LET us take a moment to honour and celebrate the architect of the Second Chimurenga, Chairman Herbert Chitepo. 

He is one man who abandoned a life of luxury as the first African lawyer in the then Rhodesia and instead exposed himself to the wrath of Rhodesia by defending nationalists. 

He gave up his home in Highfield, Harare, to Joshua Nkomo for use by the nationalists and left a prestigious job in Tanzania as the Director of Public Prosecutions to organise the armed struggle in his home country, Zimbabwe.

This is a man who built ZANLA from scratch and directed the liberation war until the whiteman was in no doubt that Rhodesia could not be salvaged.

In this article we want to reflect on and celebrate what this great hero taught us which has answers to the challenges we face today.

“The ultimate goal is majority rule.

The ultimate goal in economic terms is the abolition of the system of exploitation.

That means, we don’t merely seek a so-called rough change in society in Zimbabwe.

We are seeking what we describe as a systemic change.

We want to change the whole system.

We want revolution.

By revolution, we understand a turning of the wheel.

We want an entirely new society based on no exploitation, true equality and true justice for all.

We realise that what we are dealing with is not simply racism, but imperialistic exploitation.

I say this because I think it is very important for us to appreciate that the struggle we are engaged with is not simply against the immediate European settlers by themselves.

In the background is a whole lot of other people; South Africans, the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Germans, the Americans.

They are all part of the exploiting machine.

That is what we are fighting against.” (Chitepo:1974)

Majority rule has been won, but we still have to deal with the system of exploitation, the same forces who were behind the exploitative system of the Rhodesian regime are the very forces who are still fighting us economically, brewing all sorts of economic impediments to our development, sanctions included.

Chairman Chitepo was right. 

The struggle did not end on December 21 1979 when we signed the ceasefire agreement with the British armed robbers. 

The struggle to own resources as Africans of Zimbabwe was just beginning.

As a country, we have been walking in the footsteps of Chairman Chitepo

Kuva neZimbabwe neupfumi hwayo hwose is what we fought for; everything, every blade of grass found in this land belongs to us Zimbabweans.

Everything is ours…the problem is what to do with the system of exploitation which makes it impossible for us to own what is ours; how to stop the exploitation as Chairman Chitepo admonished.

We opted for an indigenisation and economic empowerment policy in which Zimbabwe, as a country, would take an active, as opposed to the hitherto passive, participation in the exploitation of its natural resources. 

This meant Zimbabwe would now take a joint-venture interest in every non-indigenously-owned company in the country with a net value of US$1 million, by taking 51 percent shareholding in the companies while the ‘foreign partners’ keep 49 percent. 

This was done deliberately to restore the ownership of the nation’s resources to its owners.

And what would Zimbabwe do with the 51 percent?

10 percent would go to the community in which the company was located, to be used as the community saw best, of course supervised by the relevant Ministries? Some communities have built, schools and clinics;

λFive percent would go to the workers in the community;

λ36 percent would go to the national coffers, for the development of the whole country.

Of course 51 percent cannot be the ultimate goal, the ultimate goal was for us to own the whole of our resources without sharing with anyone as happens all over the world, as happened in countries such as Libya which wholly owned its oil until the West murdered its leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi so that they would wrest control of the oil from the Libyans. 

However, gaining total control of our resources is a process. 

We first have to build our own capital so we can exploit our resources. 

Total control of our resources is the only status that would please Chairman Chitepo. 

But we have taken the first steps towards ownership of our resources and 100 years since Chitepo was born and 48 years since he paid the ultimate price for this great gracious land, Chairman Chitepo should be smiling.

However, for us to achieve total ownership of our resources, we have to have an education commensurate with ownership of the nation’s resources. 

Do we have much to make Chairman Chitepo smile as far as our education is concerned?

We have an elitist education which divorces Zimbabwe’s heirs from the consciousness of ownership — which entirely refuses to teach them that labour is the source of all human livelihood and that all wealth comes from the labour of human hands. 

Ours is an education system that says to our children there is nothing honourable in being involved in production and even the remotest association with labour is denigrated.

But how can you ever conceive to be an owner when you do not understand production as the basis of human livelihood, the source of all wealth? 

When you are able to get substantial amounts of cash and you do not see any value in investing the amount in a business venture, in a productive enterprise, but to build the biggest mansion in the locality, to buy the latest cars and go on holiday to the most exotic places on the planet and to paint the social media red with flashes of where you are on holiday!

How does such a mentality build a great Zimbabwe? 

How does it transform Zimbabwe? 

When we educate young people such that they are so alienated from their country that they believe the prosperity of a nation is measured by the proliferation of the most expensive goods from all over the world, then we have a major problem. 

We need to overhaul our education system and walk in Chairman Chitepo’s footsteps.


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