“WHERE are we to live when it’s over? 

The white man claims all the land?” 

Rhodes replied at once: “We will give you settlements. 

“We will set apart locations for you: we will give you land.” 

The young chief shouted angrily: “You will give us land in our country? 

“That’s good of you!” 

The young chief was holding his gun menacingly towards Rhodes to which Rhodes objected.” (The Second Indaba Matopos: August 28 1896)

When we laid down our ‘rifles’ in 1979, the whiteman thought we had died or gone to sleep. 

He stopped paying attention to what he had committed to at Lancaster; that he would compensate his kith and kin, not us. 

So, when we repossessed our land, the whiteman waged war on us. 

The whiteman wanted to rob us of our land, as in 1890, but South Africa, which they had asked to use as a base to invade us once again, refused. 

Thabo Mbeki, the then President of South Africa, would not betray his kith and kin. 

The then British Prime Minister Tony Blair accused us of ‘violent seizure of white-owned farms’, conveniently ‘forgetting’ that the British murdered thousands of Zimbabweans in order to seize that land.

“Where are we to live when it’s over?” is the question which caused thousands of young Zimbabweans to abandon everything for the armed struggle to ensure that the land stolen by the whiteman would be restored to us and everyone in this sacred land would have somewhere productive to live as ordained by Musikavanhu. 

The whiteman thought he could dismiss this question of the young Ndebele chief; ‘there was nowhere to live when it was all over’. 

The whiteman thought the land and its people had gone to sleep — even their God!

He continued to make promulgations which, over the next 90 years, would strip the African, the owner of this land, of every right to this land, his inalienable heritage. 

Only two months after this young chief had asked this question which underlined the whole basis for confronting the whiteman, Earl Grey, the Administrator for Rhodesia who took over from Leander Jameson wrote:

“I wish to take this opportunity of recognising the readiness with which private owners have come to my assistance by placing their farms at the disposal of the Administration for the temporary location of natives. After the coming harvest is reaped should the natives desire to remain in occupation of villages located on private property, it will be necessary with the assistance of the Native Commissioners to agree with the private owners as to the terms on which they shall be allowed to remain as tenants upon the land.”

Rhodes ‘forgot’ he had said he would give them land; they were now to live as tenants paying rent to the white robber, subject to summary evictions without compensation. 

A salutary lesson – there was to be no compensation.

“Every person will be protected from having his property compulsorily acquired except when the acquisition is in the interest of … When property is wanted foar one of these purposes, its acquisition will be lawful only on condition that the law provides for the prompt payment of adequate compensation.” ( Lancaster House Conference Paper no.19).

Our land was violently, compulsorily acquired without compensation. 

However, this land which the British compulsorily acquired without compensation cannot be restored to its owners without these owners, who have shed their own blood to redeem that theft of the land, paying compensation to the robbers.

This is the demand the British put on the table at the beginning of the

The British robbed without compunction and took without compensating. 

In fact, after taking their land and mines, they condemned Africans to work for them on the lands and in the mines they had stolen from them by force of arms. 

Even after those who had been robbed defeated them in battle, they insisted they should compensate them.

This is the predator psyche, the psyche of the dispossessor; it does not recognise that anyone has any rights but the predator. 

The very act of robbing anyone says the victim has no rights whatsoever.

Thus, what was violently, compulsorily acquired without compensation cannot be restored compulsorily and without compensation, the predator rules!

Naturally, the triumphant sons and daughters of the land rejected the insidious notion that they should pay for land that had been violently stolen from them and for which they had paid so heavily in blood. 

It was never just that so many had to perish because of theft but the robber was armed so had to be confronted with arms; thus incurring untold suffering and loss of life.

Ultimately, the British, their European and American kith and kin undertook to compensate their white relatives, the Rhodesians. 

We were not appeased, but, with sovereignty, the ball would be in our court.

What was most urgent was to end the suffering of our people, to end the war.

The predator psyche can never be at peace except in pursuit of its insatiable greed.

The Rhodesians were happy and content to rob the Africans of land, livestock, minerals, labour of their hands, to strip them to the bone by every means but right now they insist restitution should be made to the owners of the land which they stole and used for their own benefit for 90 years. 

Nothing should be restored to Africans; it is all banditry, looting and land grabbing, it is all criminal, they cry! 

Whenever it benefits the Africans it is criminal, but whenever it benefits the whites, it is lawful!

In a discussion on the Zimbabwe land issue in January this year on Al Jazeera, it was reported that white farmers trash  the over US$400 million they have so far received as compensation as ‘paltry’, demanding they are owed billions for having taken all the best land in the country, all the cattle in the land, all the minerals, every form of wealth in the land and benefitting of it for  at least 90 years to the exclusion of the owners of the land? 

This defies logic!


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