Don’t start lighting a big fire in one spot. Rather, spread embers around the country. When the time is right, a wind will blow the embers and every surrounding material will catch fire and burn.
Vhunze is a Shona word for ember. Ember can either remain after a fire or it can precede a fire. In the rural areas, embers can be borrowed to carry the fire and start it elsewhere.
The goal of the revolutionary brothers and sisters should be to make sure there is enough ember around the entire country, whilst the oppressor assumes that things are fine because there are no large fires burning around that need to be dosed. When the oppressors least expect it, a wind blow should turn the ember into large unquenchable revolutionary fires all over.
Emancipation, Agitation, and Incitation are essentially acts of spreading ember around. When the masses are emancipated, agitated, and there is a certain level of incitement, the general mood becomes a zeitgeist dictated by the revolutionary spirit. The people will be ready. It will only be a matter of time before a revolution erupts.
This is a direct answer to the “What shall we do” question. It directly addresses the fact that the people are not ready. The answer is to make the people ready. Making the people ready involves emancipating them, agitating them, and inciting them. It involves turning latent carbon into an ember. This is what needs to be done. Will it be done? By whom?
Some background on Vhunze Moto will help. The late, great Oliver Mtukudzi is a legend. Vhunze Moto is the title of his 2002 album which carries the soundtrack Moto Moto. The title of the album was very political. The picture below shows the map of Zimbabwe burning whilst his face peeping through Zimbabwe, seemingly observing the social and economic turmoil.
Tuku’s song Moto Moto in that Vhunze Moto album was warning the powers that be that ember (discontent) was spreading all around the country and that they should address the problems before they become too big (i.e., before ember turns into a big fire).
What happened then? The ember was there, to some extent. But it never really materialized into a fire. The movement that was spearheading the political struggle misconceived the nature of the task that was at hand. They sought ballot-box political change rather than a broad-based revolution. The ember was eventually dozed off. It died down. People are still in a state of discontent, but that discontent is not active discontent. It is dormant. Deadwood. It is not burning hot.
Morgan Tsvangirai was wiser than many assumed. His speech in 2000 regarding the need to remove Mugabe violently, if he did not choose to go peacefully was right. Tsvangirai articulated what needed to be done, without any apology.
Those who said he was wrong were wrong. This band of shallow-minded people includes persons who were around Tsvangirai at the time, which includes speechwriters, advisors, and the vice president of the MDC. The other cohort which claimed he was wrong in articulating the need to remove Mugabe violently includes the Zanu PF oppressors, SADC et al. Zanu PF used the statement to portray Tsvangirai and the MDC as a violent outfit that preached violence and lived a life of violence.
In return, the MDC tried to shy away from that controversial statement, as if it was a mistake. At times they would reflect on the statement as if Tsvangirai was being quoted out of context. In terms of strategic positioning, this move to dissociate themselves from the “remove him violently” statement was a monumental mistake.
Violence is what was needed, especially at that time. The people were ready. The environment was conducive. As the late Tuku noted, the ember was already there. The soldiers had just returned from a bloody war in DRC and were not very loyal to the Mugabe regime. They too wanted change. The belief was there. The ember just needed to be blown by a small wind to create fire.
Tsvangirai and the MDC had no army of their own, but there was an army of Zimbabwean soldiers ready to rally behind them. There were some ministers and high-profile army personnel who were ready to challenge Mugabe. Somebody had to blow the wind. No one did. This is not a state secret. It is public knowledge that was there for all to see. The MDC was not strategic enough to seize the moment. They went for the safer option of “democratic” elections. The elections turned out to be not so democratic.
Mugabe dozed the embers by tightening the environment further. He poured a thousand drums of water on the ember. This is a sad story.
The fear of being charged with treason left the movement for democracy in an election cycle hamster wheel, where the movement is busy all the time fighting for democracy and rights but never really gets to achieve anything.
Now what needs to be done is like what was done before, but with some variation. The people must be ready, yard and abroad. This time it must be a different type of readiness.
The people must be ready for an eventual revolution. They must be ready for an imminent revolution. They must not be ready for elections. They must not be ready to rally behind a political party or its leader. They must not be ready to lend their vote to Tsvangirai or Chamisa or any of the future opposition leader successors. They must not be ready to affiliate themselves with personalities. They must not be ready for a savior to come and save them.
They must be ready to save themselves. Comprehending this difference is very crucial. A necessary step in the revolution is making people get into this state of mind, where they are ready to save themselves.
To get to that state of mind, the people must be emancipated. This emancipation is not of the physical form but of the mental form. Physical emancipation will only materialize after the revolution is over.
Before and during the revolution, the mental emancipation of the people is attained by training the minds of the people, altering their thought processes, and changing the way they cognitively approach issues. The prevailing idea is to plant the seeds of freedom inside the brains. To make people think of what's possible. To make them live in a free world inside their brains, even though they are still under oppression in the real world.
Bob Marley paraphrased it all, “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds”
Are Zimbabweans under some sort of mental slavery? The answer is yes. Zimbabweans themselves, because they are under slavery, won’t easily recognize that their minds are enslaved. Non-Zimbabweans, on the other hand, can easily see that Zimbabweans are enslaved mentally. South Africans don't understand how Zimbabweans think about certain issues. The Zimbabweans, who are enslaved, think that South Africans don't understand them because they have never been under such an autocratic system. People across the world don't understand how Zimbabweans fail to physically liberate themselves and how they tolerate the various messes, notably the monetary mess.
A good example is the queues at the bank. People in Zimbabwe have been enslaved for two decades and have in some twisted way mentally accepted this abnormality as a normal thing. It is not really a big issue. On the list of demands, it would not even make it in the top ten. They have found other ways to exist around the issue.
The emancipation of the people would aim to change the prevailing mood from that of passive acceptance to active resistance, psychologically. People should be mentally freed so that they actively resist such banking barbarity. Even though these queues have existed for 20 years, emancipating ourselves from mental slavery would bring about a zeitgeist that would make an observer think that the issue is new and recent.
To get this done some techniques in the mind control and narrative control areas must be used, not with a view to controlling people but with a view to empower people so that they take back control of their minds and narratives. The goal is to empower people to free themselves from the oppressor.
Agitation is a step further. It goes beyond mental emancipation. It is important that the people should be agitated. They should be troubled by the system and should reach a point of nervousness. Agitation solidifies the process of migrating the people from a state of passive acceptance to a state of active resistance.
Agitation evokes strong responses from the masses to issues regarding their being. It's bringing the nation into a state of restlessness, where people yearn to do something. People should feel itchy, desperately wanting to do something about their situation. Something, anything, as long as they do something. They should feel uneasy if they don't do something to change the situation. The people need to be brought into this state of agitation.
Incitation is basically inciting and is a step further along the spectrum. When people are emancipated and agitated, they can be easily incited to do something regarding their situation. Inciting has a negative connotation, but, in this context, it is not something negative. It is something good. It is encouraging people to liberate themselves.
There are laws against inciting violence, and any action that is not approved by the oppressor is deemed to be violent. The laws themselves are illegal, repressive, and unconstitutional. The police and courts that administer these laws are a total joke. Those in favor of the revolution should not be discouraged or be fearful of these instruments of cruelty. The idea is to rise above the fear and do what needs to be done. Are there men and women in Zimbabwe who can do what needs to be done? It's debatable. But this is what needs to be done.
Emancipation, agitation, and invitation are easier to speak as words but harder to implement. On the ground, people are fearful of the regime. Any ember that is seen to be a little bit warm is dosed with a bucketful of water figuratively and (ironically) literally using torture techniques such as waterboarding.
The people live in fear. And the biggest obstacle is fear. The people will not easily overcome fear unless they are forced to face their fears. This is a necessary step of the revolution.
Small acts of trouble must be ignited so that the people face their fears. It's inconvenient but necessary. Most Zimbabweans fear being beaten by the police and the military. The fear won't go away easily. The only way to get rid of that fear is to make sure that the people go through the process of being beaten by the police. The young and the old, the political and the apolitical, all of them, need to go through this process.
When the masses are beaten by the police and the military, two things can happen. They either become more fearful, or they become defiant (i.e., less fearful).
If they become more fearful, the small acts of trouble need to be repeated so that the people can be beaten again. Over time, as articulated elsewhere in my writings, the people will not fear the police and military as much as they used to. The Shona word for this is “nhinhi”. Fear, as an instrument of control, will not work as much as it used. All the deadwood becomes activated and ready for a revolution.
Thus, the regime’s hunting dogs can be used as a catalyst in spreading ember all over the country. The regime always makes the mistake of broad-based, non-selective punishment. This can be used to their disadvantage.
Once fear is no longer a stumbling block, the ember will be ready to be blown into countrywide revolutionary fires.
Emancipate! Agitate! Incite!
This is the way. The revolution way. It's not an easy road.