Moffat and Rhodes are Dead Gentlemen

The Zimbabwe Heritage Trust (ZHT) held a crash course in consciousness-raising for a group of musicians that expectedly and beautifully crashed.

Who still has the temerity and sanity to craft colonial linkages to the current mess Zimbabwe is caught in?

As one audience member said, the more we continue refusing responsibility for the current mess and blaming colonialism and the West, the longer it will take for us to emerge from the web of poverty and underdevelopment.

The ZHT sought to make the artists more aware of the bigger geo-political world that is existent beyond their vocal cords but the move ended up a damp squib of political complaints by the audience.

Pritchard Zhou, the Chief Executive Officer for ZHT gave the lecture that sparked the audience into life when he retraced the arrival of missionaries and colonialists, whilst trying to paint a picture of a conniving group that had one goal, to subvert the black African.

All right true that may be, said the audience but who stole the $15 billion diamonds, they asked after he ended his not-so-engaging lecture.

It may be true that Cecil Rhodes was no Christian, and father and son, Robert and John Moffat were skullduggery foxes in priestly robes, but so-what after decades of self-rule?

Do we still need redemption from the Moffat curse when we have our own prophets awash today?

The Cape to Cairo guy may be buried at Matopos ‘overlooking his land’ as he may think in his dead state but is that reason enough for us to remain shackled to him in thinking he somewhat is reining us from realizing our full potential.

That children who visit Matopos today are made much more aware about Rhodes, where he is buried and why he came to be there, and not told about Murenga and his own ignored burial site isn’t a hindrance to the arrest of corrupt politicians stealing and going scot-free.

That’s an administrative issue just as VP Mnangagwa said about the partisan distribution of maize.

Accompanying the lecture musicians were given a printed paper filled with a myriad number of minerals which are found in Zimbabwe.

However coming in the aftermath of the Global Witness report on the Marange diamonds detailing how state security and ZANU apparatchiks siphoned the minerals, the printout was an offensive reminder of more opportunities for the same guys to repeat their thieving ways.

In as much as the white man has been the reason for our woes a time has to come when we have to blame each other for whatever ills bedevil us.

There has been a little piece on Whatsapp comparing the achievements of Rhodesia under sanctions and Zimbabwe under the same. Though written as a jest jab the stark achievements by the former and the poorness of the latter, under the same conditions, reveals the depth of our failings and the nakedness of our justifications.

Zimbabwe today is the product of our actions and nothing else. The clearest show of that is the positive trajectory of the country during the tenure of the Inclusive Government.

The then Finance Minister Tendai Biti adopted an eat what we kill approach that sought to fit the government’s expenditure to the income, adopted foreign currency among other measures and the fiscus assumed an even-face that showed glimmers of light.

The current act by Chinamasa and the ZANU (PF) government characterised by the $20 million rallies, $10 million UN entourage of 70 officials and shady Sandton acquisitions all don’t engender any feelings of positivity.

The lines between government and party business are blurred and one begins to believe Dr Shingi Munyeza that the country is sliding back into 2008.

Diesel is already in short supply and the black market is back with a big bang with exorbitant 30% charges for Ecocash withdrawals and that does not need a historical lesson on the geo-politics of Mfecane and Lobengula loving sugar, to understand the origins.

Zimbabwe is mired in a current problem with a current causative and current solutions and delivering theatrical Anglo-Saxon involving penumbra is the slowest way out of the problems.

History is fundamental, as Achebe says in Anthills of the Savanna, “a man who does not know where the rain began to beat him cannot say where he dried his body.”

History is fundamental in informing us where we are going and providing lessons going into that future. It provides hints and stark portrayals for reference sake but does not provide the template for everything since life is an arena of shifting variables. Carving rigid camps of friends and enemies is the worst approach to politics that Zimbabwe has chosen.

The Global Witness report on the siphoning of Marange diamonds by some Chinese, our supposed allies, is a stark portrayal how history does not suffice as a rigid template.

It does not and can’t explain all the deficiencies current to the comic nation we have become. It simply falls short just as a sanctions and the West theory is a tragedy of propaganda and paranoid self-abuse.

The Heritage Trust has a noble agenda to make us aware of our past but that should suffice and not be bent into a weapon to bludgeon us into thinking every failure has an Anglo-Saxon origin.

If John and Robert Moffat were false prophets, Cecil Rhodes an imperialist atheist and feminism a Western creation to divide African families as Mr Zhou contends, so what in today?

What has that got to do about a missing $15 billion? What has that got to do about abused Zimdef funds? What about a dead Ziscosteel and a bungled NRZ deal. Is Moffat Lacoste or G40 and part of a dithering government caught up in internal ructions to rule logically?

The colonialist was an evil man but today we have room to make changes and write a new history, hanging from the colonial beard is now a stale gimmick fit for an Interface rally not a discourse of sane minds.