MONDAY, March 18 marks 44 years since Chairman Herbert Chitepo was murdered by the Rhodesians.
Remembering Cde Chitepo is not easy.
It taxes one to be brutally honest about one’s relationship with our ongoing revolution to transform our Zimbabwe into a home; it makes you realise you can never do enough for your country save to work tirelessly without counting the cost, kudakara simba rapera mukufa.
Cde Chitepo abandoned everything for the sake of Zimbabwe. In 1954, he qualified as the first African lawyer, which positioned him into a class of the very few privileged Africans who were materially secure despite the land being under British bondage.
Prestige meant nothing to him though; Zimbabwe meant everything to him. Thus, when assigned by the ZANU leadership, which was then in prison, to lead the armed struggle Cde Chitepo had nothing else to consider but the welfare of Zimbabwe and its people, his kinsmen.
If we would be Zimbabweans after Chitepo’s heart, it behoves us to abandon everything and put Zimbabwe first.
It is our responsibility to educate Zimbabwe’s young to become revolutionaries who will put Zimbabwe above everything else.
Comrade Chitepo loved his country unto death.
Zimbabwe was restored because thousands, young and old, loved it unto death — gladly laying down their lives for it.
Comrade Chitepo did not think twice about abandoning everything to follow a dangerous path, in which death was a certainty.
This character of rising above everything material is what made Rhodesians so desperate to eliminate him.
A character who is above the material presents a problem without a solution to the Western capitalist mind which believes that every man has a price.
But then, Comrade Chitepo had abandoned everything — there is nothing that could entice him; he could not be bought, so they had to kill him to stop him.
They could never confuse him with false ideologies; his ideological clarity left them bewildered and clueless as to what to do with this proud African.
Cde Chitepo knew that without land we had nothing; we would be facing certain death. He rejected the British armed robbers’ notion that we are part of the flora and fauna, underlining that we are sovereigns with our own undisputed space on planet earth.
Indeed land is the crux of the matter; the Lancaster House talks nearly collapsed over the land issue.
And when the British armed robbers would not honour their Lancaster House commitments on land, we took back our land, on our own terms.
Thereafter erupted an unending war against us which included a planned military invasion (which never materialised), sponsorship of a political party (the MDC) to reverse the land issue and a raft of sanctions from Britain itself, the European Union and America.
Cde Chitepo was also crystal clear that we were not fighting an isolated splinter of British imperialism as Ian Smith purported — it was a war against international capital.
He put it across in no uncertain terms:
“We realise that what we are dealing with is not simply racism, but imperialistic exploitation.
The white people who are in Zimbabwe are largely of the post-Second World War generation. They left Europe after the war, to seek greater opportunities, to seek more fortunes, greater status in society which they couldn’t get in their own countries.
It is our determination in the attacks that we have embarked on, to remove that whole structure of society based on corruption, on privilege, on exploitation backed not only by the Rhodesians themselves, but backed by huge international capital.
Zimbabwe’s situation, the settlers there, can and truly should be looked upon really as the immediate local agents of a huge international capitalistic manoeuvre to control and continue to exploit the resources of Zimbabwe.
We are just a natural resource, to be exploited for the benefit of these big companies.
The companies are the biggest influences in America and in various other countries.
If these companies are threatened by the indigenous people, you will no doubt find that their countries will send troops to go and save their so-called properties in these areas.
They want to use the resident white minority as their immediate agents for carrying out their exploitation on their behalf.
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)