonso Dhlakama to destabilise the wave of liberation sweeping the region then.
In Zimbabwe, they fomented dissident activities in Matabeleland through the then apartheid South Africa, while whites held on to the means of production.
Similarly, what is happening in South Africa at the moment is another strategy by white capital to derail the growing narrative in that country for nationalisation of natural wealth.
It is a fact that white South Africans control that country’s economy. By 1994, more than 80 percent of the land was in the hands of whites.
Data from the Institute of Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies suggest that just under 60 000 white-owned farms accounted for about 70 percent of the total area of the country in early 1990s.
Land reform programme has been slow in South Africa. Some suggest that less than 10 percent of the total land has been redistributed from white to black ownership since 1994.
A Johannesburg Stock Exchange-commissioned study showed that black investors directly hold nine percent of the bourse’s top 100 companies, which represent nearly 90 percent of its US$834 billion market capitalisation.
It is against this background of South African inequalities and poverty that black South Africans are blaming migrants from other African countries for causing their poverty.
To date, 11 migrants have been killed, thousands have been injured while goods worth millions of dollars have been looted. Black South Africans are naïve enough to fail to realise that they are equal victims, together with the hustling fellow black migrants, of white monopoly capital.
They fail to realise that it is in the interest of white capital that blacks remain at loggerheads with each other so as to divert their focus from the real issues of control of means of production.
It is a revelation on the socio-political naivety of South Africans that foreign whites and their assets are being spared in the attacks.
It simply means the South Africans have not matured politically to be able to discern that the real enemies of their total economic independence are not the poor African migrants they are targeting.
The real enemy of Africa’s progress and economic independence are these whites who have continued to milk its resources and repatriating profits back to their home countries.
This explains why investors from the West are adamant that any investment agreements should provide for unfettered repatriation of their funds back to their home countries.
It’s all looting for the benefit of their home countries’ benefit.
In essence, what the South Africans are really saying to African migrants is “we want to be exploited by white capitalists on our own.” Literally fighting for enslavement.
South Africans should have been mobilising other Africans to confront white capital that is looting our natural resources. That is the legacy of former President Mugabe who fearlessly confronted white imperialists at every turn.
The former President rightly identified an unequal international order as the source of exploitation of the Third World by the West.
As such, he championed the reform of multilateral political and financial institutions. While South Africans have realised that white capitalist forces imprisoned their founding father Nelson Mandela for 27 years in an effort to prevent the advent of democracy in that country, his release in 1994 did not end the shackles of economic imprisonment in which they remain in to this day.
Whites had custody of Mandela for the 27 years he spent in jail.
Despite this, Mandela’s vision and personality continued to inspire ANC, PAC and Umkontho WeSizwe activists who continued to prosecute the liberation struggle. Mandela’s vision for an independent South Africa inspired the masses, despite the viciousness of the apartheid regime.
Come 1994, white capitalists, realising the inevitability of black majority independence, released the physical Mandela from their custody to the blacks.
Simultaneously, they cleverly hijacked his vision and legacy as a freedom fighter to advocate for a hollow “reconciliation” and opening of a new chapter in the so-called Rainbow nation.
They have since appropriated his legacy to protect their ill-gotten apartheid loot under a hollow “reconciliation.” Our compatriots down South still don’t see this clear deception. They now have the mortal remains of Mandela, but lost the battle for his legacy.
Developments in South Africa expose a clear and dangerous trend where politically unconscious Africans damage their own interests in the name of moving with modernity.
There is need for a politically conscious generation that values African solidarity and economic emancipation at the expense of narrow and selfish interests.