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Dear Cde Linda Masarira.
I know we have never met but l believe you have had about me. Just in case you have never had about me, am one of those comrades who were instrumental in the formation of the MDC in 1999. I come from the leftist tradition. I must admit, l am a student of Karl Marx and Lenin. When you were part of those who occupied Africa Square in Harare, l saw you as a brave activist who needed revolutionary training in Marxist -Leninist philosophy. This was the advice given to us by one of our great revolutionaries Che Guevara when he said, “one of the things that young people must do, is to learn”. Am sure you have leant a lot in the last two days or so following your utterances in Harare. Mine is not to join those calling for your head, but to offer you advice.
You see Cde Linda, we must separate a demonstration from a revolutionary act. Not all public demonstrations are revolutionary in character. Some take part in demonstrations to attract donor funding while others do it for a just cause.Your activism at Africa Unity Square was an act of bravery but not revolutionary in nature. A revolution by its very nature, is the removal of the old order and the ushering in of a new order.
But what is this new order that we are talking about as revolutionaries? Firstly, we are engaged in a struggle against imperialism and the National bourgeois. I will explain these two (imperialism and National bourgies in simple terms). You will know (hope you have read our history correctly) that Mashonaland was colonised in 1890 and Matabeleland was colonised in 1893. I will not give you reasons why Mashonaland and Matabeleland were colonised separately ,neither will l address the bravery demonstrated by the Ndebele warriors as they fought the British colonisers in 1893 which you might have read as the Ndebele war of 1893 from your history books. Neither will l bore you with details of the Ndebele uprising of 1896 from March to October and how Rhodes called out to the Ndebele warriors for a ceasefire. The place where Rhodes called for ceasefire in October 1896 is located in my rural district known as the Rhodes Indaba site. You will know that , Rhodes and his kith and kin could not move their weaponry from Cape Town to Mzinyathini ,the battleground of the 1896 uprising because of the rain which made it difficult for them to move their wagons.
You will also know that the two states, which today constitute Zimbabwe (Mashonaland and Matebeleland ) were amalgamated in 1923 through what is called the Order In Council. My interest in chronicling this history, is not meant to give you a history lecture, but in making you understand the nature of our struggle. As an activist, it is important for you to understand our past as this past will guide you to the future. Without this past, you will easily utter what you did in Harare when you said that, the people of Matabeleland are cowards.
I have gone through your utterances and have read your response where you seek to “correct” your statement. I nearly believed you, until l saw statements from #tajamuka/sisijikisile and Crisis Coalition distancing themselves from your utterances . It is then that l thought l should write to you. Am writing this open letter because it is clear, that there are some who hold the same view as you, but they are not brave enough to come out in the open.
In your response , you allege that your colleagues from Matabeleland , whom you worked with at the National Railways of Zimbabwe would not participate in the workers struggle and therefore they are cowards. Historically, the workers struggle at the railways has always been in Bulawayo dating back to the railways strike in 1912 or even earlier than that. There have been many workers struggles located in Matebeleland during the colonial era , particularly in Bulawayo and Hwange (Wankie) all the way through the famous 1997 -1998 workers strikes as led by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. A little study on the workers struggles before and after independence would have assisted you a lot. We are told that you said that the people of Matebeleland are cowards , soon after Pastor A T Sibanda of Bulawayo had made a presentation and spoke about the challenges in Matabeleland. Unfortunately Cde Linda, you seem not follow the political events in Matabeleland.
Since you are not aware of the daily struggles of the people in Matabeleland, let me assist you. The ZANU (PF) fascist regime offered a farm in the district of Matobo called Maleme ranch to a Central Intelligence Organisation operative. The Maleme ranch has over the years benefited thousands of young people in and around Matobo with agricultural skills. When the CIO operative went to evict families from the ranch, the community stood its ground. The villagers, the local traditional leaders , civil society leaders in and around Bulawayo, the diaspora community worked together to defend the ranch. We saw unity in action by those in the village, urban centres and practical solidarity given to the people of Maleme by those in the diaspora who sent in resources, just as they did when you were in jail. The people of Maleme refused to be “cry babies” as you put it but they engaged in a defiance campaign until the regime had to withdraw the offer letter. Pastor A T Sibanda was part of the leadership that coordinated the defiance campaign. This was in 2015 before some of us knew about you Cde Linda. So for you to say that people from Matabeleland region are cowards, it boggles the mind.
Earlier on l said we are engaged in a struggle against imperialism and National bourgeoisie as we seek to build a democratic and socialist Zimbabwe. Let me explain this to you in simple terms, imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism. Imperialist by their nature are only interested in looting our natural resources. When the imperialist discover that they are prevented from looting our resources by the ruling party, they pour financial resources to some Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) and some opposition parties to effect regime change. This money poured to some NGOs and some political parties is not accounted for. The imperialist are ready to “reward” those that are seen as leading the regime change agenda project. Anyone who benefits from this should never view imperialist as friends. Theirs is to install a new regime that will advance its agenda not only in Zimbabwe but in the 3rd World. A true revolutionary must reject the imperialist agenda.
As revolutionaries, we must declare war against the National Bourgeoisie. The National Bourgeoisie by its nature present itself as anti imperialist and patriotic. Theirs is to block the imperialists from looting our resources while they loot for themselves in the name of patriotism and anti imperialism. The looting of our diamonds in Chiadzwa, in the DRC and elsewhere bare the footprints of the National Bourgeoisie. President Mugabe and his party are seen as progressive and revolutionary by some in the 3rd World in the manner in which they denounce imperialism. It is our revolutionary duty to expose them for who they are. The question is; how can those who were created by imperialist in the first place be their enemies today? The answer is simple, the imperialist propel you to the top and once done with you,they will always find a new stooge. Just check what they did with Mabuto of Zaire and Savimbi of Angola.
Unless you have a grasp of this Cde Linda, you will always fail to understand the causes of the marginalisation of the people of Matebeleland and other minorities. The oppressor is good at dividing the working class by raising the tribal card as you have done. The oppressor wants you to believe that, your tribe is superior than the other. The moment you view society through the oppressors lenses ,you destroy the very unity that is needed in driving out the oppressor. The comrades from Matabeleland both in Zimbabwe and in the Diaspora feel let down by your utterances . This plays in the hands of the fascist regime in Harare which seeks to divide us along tribal lines. Our division will weaken the broad democratic movement whose revolutionary task is to build a democratic and fair Zimbabwe, while these political thugs continue to loot our resources. It will take time for us to build trust within the #social movements following your utterances. Instead of us developing strategies of dislodging this regime, we are now spending time flooding social media with messages trying to get sense of your utterances.
What you need to understand Cde Linda is that, our society is not divided between tribes but is divided in two classes, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie controls the State, it uses State apparatus to oppress the proletariat. Lenin taught us that, “the state is a centralised organisation of force separated from the community as a whole which enforces, through special bodies of armed people and other institutions of coercion, the will of one class, or an alliance of classes , upon the rest of society.” He further explained, “the state is the organ of defence of the interests of the economically dominant class, that is, the class that owns the decisive means of production”. Cde Linda, as a person who spent time in prison, you know better how the regime used state apparatus to keep you separated from your family and comrades. You were not arrested because you are of Shona tribe, but because your actions were seen as a threat by the regime. While you were in prison, Grace Mugabe was busy shopping for a $1.3 million diamond ring. If the majority of Zimbabweans had joined you in the Occupy Square movement, Grace Mugabe would not have had a chance to shop as the country was going to be ungovernable. As you will know Cde Linda, there is no revolution without theory. The very reason why the majority of Zimbabweans did not join you, it’s because you and others ignored this revolutionary principle. Theory is critical in a revolution hence l said, your demonstration was not a revolutionary act.
In conclusion Cde Linda, l invite you and your comrades in the #tajamuka/sesijikisile movement to join the Marxist study groups. This will sharpen your mind and help you in analysing society from a Marxist -Leninist perspective. It is only those comrades who are schooled in Marxist – Leninist philosophy who will work towards the unity of the working class in our society and overthrow this regime that had caused so much suffering to the people.
I hope you do not mind me writing to you this open letter, please share with your comrades. Hope to hear from you soon.
Yours in struggle
Cde Ngqabutho Nicholas Mabhena
Contact: +27 83 340 1000
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
NB – pls circulate!