Cde Chitepo and ideology of the liberation struggle


MARCH 18 is Cde Herbert Pfumaindini Chitepo Day, a very special day for Zimbabwe.
It is the day a great son of Zimbabwe, who made the supreme sacrifice for his country, died.
Cde Chitepo, in 1954, became the first African lawyer in our Zimbabwe which was then under British bondage.
Instead of using his qualifications and status as a lawyer and one of the few privileged elite Africans, he dedicated his life to the liberation struggle, living an extremely dangerous life, defending revolutionary icons such as Cde Simon Muzenda in the whiteman’s courts.
He was elected the first Chairman of ZANU when it was formed in 1963.
After the arrest of most of the ZANU leaders in 1966, he left for Zambia from where he was to direct the liberation war.
Between 1966 and 1975, he worked tirelessly to organise the liberation war; the opening of the north-eastern frontier in 1972, the concept of a people’s war which saw the guerillas and the people of Zimbabwe fight as one were some of his very great achievements.
Under his direction, the Second Chimurenga war was making great strides.
Where was Cde Chitepo’s ideology?
What was his ideology and what legacy did he bequeath to the liberation forces and to Zimbabweans to date?
The ideology he bequeathed us did not come from books and did not emanate from his qualifications as a lawyer, but from his life.
The way he fulfilled his commitment to Zimbabwe is what described his ideology.
Rhodesians haunted his life day and night.
They wanted his life.
They desperately hunted this force that was relentlessly guiding the liberation struggle.
As the late Cde Alexander Kanengoni observed: “There has not been a killing of a black nationalist that Rhodesian whites wanted to claim more than that of Chitepo.
They were aware of the critical role that Chitepo played in designing the war that destroyed their privileged way of life. Many Rhodesians wished they were the ones (who) had killed him. (The Patriot: 2016)
The Rhodesians were desperate to eliminate him. Cde Chitepo knew they were gunning for him. To say his life was in danger is an understatement. Rhodesians murdered him on March 18 1975.
His life describes an incredible ideology of commitment to free Zimbabwe at whatever cost.
We do not learn the ideology of Zimbabwe from books, but in the revolutionary lives of all those who fought and sacrificed everything to free Zimbabwe.
Whatever Cde Chitepo wrote, taught or did emanated from his great love for Zimbabwe.
You do not learn to love and dedicate yourself to your country unto death from books. It comes from your heart, from your consciousness.
Thus we learn from the many Zimbabweans who sacrificed their lives for Zimbabwe; cooking for the combatants, providing them with clothing, medicines and military intelligence.
They loved their Zimbabwe and fought hand-in-glove with the freedom fighters.
They, like Cde Chitepo, knew they could be killed anytime.
They watched family and friends killed or incarcerated but they still fought on, until final victory.
This is where we read the ideology of Zimbabwe.
We read it in the bosom of each fighter who woke up every morning, knowing that this day could be his/her last.
It is the ideology of self-sacrifice; loving your country and your people more than yourself.
This is the ideology of Zimbabwe.
Three weeks ago, I was talking to Matare, Cde Josiah Tongogara’s niece.
She was a little girl when Cde Tongo came in his red car to their homestead to tell his brother (Matare’s father) that he was leaving for the struggle.
His brother asked Cde Tongo whether he truly believed he could defeat the whiteman, warning him that he would not survive. Cde Tongo replied: “Where I leave off, others will continue.”
He knew Zimbabwe’s day might never dawn while he was still alive, but that was not the issue.
He did not fight so that one day he would benefit, but fought to end the oppressor’s rule in his motherland, to end the oppression and exploitation of his fellow Zimbabweans.
It was an ideology of self-sacrifice.
When we remember Cde Chitepo, when we remember our revolutionary icons, this is the foremost ideological tenet. Kuzvipira zvachose.
Cde Chitepo taught that the revolution is about the land:
“It is about land because land is the thing on which you live.
You build your house on it; you get your food from it.
Life is sustained on the land, and without it, you are really facing death.”
This is the ideology of Mbuya Nehanda, King Lobengula and all those who died fighting against the British armed robbers who had come from England to rob them of their land and wealth.
They knew very well that without their land they were doomed. They chose to die fighting than to be enslaved in the land of their birth. It is not about an esoteric, mystical love for your country, it is about real heart-breaking love of your country which moves you to defend it with your all.
Cde Chitepo did not just teach that the struggle is about land, he defended that land with his very own life.
What Mbuya Nehanda and her First Chimurenga compatriots recognised and what comrades Chitepo and Tongogara recognised was that the enemy had to be confronted militarily. They accurately identified the nature of the enemy.
It is also what the liberation forces recognised when they waged the Third Chimurenga and freed the land.
Having been defeated in the Second Chimurenga, the white menace would not vacate the land. The land had to be taken by force. The enemy that confronted Zimbabwe in 1890 is still the same one that confronts us in 2018.
It is the tactics which change but the bone of contention is the same — control of Zimbabwe’s wealth. This calls for permanent vigilance.
Thus taught Nehanda then, thus still says Cde Chitepo today: “Tora gidi uzvitonge.”
It is an ideology that correctly identifies the enemy, and the correct way to deal with that enemy.
When our young ask what all the fuss was/is about, when they claim that Lancaster House and not the gruelling armed struggle brought Zimbabwe home, our ideological compass is malfunctioning.
Cde Chitepo correctly identified Rhodesia’s loot economy as an extension of international capital.
A correct understanding of the country’s political economy was essential.
White monopoly capital was sucking the nation’s wealth and liberation entailed dismantling this.
Patrice Lumumba paid the price for protecting the wealth of the Congo from international capital, so did Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and so did Cde Chitepo.
They were killed because they protected their nations’ wealth from the marauding capitalist robbers from the West.
“Tinoda Zimbabwe neupfumi hwayo hwose,” sang the combatants during the liberation struggle.
They were prepared to protect this demand with their very own lives.
They perished at Nyadzonia, Chimoio, Mboroma, Mkushi, and many other places at home and abroad.
Without ideological clarity about international capital, the gains of the liberation struggle quickly dwindle as the country is reduced to looters and plunderers’ paradise.


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