"Democracy Is A Game For The Dead" – Ngwena

By Itai Muzondo

Masvingo-When Supa Mandiwanzira’s Zi FM Stereo started co – hosting reggae Judgement Yard Disc Jockeys, it took the entertainment stage by storm but maybe no one really thought beyond the lines when it comes to their style of deejaying which spreads powerful messages in a Jamaican patwa style.

Their words, ‘When injustice becomes a right, resistance becomes a duty’ would make sense to an audience that critically interpreted Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s episodes of the Traibabilus train bombing with his companions whom are still known until day as the ‘Ngwena Crew’ during the genesis of the Zimbabwean liberation war struggle in 1964.

As Mnangagwa also known as Ngwena after the guerrilla group which he was part of explained the happenings, for which he was still young, energetic and with a zeal of liberating the nation from political bondage at the age of nineteen, one could easily see how proud he was that he was part of the youths that ‘resisted’ the colonial rule that thwarted their interests as people full of potential.

He said that the time they would get a chance to attack and kill the whites, they referred to it as Christmas and so were the circumstances when he bombed the Traibabilus train which almost saw him facing the death sentence.

“We were put into regiments of which we were supposed to attack the imperialists and I got into the Ngwena crew which comprised of William Ndangana, Phebion Shonhiwa, Lawrence Svosve and Mathew Malowa among others who were my fellow revolutionaries. 

“As a revolutionary group , we came across a train and my friend simply whispered to me, ‘kisimusi yako’ (your Christmas), which was a symbol that I had green light to attack the white owned train for which I blew it to ashes. That is the liberation war incidence which saw me being sentenced to death, only to be served by age as I was 19 then I alternatively served 10 years imprisonment at Khami prison,” narrated Mnangagwa who later foresaw Operation Chinyavada to flush out rebel elements in the early 1980s.

Activists however said such spirit of resistance is absent in the new breed of  cowardly revolutionaries.

A question however arose as different civic organisations told Radio VOP that if the current leaders could rise and resist, then why is today’s generation is silenced and deprived of their efforts to be heard peacefully and in manners that are even supported by different charters and national governing laws.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) President, George Nkiwane said, it is surprising that the ruling party youths disturb demonstrations which are meant to emancipate them and added that the police are biased towards uncritical demonstrations with no visible impact when giving clearence for activities.

“It is shameful that most people who disturb demonstrations are the youth as we discovered in the most recent demonstrations we staged nationwide. In Masvingo, Chinhoyi and Mutare, youths disbursed fliers claiming that demonstrations have been cancelled and you really wonder how they can conquer in a revolution which seeks to emancipate them from mental and political slavery.

“Police are also biased towards uncritical risings when clearing for demonstrations so the situation we are operating in is repressive, regardless of the fact that we were finally cleared for our demonstrations recently after a long struggle,” said Nkiwane.

Political activist, Tawanda Chimhini said that it was the young people that liberated Zimbabwe and so should the current generation do.

“If you go back to the liberation struggle a lot of the people who went to war from Zimbabwe were young people, the majority of them were leaving school and going to pick up a gun and fight for Zimbabwe, that was taking their future into their own hands, taking control of their destiny, so if the youth of the 70’s were able to do that, what stops the youth of our generation from doing the same,” said Chimhini.

To echo Chimhini’s sentiments, an activist, Fungai Tichawangana of ZIMBOJAM said that, “In every challenge that we face as a country, young people need to be seen and resist all injustices along the way.”

Grace Chirenje gives her comment from a feminist point of view as she says most role models to resistance for a better nation feel that national issues are handled in opposition to what women suggest making the system segregatory.

“Young women feel that what they vote for, what they predicted, what they want to see is not necessarily what takes place. I therefore urge all to rise and fight as depicted by the current activism work in America where women are peacefully advocating for a woman figure to be put on the US$20 note for which we can achieve in unity,” said Chirenje.

Mnangwagwa however makes it crystal clear that the government has no intentions to build a democracy as he said leave democracy to the dead.


“I can encourage you that democracy is nothing but a game of the dead. I say so because it is proposed by many. If you want to see a place where many belong to nowadays, it is the graveyard. Bishop Mutendi can confess with me here that only a few living are found in the churches and do not postulate for democracy but only the many who to this point I believe are found in the graveyard,” said Mnangagwa.