This week Cain Mathema in his book Why the West and its MDC stooges want Zimbabwe’s Defence and Security Forces reformed says Rhodes gave large tracts of land and money to the Anglicans, the Roman Catholics, the Seventh Day Adventists, the Dutch Reformed Church, the Methodists, the Salvation Army and the Brothren In Christ. He says these churches all participated in the looting of land and other natural resources and they all participated in the dispossession of the black population.
THE ‘pioneers’ were made up of young white men who (having obviously failed to make it in South Africa or wherever) wanted to get rich quickly and they were prepared to die for it, and, indeed, many died for it.
Accompanying the ‘pioneers’ was a squadron of 400 mounted men, commanded by Colonel Pennefather.
Beach (1995) describes the ‘pioneers’ as a heavily-armed British column.
Meanwhile, the British army in Botswana (where the king of the BaNgwato had been convinced by the British to invite the latter to protect his rule against the Ndebele in the east of his country, that is how Bechuanaland, today’s Botswana, became a British protectorate) was kept on standby to militarily assist the ‘pioneers’ when the need arose.
“In the two years following the granting of the Charter, Rhodes sent more and more of his messengers to work on Lobengula.
“In 1890, Dr Starr Jameson spent four months negotiating with Lobengula to grant safe passage to the Pioneer Column.
“At the same time as he was amassing a large reserve force on the border of what was then known as Bechuanaland (Botswana).
“This force was ready to go to the assistance of the pioneers should the need arise,” (Gazi, 2004).
There was no white woman or child in the ranks of the ‘pioneers’ until 1891.
The soldiers accompanying the ‘pioneers’ were the nucleus of the brutal Rhodesian defence and security forces, part of these forces were chaplains.
“When the Pioneer Column set off for Mashonaland in 1890, the Jesuit missionary, Fr. Andrew Hartmann, accompanied it as Chaplain.
“Canon Balfour of the Anglican Diocese of Bloemfontein also accompanied the Pioneer Column as Chaplain,” (Zvobgo, 1996).
Let us also remember that this was not the first time the Western church was involved in the steps towards the colonisation of the country – the missionaries, including Robert Moffat, had been at it a long time before; and the missionaries, John Moffat and Charles Helm for instance, had been part of the teams that negotiated with King Lobengula for the Moffat Treaty and the Rudd Concession — some of the documents that Rhodes used, whichever way, to enable him to be granted the Charter in the first place; but as we also know, these documents were actually fraudulent as the King did not know what their contents were, the priests however, swore by their god that the King should not fear at all.
Yet again we also know that priests like Silveira of the Portuguese had been at the game centuries before in the 16th century when they did their best to assist the Portuguese colonialists in trying to colonise the Munhumutapa Empire.
It is not by accident that I am saying ‘the Western church’.
This is so because while some Christians left Palestine for Europe, some remained in Palestine while others found their way into countries like Egypt and Ethiopia in Africa as they were persecuted by Rome and followers of Judaism in Palestine. It is those Christians who went to Europe who eventually became part of colonialism and racist as their part of the Christian belief became adopted as the state religion in Europe and was used by the ruling classes in different European countries to enslave peasants and workers in that continent.
As we can see, the Western church was clearly part of the Rhodesian state, both to spiritually strengthen the ‘pioneers’ and the soldiers accompanying them, as well as to destroy spiritually and physically the black people.
One therefore must not play with the British ruling class; it kills you both ways — spiritually and physically.
To whet the appetites of the columnists, each ‘trooper’s pay’ was seven shillings and six pence (7s 6d) per day.
But each man was promised that on arrival, he would be allowed to mark out a three thousand acre (1 200 hectare) farm and peg up to 15 gold mines.
They were promised these large pieces of land in a country which was not theirs!
Even the company that promised them did not own the country or the land!
But then these were looters of other people’s resources and wealth!
After all they had been used to it in Europe where they had violently dispossessed the peasants and turned them into wage workers.
And they went on a land grab immediately they got into the country as they created a trail of military forts from Fort Tati to Fort Victoria (Masvingo), Fort Charter (Chivhu), up to Fort Salisbury (Harare).
Fort Salisbury was named after the British Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, at the time.
All these forts were built on land that was forcibly taken away from the people.
The whole country became property of the British South Africa Company, with Dr Starr Jameson as the administrator – he was the head of government and ran the country as he saw fit in the interest of the BSAC, and he reported directly to Rhodes.
Using his army and laws (orders in Council) Jameson started dispossessing the people of their resources, particularly their land, and imposed taxes on them.
The Order in Council of May 1891 partly said the British High Commissioner was given all “powers and jurisdiction which Her Majesty, at any time before or after the date of this Order, and particularly from time to time by proclamation of justice, the raising of revenue, and generally for the peace, order, and good government of all persons within the limits of this Order,” (Chigwedere, 2001).
From Fort Salisbury the ‘pioneers’ “radiated to all corners of the country to choose their free farms and to peg their gold claims in terms of their contracts.
“Although each free farm was supposed to be 3 000 acres, proper survey was not yet possible and each one put beacons around whatever piece of land he thought he could manage.
“Whatever land was not selected by these people became unalienated land which all belonged to the Company.
“So then, in one fell swoop, all the Africans in Mashonaland lost their right to land.
“There were two categories of land in the country – private land assigned to the volunteers and the unalienated land, but which belonged to the Company,” (Chigwedere, 2001).
This was land taken by force from its owners, and it happened right across the country.
Cattle and other livestock were also taken away from the people by force.
In what the Company and the white racist settlers called Matabeleland, more than 500 000 cattle were confiscated by the Company and the white racist settlers.
Even gold mines were forcibly taken away and given to the Company and the racist settlers, the racist colonists.
Blacks found themselves slaves in their own country; they were driven out of the best land everywhere in the country.
The best land was taken by the Company, the white settlers and the churches.
Rhodes gave large tracts of land and money to all the white churches (that is, the Anglicans, the Roman Catholics, the Seventh Day Adventists, the Dutch Reformed Church, the Methodists, the Salvation Army, the Brothren In Christ – they all participated in the looting of the land and other natural resources, they all participated in the dispossession of the black population.