Defending land and land reform in Zimbabwe: Part Four


PART Three of The Chimurenga Protocol is appropriately sub-titled, ‘Operation Mwana wevhu’.
The phrase ‘Mwana wevhu’ means ‘child of the soil’.
We now know from the previous instalments that ‘Operation Mawana wevhu’ is the code name for the operation to retrieve the ‘protocol’ and bring Chamunorwa to book for his act of treasonous sabotage against the state.
To this end, the code name is synonymous with waging a new war against renewed British imperialist treachery.
However, in Part Three of the novel, the same phrase invites us to review matters of the matrices and dynamics of identity in Africa and in Zimbabwe in particular.
Perhaps a better understanding of the politics of identity in Africa can be conceived from Ali Mazrui’s categorisation of identity in Africa.
Mazrui refers to the Arabs in North Africa as, ‘the continental African of the soil’, and to the indigenous peoples of Africa as ‘sons of the soil and sons of Africa’s racial blood’.
What is apparent in this categorisation of all-inclusivity; however, is a conscious attempt to accommodate the Arabs, understandably because Mazrui himself is of Arabic descent.
Wim van Binsbergen is therefore spot-on when he challenges the inclusion of Arabs as Africans, arguing that such a conception of Africa is simply a geopolitical construct that robs those who historically and metaphysically identify with Africa as their most central identity.
This observation indeed coincides with Mazrui’s own unmistaken realisation that true ‘African-ness’ is a matter of blood identity and historical, racial and cultural rootedness.
Chinua Achebe further disambiguates African identity when he stresses that Africa, “is not only a geographical expression; (but that) it is also a metaphysical landscape …in fact, a view of the world and of the whole cosmos perceived from a particular position.”
Achebe further elucidates that, properly understood, Africa is a spiritual space which cannot be experienced by an outsider, but by those who have a legitimate physical and spiritual origin in Africa.
In other words, Achebe emphasises that besides biological or genetic rootedness, African identity derives principally from the African sensibility, the African worldview, which in fact should be the subject of both history and creative narration.
Achebe also argues that every literature must, “speak of a particular place; evolve out of necessities of its history, past and current, and the aspirations and destiny of its people.”
This is the reality that explains identity in the racial geopolitics of colonial and post-colonial Zimbabwe.
The latter sense of African identity is the one espoused by Mtizira in Part Three of the novel.
Mwana wevhu is not everyone born in Africa, but one who is African in terms of both genetics and sensibility.
Mwana wevhu is Inspector Magura.
Mwana wevhu is Sergeant Shakespeare.
Mwana wevhu is Rudo.
Mwana wevhu is the Chief.
Mwana wevhu is the anonymous soldier who represents all of us, patriots and revolutionaries.
And the epitome of Mwana wevhu is the President himself.
Mwana wevhu is a fitting jacket for all the patriots who have erased the word ‘surrender’ from their dictionaries of the revolution against the die-hard imperialists.
Again in this section of the novel, we find a superb blend between climax and anti-climax, the infusion between history and fiction, and between content and form, all subsumed in the continuing journey motif.
There are journeys of self-discovery as well as journeys of retrogression. Magura’s physical journey takes him to Professor Lee in Hong Kong and to Vic Falls where he meets his Nemesis, Chamunorwa.
This is where Chamunorwa’s physical and emotional journeys of retrogression take him to meet his unfortunate death; thus marking the climax of the action. Vic Falls is also the rendezvous of the mercenary pilot of Imperial Airways as well as the place of final epiphany for Magura.
Here most pieces come together, leaving only one last enigma about the location of the protocol.
The most important revelation comes through Magura’s spiritual and intellectual journeys materialise into a high level of consciousness which later radiates contagiously to his latter audiences including our entire readership.
After the retrieval of the protocol from Africa Unity Square, Magura becomes the centre of illumination.
Through him, we learn of the Western manipulation of the media to divert the world’s attention from the real success of land reform in Zimbabwe.
The readers’ nagging suspense about the protocol is finally untangled as the enigma around it finally unwinds.
The dawn of epiphany brings with it the realisation that the title of the novel itself is ironic.
We realise that the protocol is far from being revolutionary; rather it is an anti-liberation and anti-Chimurenga conspiracy to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle and to thwart the success of the land reform.
It is a secret document outlining a secret pact by the British and their co-conspirators, the Americans and the Australians to hijack the land reform.
We learn from Magura that: “The protocol is based on the model that the imperialists employed to get a similar lease over the territory of Hong Kong from China in 1898.” (240).
The sinister purpose of the protocol is finally exposed: “the protocol set out the aims and objectives of the governments that signed up to it … the British, American and Australian governments.” (238-9).
This revelation brings the novel to a didactic conclusion which is achieved by drawing lessons from the anti-heroic betrayal of our fugitive.
Although Magura observes well that Chamunorwa’s defection was a result of making the wrong choice in a moral dilemma pitting his health against the sovereignty of the country he has served so well, the enormity of the consequences of returning the protocol makes mitigation a non-stater. Chamunorwa forgets that the secret document back in the hands of the imperialists would give the British a major diplomatic and psychological coup on a silver platter.
However, when one realises through dramatic irony that the promise to cure the incurable disease was another characteristic forgery of the West, one is bound to spare some sympathy to this fallen son-of-the-soil for trading all his revolutionary contribution for the proverbial castle in the air, double-duped by the “treacherous purveyors of bad tidings.”
To this end, Chamunorwa becomes a classical warning to future generations to beware the pythonic wiles these never-die imperialist impostors.
Magura blows the siren of vigilance when he counsels: “Zimbabweans should beware of imperialists bearing gifts.
“Our land is alive with Trojan horses seeking to undermine our aspirations and hard-won gains.
“There are travellers who walk with imperialists, either genuinely unaware or deliberately working with the dark forces of imperialism and their secret societies.” (24304). VIGILANCE!


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