INDEPENDENCE has lost meaning because Zimbabweans are suffering more under black rule than they used to under the racist Rhodesian regime, says Thomas Mapfumo.
The Chimurenga music guru said this in an interview with Newzimbabwe.com in the UK after he successfully held shows to celebrate Zimbabwe’s 36 years of independence from Britain.
The US-based legend said while it was correct to celebrate political independence it was sad to note that people had become poorer than they were during the colonial era.
“Our country has gone to the dogs and that’s why we have so many people in the Diaspora. We are even worse than yesterday.
“When we were under colonial rule yes people were suffering because of racism and things like but they were living a good life but today under our own government and a black leader our people are suffering even more than they used to then,” said Mapfumo.
He added, “Yesterday Zimbabwe was the bread basket of Africa but today we have been reduced to beggars.”
Mapfumo was, however, quick to say the situation was also bad continent wide because all African countries were in turmoil due to wars, poverty and xenophobia.
“Africa is in chaos, we are not united throughout Africa,” he said.
On last week’s demonstration which saw thousands of people heeding calls to march against poverty and corruption, Mapfumo said it was a sign that the MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was prepared to stand by the people and guide them.
“In my last public statement about Zimbabwe I was critical of Tsvangirai. But what he showed last week was really good. That is what a leader must do.
“A good leader is one who stands by the people; you must be firm and stand up. You must not fear. Be prepared to die for the people. This is what happened to Nelson Mandela. He did that in South Africa and went to prison but when he came out he became the president,” said Mapfumo.
Tsvangirai last week led thousands in what the MDC-T said was the “mother of all marches” protesting against plunder of state resources. The protest was triggered by revelations by Mugabe that as much as $15 billion of revenue from diamond sells was unaccounted for.
Mapfumo said it was a “disgrace” that Mugabe would admit to such levels of corruption.
“Well, it is a disgrace that you hear a leader of a country saying we have lost more than 15 billion dollars to corruption. When they come out to say that it means it’s not only $15 billion; it’s more than that,” said Mapfumo.Advertisement
“Why did we lose 15 billion? Let me tell you why. In 2008 we held an election and Tsvangirai won but did the worst thing, running away to Botswana. He should have just stood firm and said I am the president and I am the new leader.
“He then entered into that stupid deal (Unity Government) with Mugabe. But all they didn’t want was for Tsvangirai to be the leader because they didn’t want him to have access to the diamonds,” said Mapfumo.
The Chimurenga music guru dismissed former vice president Joyce Mujuru, saying she was not credible because she was part of the oppressive regime for too long to be genuine this time around.
“ …there is no hope there. What is needed today is a new crop of young leaders with fresh minds; leaders who are focused.”