Zimbabwe is 40years old now, makorokoto Dzimbahwe. We were planning and working on big traditional celebrations maBira across the country but unfortunately the Covid-19 Lockdown disrupted our plans. Our country was liberated from the jaws of Racist White Supremacy colonial rule through armed struggles of the First and Second Chimurenga wars. These wars were initiated by Murenga through Spirit mediums resisting the Whites and their Systems. Young people left Rhodesia to get military training and fought the war which led to a Cease-fire, negotiations an election then lndependence in 1980. .
The young fighters who came back home from war in 1979/80 are referred to as Cdes (vana Mkoma) and War Veterans or maWarVets. Prime Minister RG appointed Cabinet ministers from a pool of his Cdes maWarVets after winning the 1980 lndependence elections as Zanu . He also had a few he appointed from the defeated white supremacist Rhodesians who were allowed to participate in elections after fighting and defeating them in an armed struggle. I always wonder what Murengas comment would be on this issue. A few ZAPU leaders were also made ministers. The first Cabinet of 1980 was composed of the "Founders of Zimbabwe", soldiers though many of them never held the gun but where inprisoned by the Rhodesians for years including RG Mugabe himself. Security and other strategic sectors were also headed by the liberators appointed by RG Mugabe himself. The fate of Zimbabwe was in the hands of this Founders Cooperation (FC) of war detainees and soldiers.
Everyone knows what Zimbabwe has gone through in the past 40years. The best, worst, scandals, sanctions, unemployment, poverty, opposition and corruption. The Founders Co-operation (FC) is still firmly in charge of its colony Zimbabwe. Opposition to the FC first came from one of its members Cde Edgar Tekere who formed a political party named ZUM and lost to the FC in the 19** elections. This was after there had been a serious fallout between ZANU and ZAPU in the FC which led to bloody persecution and arrests of senior ZAPU members including its leader Cde Joshua Nkomo. A genocide of Ordinary Zimbabweans living in the Southern Region was instigated by the Zimbabwean army killing thousands in what is known as Gukurahundi in 1984-6. It was evidently no longer rosy in the FC. In 1987 After Gukurahundi, the two parties in the FC ZANU and ZAPU had a Unity Accord and merged their parties into one called ZANU(PF). Mugabe remained the leader of the country and merged party with Nkomo deputising him in both roles. So much for a merger, feels like submission to a higher authority than equal partnership. The Zimbabwe government was now led by one party.
Mugabe the Founding Father of Zimbabwe from 1980 was very clear on wanting a one party state. A household cannot have more than one father. I watched his video where he addressed Parliament on his vision of a One Party State. I like his reasoning that we can not have opposition for the sake of just opposing. He said it was counter-productive to the Development of the infantile Zimbabwe. He however never shared how others could also be considered to be the fathers of the country or if he was the only eligible father which is what happened till the FC couped him out of the Fathers seat in November 2017. I hope to share a few things about this coup later in this write-up.
The FCs management of its colony continued to unsettle a few in the lower ranks of the ruling party and many who had no credentials to be members of the FC. Those who pursued education (academia) and others too young or not yet born to join the war could never be part of the FC. FC is an elite club remember hakupindwe zvekumhanyaka kumusoro uko. These citizens who were outcasts occupied the Civil Society Space as Trade Unionists-ZCTU, Constitutional-NCA and Student - ZINASU Activists. They are also the Founders of Opposition (FO) and together they decided to challenge the rule of the FC in the 2000 elections. They named their opposition party Movement for Democratic Change(MDC). Its leader was the late Morgan Tsvangirai also the Founding father. Other members of the FO are Chamisa, Gwisai, Madhuku, Komichi, Khupe amongst others.
Founder's syndrome (also founderitis) is the difficulty faced by organizations where one or more founders maintain disproportionate power and influence following the effective initial establishment of the project, leading to a wide range of problems for the organization. The passion and charisma of the founder(s), sources of the initial creativity and productivity of the organization, become limiting or destructive factors. The syndrome occurs in both non-profit and for-profit organizations. It may simply limit further growth and success of the project, or it may lead to bitter factionalism and divisions as the scale of demands made on the organization increases, or it may result in outright failure (Wikipedia).
Cde President Mugabe was couped by members of his FC and replaced by his right hand man ED Mnangagwa. FC members who were loyal to Mugabe were expelled from the party whilst others went into exile. Mugabe had allowed his wife and young members of the party whom he had appointed Cabinet ministers to have too much control of the party and government. They called themselves G40 which is a young generation that didn't go to war thus not part of the Founding fathers, not Cdes and not maWarVets. Mugabe was now ruling the country with these Young Turks and his wife Grace challenged, provoked the Old Guard of the FC. The very old Mugabe had abandoned his Cdes and seemed set to give the leadership of the country to G40. The FC felt threatened from power and had to act or be dumped; indeed they acted and restored their hold on the reigns of Zimbabwe. The millitary, opposition, churches, activists and urbanites were used to settle this generational dispute. SB Moyo on TV Live during the Coup said, "the President is safe, we are targeting criminals surrounding him". Kkkkkk laughing out loud, the criminal elements were his wife Grace and her allies called G40 like Kasukuwere, Jonathan and Zhuwao. Their crime was belonging to their generation and wanting to unsurp power from the Founders of Zimbabwe. When the pro-coup characters assembled in Highfields to march to the State House, a reminder was publicly bellowed out by one of the FC members Cde Patrick Chinamasa. He said, "lchi Chinhu Chedu" meaning this was their fight to restore their state power and they were not sharing that power with anyone outside the FC. Kkkkk what a kick in the loins of opposition elements who were looking forward to a Government of National Unity with ZANU PF. Meanwhile, The FC Founding vision and missions are yet to be achieved 40years after lndependence and the centre of power remains the same FC.
Founderitis runs deep in Zimbabwe. In 1997, WarVets demanded compensation from Mugabes government and threatened to unseat him. They were led by Chenjerai Hunzi and went through some vetting and damages evaluation. Unbudgeted for and without any source of funding, they awarded each other $50000 and more on disability compensation. Some claimed 100% disability whilst they were ministers. The Zimbabwe dollar took the toll and never recovered. They invaded White owned farms, settled on some whilst looting from others. They get monthly and fees allowances for their children. Recently, they demanded to have their own development bank; be given 60% of the land in Zimbabwe and 30% of all Civil jobs to be reserved for their children. All this has been and must be done because they liberated Zimbabwe, they are the founders of the Nation. Their famous mantra is, "We died for this Country". These people ran down the farms they acquired, run and ran down Parastatal like National Railways of Zimbabwe which was led by one WarVet Retired soldier Karakadzai. They own large tracts of land, own several mansions, are filthy rich and their children control the Black Market. I could name and shame one son of the leaders of WarVets who is the Kingpin of the Black market in Mutare. I am angry because they have bled the country without a conscience, profiting from the labours of a starving and disenfranchised people just because they went to War!!!
I can sum this up by saying that, Zimbabwes growth and development is now being chocked by its Liberators, the Cdes, the Founders Corporation. The disease is real and we can't fault them outright as it is normal for founders to expect lifetime control, respect and rewards.
In my next piece, l will share on the Opposition body in Zimbabwe and how Foundiritis has not spared it making it an equally doomed project.
Tendayi Lynnette Mudehwe is an Activist
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