COMMENT: Ideological schools are reservoirs of national memory: Dr Mpofu

19 May, 2024 - 00:05 0 Views
COMMENT: Ideological schools are reservoirs of national memory: Dr Mpofu Chitepo School of Ideology

The Sunday News

Joseph Madzimure, Zimpapers Politics Hub

IN an endeavour to “safeguard the future from dying in the present”, former Liberation Movements of Southern Africa (FLMSA) are constructing ideological schools in their respective countries to complement the one built in Tanzania — the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Leadership School, meant to offer solid foundational grounding (hwaro) to citizens.

The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo), the South West African People’s Organisation (Swapo) of Namibia, Tanzania’s Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM, or Revolutionary Party), South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC), and the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) are the six former liberation movements that were part of the consummation and construction of the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Leadership School.

The revolutionary ZANU-PF has already completed construction of its own ideological school – the Chitepo School of Ideology, which is named after one of Zimbabwe’s political luminaries, Dr Herbert Hamandishe Chitepo.

In an attempt to get more insight behind the ideological school and the necessity of such schools in the region, our Zimpapers Politics Hub Writer, Joseph Madzimure (JM) recently had a conversation with ZANU-PF Secretary-General, Dr Obert Mpofu (OM), who revealed that liberation at its core is not an event but a process.

JM: Can you give us an insight on the relevance of Ideological Schools in Africa?

OM: Celebrating independence without a solid ideological foundation is tantamount to chasing the wind. The liberation war was fought and independence was won in 1980 but some subversive elements continue to undermine the gains of the struggle. It is unfortunate that some among our people have not appreciated the work that was done by freedom fighters to liberate this nation against the colonial regime. Out of ignorance or neo-colonial manipulation, the younger generation finds it amenable to work as plausible instruments for regime change agenda. We, therefore think it is not only a necessity but fundamental to have ideological schools that will equip citizens to have a better understanding and appreciation of the country’s historical trajectory.

The Schools of Ideology as espoused by Former Liberation Movements are a continuation of the conscientisation or mental liberation of our people. I recall during the war of liberation we used to have ideological lectures from the Soviet Union – now Russia, China, Cuba and other progressive countries from the East. The lectures imbued historical consciousness among the comrades and enhanced their morale in executing the war.

JM: What does the process of revisiting successes of the liberation struggle seek to achieve and when was this process started?

OM: We have continued with the process even after independence. Ruling parties that went through the liberation struggle continue to inculcate the spirit of revolution in the youth and the population at large.

We have in the region, the Nyerere School of Leadership in Tanzania, which incorporates all the former frontline states now known as the Former Liberation Movements of Southern Africa (FLMSA). We also have the OR Tambo School of Leadership — an educational institution established by the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa. All these are meant to reinforce the ideological, intellectual, and organisational capacity of citizens in order to survive the vagaries of neo-colonialism.

In Zimbabwe, we have our own – the Chitepo School of Ideology, while Angola, Namibia and Mozambique have their own. The schools have served a lot in terms of articulating and safeguarding the foundational ethos of our respective countries.

JM: From the year 2000, the Former Liberation Movements including ZANU-PF, have been confronted by opposition political parties fronted by hostile erstwhile colonisers. What lessons did you learn as revolutionary political parties from such an occurrence, which appears to roll back the map of liberation in southern Africa?

OM: The period from 1999 to 2024 has important lessons to be learnt and reflected upon. The gains of the liberation struggle were nearly revoked countless times by former colonisers.

Under the Second Republic, President Mnangagwa saw it crucial for the nation to safeguard the independence and recover the lost ideological campus by fostering unity among the people of Zimbabwe. We think the introduction of the Chitepo School of Ideology was the panacea in dealing with the indoctrination and brainwashing coming in all manner of guises from erstwhile colonial masters.

Enrolling at such key institutions will also see those in public office improving on service delivery. The importance of ideology is that it eliminates unsound decisions. This is the time for Zimbabweans to unite and work hard to develop their nation as the country moves to fulfil the gains of the liberation struggle.

The Vision 2030 is in line with the Gutsaruzhinji ideology; leaving no one and no place behind towards attaining a Middle Income economy by year 2030.

The President introduced the Chitepo School of Ideology, not as an abstract concept but as an important milestone in safeguarding the gains of the liberation struggle. Zimbabwe is moving towards institutionalisation of the liberation struggle and implementation of liberation promises at institutional and policy level. This is an important national discourse and must be fully supported by every forward looking person in Zimbabwe.

JM: In your assessment how have the ideological schools been received in the Sadc region?

OM: The Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology started a long time ago. We have been conducting lectures in some identified areas within the country but now we have built a state-of-the-art facility. The School of Ideology has attracted a number of institutions within the country among them- civil servants, parastatals and the private sector.

We are overwhelmed by the requests from institutions to have their staff go through the school of ideology.

JM: You said the construction of the Herbert School of Ideology has been completed, when is it going to open its doors to the public?

OM: It will be commissioned very soon as it is ready to be commissioned and we are only waiting for guidance from our President. I visited the school to see whether it was ready for occupation. We are satisfied that it is ready for occupation. We are waiting for guidance from President Mnangagwa on the commissioning of the building.

JM: ZANU-PF has been invited by ANC to attend their mop-up rally in South Africa just a few days before they hold elections this month. What are the chances for the ANC getting a majority in the coming elections?

OM: We are partners with ANC of South Africa in terms of our background. With ANC, we discuss our internal affairs as we always do on a number of issues. We have just come out of the Former Liberation Summit in Victoria Falls and the ANC has just taken over the chairmanship from Zimbabwe. We communicate on a number of issues.

When it comes to elections, each country has its rules and regulations on conducting their elections, guided by their constitution, there are also the Sadc rules and guidelines on elections. But we have no doubt that the ANC will triumph.

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