Lupane rally and the Banda connection

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ABOUT 160km along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway is where Lupane is situated.
It falls under Matabeleland North Province.
This is where President Robert Mugabe addressed thousands of people last week on Friday at Somhlolo Stadium during the fourth leg of the Presidential Youth Interface Rally.
Previous rallies have been held in Marondera (Mashonaland East), Masvingo and Mutare (Manicaland) while this Saturday (July 29) the President descends on Chinhoyi (Mashonaland West) to meet the youths.
But back to Lupane.
It is estimated that over 40 000 people attended this event and although dubbed ‘Meet the youths’, one could not help but notice the elderly who thronged Somhlolo, not because they were frog-marched, but out of their own volition.
After all, in order for the youths to be the vanguard of the revolution, guidance from the elders is key.
This writer met one Bongani Banda at Somhlolo just before President Mugabe arrived.
Clad in his black suit, white shirt and white shoes, he had travelled from Kezi not just to see the President and to tap into his words of wisdom, but to also show solidarity with the youths who had organised this mega event.
But Banda had an interesting story about how he once left the country for Egoli (South Africa).
He stayed there for a while before realising pastures were not so green on the other side.
The harsh environment did not make things any better and it had to take a lot of courage for him to come back home because he literally had accumulated nothing.
After swallowing his pride and having come back home, said Banda, he realised he had taken his country for granted.
The peace and tranquility that prevails; the unity, regardless of one being Ndebele, Ndau, Shona, Kalanga, Tonga or Venda.
Banda missed even his own spacious homestead back home.
Simply put, Banda missed his land when he was Egoli.
And there are many Bandas out there, both at home and abroad.
The Bandas who, for one reason or another, forget how rich and beautiful Zimbabwe is.
The Bandas who forget that it is their duty to safeguard this God-given land that Cecil John Rhodes and his accomplices had stolen. The Bandas who forget that the likes of King Lobengula, Magwegwe Fuyana, Mkwati, Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi fought tooth and nail against colonialism to reclaim this land.
These are the same Bandas who forget that the whiteman set up a loot committee to steal cattle belonging to the black majority.
The fact that Thomas Meikles (TM) of the current Meikles brand led that committee and that over 262 000 Ndebele cattle were looted by whites soon after King Lobengula was driven out of Bulawayo is actually news to them.
Yes, we have the Bandas who forget that blacks were removed from their fertile lands and dumped in ‘graveyards’ called native reserves such as Matsai, Chinamhora, Shangani, Gwayi, Sengwe, Bikita and Seke while being subjected to forced labour (chibharo).
And at Somlolo, President Mugabe’s clarion call was the need for Zimbabweans to remain united while safeguarding the land.
After all, he said, that is what they (President Mugabe and the late Vice-President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo) agreed on before the latter passed on, on July 1 1999.
Said President Mugabe: “Before Umdhala Wethu (VP Nkomo) passed on, on his bedside when I went to see him, Umdhala uNkomo wathi kimi, two things I want you to observe.
“One, ukubambana.
“Do not lose that virtue, that principle.
“Two, ilizwe lethu.
“Do not let our land go into the hands of the enemy again.
“Ilizwe lethu ngelethu phela.
“So those things are very crucial.
“We must remain united because this is now Zimbabwe.
“Once upon a time ilizwe lethu balithatha amaforeigners and we lost it.
“So we must defend it.
“Those virtues, those objectives we have about ourselves, development objectives, depend first and foremost on our having our land.”
President Mugabe’s words must be a reminder to Zimbabweans that the enemy – the same whites who unwillingly left farms after the Land Reform Programme haven’t let go yet.
The likes of Ben Freeth, Iain Kay and Roy Bennett still long for Rhodesia.
They represent the thousands of Rhodesians around the world pushing for regime change in the hope of returning to Zimbabwe, a country their ancestors said was ‘ideal for the settler’.
And in pushing for regime change, the same whites, through neo-colonialism, have come up with a whole web of activities, using blacks-turned-quislings inside the country to try and topple a constitutionally elected Government.
These quislings are just like the Morrison Nyathis and Abel Muzorewas during the liberation war, who eventually died miserably.
So today, the same whites under the banner of the West are turning to the youths, funding regime change activities in the hope of inducing ‘change’ in Zimbabwe.
Initially they helped form and used puppet parties like all MDCs, but failed.
The illegal sanctions they imposed on the country intending to make the economy ‘scream’ and bring the country to its knees had a detrimental effect, but Zimbabwe is still standing.
They have over the years used NGOs, churches and other institutions in vain.
And of late, they have turned to tertiary and university students, the so-called protest art and social movements in the hope of destabilising the nation as the country heads towards elections next year.
The hullabaloo by groups such as #Tajamuka/Sesijikile, #This Flag, #This Constitution, Nhimbe Trust, Magamba Network, Savanna Trust and even some so-called residents associations, among others, must ring a bell.
Whites have turned to some among us in their bid to ‘return to Rhodesia’, a place they called ‘paradise’.
They miss Nyanga – ‘little England’ as they called it.
So in Lupane as President Mugabe said ‘we must work together and defend it (the country) against the enemy’, one Busibenkosi Mlilo from Lupane retorted: “The only way youths can safeguard the country is by registering to vote in their numbers for President Mugabe and ZANU PF come 2018 because elections are not won on facebook, whatsapp or twitter.
“Elections are won through the ballot.”

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