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In support of the liberation movements

By Albert Nhamoyebonde
An article in the latest South African Sunday Times makes a mockery of the liberation movements, faulting them for lack of economic development.

What the writer implied was that the politics of the liberation movements was the sole problem of a democratic society which denies all and sundry to share power.

What actually many people do not understand is that the forces that were displaced by the liberation politics are bitter about the loss of power. One may think that it is only the whites who are bitter. Even blacks who benefited from white rule are the leaders of the very campaign to discredit the new liberation parties that are in power by denying them any space to succeed.

Countries that are being targeted are Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Namibia and Angola. Whether these countries conduct free and fair elections from time to time, does not matter. To these negative forces, the ordinary poor people are being promised a pie in the sky by liberation movements. In actual case, the negative forces are saying that these poor people were better off under colonial rule.

If anyone wants to promote any rule by the middle class in the countries, it is impossible since there is no middle class of the blacks that was ever tolerated by the colonial regimes. It has been defined all over the world that a middle class is one where a family of four earns an income of at least US$15 000 to $20 000 a year. Yes, nearly all the whites during colonial times were guaranteed that income.

There was hardly any black who could earn that amount.

Recently, we have been told that Brazil has added about 5 million people into the middle class over 10 years, something that the colonial regimes never tolerated for blacks. Where is the middle class that would take power from the liberation movements in these Sadc countries?

The majority of the population is part and parcel of the liberation movements. The majority of the people were touched by the liberation politics. That is our legacy which no-one can make us forget in a hurry.

The forces that have been mobilised to discredit liberation movements are gathering momentum. The recent tragedy at Marikana platinum mines is being peddled to find fault with ANC government and by extension, the liberation politics. But the ANC does not own those mines where workers live in shanty towns earning millions of dollars for the shareholders.

A case in point is the situation in Zimbabwe where factories have closed down. The Government never interfered with the running of these factories. But the taking of land to distribute it to the blacks, led the factory owners to abandon their businesses. The reason being that they wanted the new political dispensation to fail by all costs. The failure would be blamed on the politics of the liberation movements. If one looks at what has happened to shut down factories but open supermarkets stocked with foreign products, there is no doubt about the intention to make the present governments fail.

When the euphoria of the upheavals in North Africa was being marketed as the recipe for replacing liberation governments, many rubbed their hands expecting the same to happen in our region But what many did not understand was that the upheavals were being driven by Islamists who did not want democracy but theocracy, a rule by mullahs and oppression of women rights.

Is that what the revolution was all about? Contrast that with the politics of the liberation movements which was to empower the landless. To extend free health and universal education, long denied to the majority of the population.

The liberation movements are battling with economic sabotage not only caused by the disgruntled former occupiers of power but by blacks who benefited from the crumbs under the table.

It cannot be denied that building a modern non-racial state from so much inequality is the most taxing battle the new governments have faced. Who do you tax to provide revenue required to meet government expenditure if the economy is deliberately made difficult to perform?

When do you build a new crop of entrepreneurs to take over the management of factories that have been abandoned or shut down? This is why the only business in town is just buying and selling imported goods. Even foreigners are flocking to these countries in the region not to open factories, but to buy and sell. The emerging so-called middle class is spending its money on buying houses, expensive cars and trinkets.

There is hardly any investment in factories to produce goods for the internal and external markets. The very people in power have also succumbed to this development. They are only human. Many who owned these factories have either left the country or are now engaged in the service sector. They are determined not to put their skills and money as they say to prop up this government.

To lose power to govern is the most painful experience any society can go through. The liberation governments are on their own and must put the shoulder to the wheel and uplift the majority of the people. No-one will do it for them.





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