Liberation movements are sinking one by one

SA Out-going President Cyril Ramaphosa casting his vote in Soweto


By Luke Tambolinyoka

Mbare-bred Killer T’s trending lyrical verse, Kana Ndanyura , is a love song by a love-smitten dude sunk deep in endearment who is exhorting the world not to intrude and spoil his amorous tryst.

But though etched on the music market as a romantic ballad, this piece will use Kana Ndanyura as a mournful lamentation by the tumbling and sinking political tribe of former liberation movements whose massive support base has dwindled in a massive way by dint of performance illegitimacy.

The plummeting electoral fortunes of the ANC over the weekend and the general falling support for fellow liberation movements in the region such as Zanu PF and others gives a sinking feeling of kunyura in the literal sense.

These liberation movements have been at the epicentre of the failure of the post-colonial African State and their political fortunes are now literally sinking in successive elections as voters serially reject them at the polls.

Kunyura is a Shona word which means sinking or falling..

Though for Killer T the word is used in a smitten sense by one who has fallen in love, this piece will use it to literally depict the falling fortunes of former political behemoths such as the ANC and other former liberation movements that are now being punished by the citizens.

Indeed, Kana Ndanyura may yet assume a completely different meaning given the sorry plight of the sinking support for the liberation comrades who, like the dinosaur, have failed to adapt to the demands of the brave, digital 21st century and the rising new generations that are now demanding jobs and functional economies, not liberation war rhetoric.

To borrow a line from Killer T, the ANC, like fellow liberation movements, may have gone into last week’s election with an arrogate attitude tinged in history: Munozviziva ndiri makuruwani (you know we are your liberators)..

But just like in Zimbabwe, the voters had other ideas and judged the ANC for its lack of probity and its failure to deliver optimum services.

Liberation war rhetoric just did not cut it with the voters.

As they shamefully scrounge around in search of a coalition partner after polling a dismal 40 percent vote in last week’s poll, the ANC could be singing back—Killer T style– that they have no option since they have suddenly found themselves sunk deep into this rut: Munenge muchida ndiite seiko kana ndanyura .

The ANC, the party of the iconic Nelson Mandela, the oldest liberation movement formed in 1912, suffered a dismal electoral loss in the last few days, a loss that eroded its outright majority for the first time since Uhuru in 1994.

This piece will show that what happened to the ANC is not a shocking experience as it represents a unique trend among liberation movements. It represents a tired nationalism that has seen these former liberation movements being shunned and utterly rejected by voters across the region.

Fellow liberation movements like Zanu PF of Zimbabwe, the Kenya African National Union (KANU), the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Mozambique’s FRELIMO, Namibia’s SWAPO and Angola’s MPLA have had a foothold, nay a stranglehold, on the individual country’s post-independence electoral politics.

But in recent years, except for only a few, most of these liberation movements have been experiencing a massively dwindling support base, with some of them such as Zanu PF using brazen violence and rigging to remain in power.

Except SWAPO in Namibia, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) of Tanzania and FRELIMO of Mozambique that have shown some pragmatism as evidenced by smooth leadership transitions at the respective party levels, the fortunes have been bad for other liberation movements in the region.

Whatever their weaknesses, SWAPO, CCM and FRELIMO appear to have a clear succession plan and can tolerate change internally, unlike others such as Zanu PF and of course the MPLA in Angola where Eduardo Dos Santos clung to power for decades while he and his family fleeced national wealth.

Unlike other liberation movements with dwindling political support by dint of their violence and a dismal failure to deliver, the CCM garnered 84 percent of the Presidential vote in the 2020 peaceful election.

Some of these liberation movements, such as UNIP of Zambia, have died after being crucified by voters on the performance cross in the election of 1991.

The memorial service may not have been held yet but UNIP effectively died in 1991and is now singing Kana Ndanyura from six feet deep in Zambia’s political graveyard.

So in Zambia, UNIP is no more, swept away by the torrents of citizen power.

Having come to power at independence in 1964, UNIP died electorally in 1991 and has now been reduced to only a quiet political fart during elections.

From garnering a paltry 24 percent in the shock loss in the 1991 elections, UNIP’s figures in the Presidential polls went down to 16,1 percent in 2001, slightly rose to 25,3 percent in 2006, dwindled to 0,36 percent in 2011, 0,38 percent in 2015 and an embarrassingly all-time low support base of 0,06 percent in 2021.

For UNIP, the whimpering lyrics of Kana Ndanyura can barely be heard from the flotsam and jetsam far below sea level in the rut of utter rejection by Zambian citizens..

On the whole, all liberation movements are singing Killer T’s Kana Ndanyura as they slowly sink into the abyss by periodically getting rejected by the voters..

The only claim to power by these liberation movements has had nothing to do with their performance and electoral legitimacy. Their message has only been a nostalgic historical appeal based solely on the historical fact that they fronted the war of liberation.

The ANC lost last week’s election on the basis of cancerous inadequacies that have become common to all liberation movements post independence. These common factors have to do with endemic corruption in the ruling elite, high unemployment, incessant power curs, violent crime (political violence and State-sanctioned abductions in the case of Zimbabwe), leadership cluelessness and collapsing public services and public infrastructure.

In Zimbabwe, Zanu PF is also singing Kana Ndanyura but being propped up only by electoral shenanigans, captured State institutions and a weak and meek regional body that cannot enforce its own electoral standards.

As a liberation movement, they have since lost their support in a huge way. Even after a rigged poll, they have only managed to claw back to a two-thirds majority by literally purchasing cheap political souls to their side.

One could posit that Zanu PF is now governing through its own coalition with purchased political hearts, led by the celebrated political harlot, one Sengezo Tshabangu.

In Malawi, the Malawi Congress Party, lost its monopoly on power in 1994 and was roundly defeated in subsequent polls. The MCP only clawed back to power under difficult circumstances in the court-ordered rerun of June 2020 where they went into a coalition with others under the Tonse Alliance and garnered 60 percent of the votes.

Just like the ANC now in South Africa, the MCP is currently governing through yet another coalition with opposition political parties through the Tonse Alliance.

The MCP, the liberation movement of Hastings Kamuzu Banda, has also fallen to the ignominy of having to govern through a coalition.

Like other liberation movements in similar predicament, it has also sunk into a political rut and Kana Ndanyura is also their befitting lyrical lamentation.

The ANC is therefore now sunk in a rut and has to negotiate a coalition not out of choice but out of necessity.

In Kenya, their liberation party, the Kenya African National Union (KANU) is now officially dead. It died in the 2002 election when their then candidate Uhuru Kenyatta garnered a paltry 29 percent of the vote while the party itself won just 64 outof 212 parliamentary seats.

KANU morphed into two offshoots, the Orange Democratic movement and ODM Kenya, effectively signalling the official death of the party.
Otherwise as a liberation movement, KANU is officially dead and is equally belching out the Kana Ndanyura lyrics from Kenya’s political graveyard in the capital Nairobi.

The big lesson for these former liberation movements whose support base is plummeting at an alarming rate is that they must never take the citizens for granted.

The big lesson for them is: Reform and Perform or Perish!

Lastly, dear reader, kindly take note that Killer T’s epic hit Kana Ndanyura cannot n only be a romantic ballad that has created a wave in the country and among Zimbabweans abroad.

As an epic verse, it can also be extrapolated to the breezing political moment upon us as exemplified by the plight of the electoral loss by the ANC and fellow liberation movements that are sinking (kunyura) every day.

Meanwhile, dear reader, kindly take time with your partner or spouse to enjoy the musical dish Kana Ndanyura , itself an epic ballad showcasing the lyrical prowess of this Mbare-bred dancehall artist called Killer T.

Killer T simply killed it on this one!

Luke Tamborinyoka is a citizen from Domboshava. He is a journalist and political scientist by profession. You can interact with him via his facebook page or his X handle luke_tambo.

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