BY KENNEDY MUPOMBA
AND DR MASIMBA MAVAZA
The setting up of the Chitepo School of Ideology in Zimbabwe by the ruling party, Zanu PF, drew both jubilation and scorn from within and outside Zimbabwe.
Very vociferous protests emerged from the Western world indoctrinated puppets in our midst. We have in a previous paper argued how through discourse analysis, that is dissecting language, we discern the thoughts of our enemies.
In this paper, we take a step backwards to analyse how ideology shapes discourses in the political arena. We conclude that we are moving in the right direction, from traditional methods of disseminating ideologies to sophisticated ones.
If our readers were hoping for us to define the term ideology, we are sorry to disappoint you as equally academics have bemoaned the plethora of the different ways in which the term is used. Ideologies have played a very important part in shaping governments, group actions and individual beliefs and values.
In terms of government actions, a host of social, economic and political factors intervene in shaping particular policy proposals perceived to be possible at that time. It is difficult to envisage how an individual can live without some adherence to sets of belief and values, that is to say, each individual has his/her own ideologies.
Individuals who share the same ideologies may group up and some groups are quite prepared to die for those beliefs and values.
Eminent writers such as Vic George and Paul Wilding have distinguished ideology as a concept and ideology as a political or welfare doctrine. It is widely known that politicians, social theorists and governments have differed on the relative merits of state action, private markets, distribution of resources and the role of the family.
George and Wilding argued that they are ‘four distinct ways in which the notion of ideology has been defined over years, each of which has been influenced by debates in social policy and politics’. With it being argued by Ball and Deringer that ‘we live in the shadow, and under the influence thinkers long dead’, it is perhaps best to give a short account of ideology history.
Ideology as a term, was first used by de Tracy in the immediate aftermath of the French Revolution in 1797 to counter the dominance of tradition, custom, the mystical and supernatural religion in government politics. Karl Marx, became the theorist who argued how ideology originates and its function in society. In short, Marx argued that in capitalist societies, the ideas, beliefs and values held by those who dominate the production, distribution and business sectors will become accepted as ideas of all sections of society including those that stand to lose out.
Marx defined ideology as ‘a partial body of beliefs, distorting reality for the benefit of the ruling class’. Gramsci, Marx’s disciple, wrote that ideology ‘is powerful’ and that it ‘undermined the working-class radical claims’ and helped to ‘maintain the upper-class hegemony’.
Another prominent figure on ideology is Mannheim who strangely refuted and also accepted Marx’s notion on ideologies though it is important for our purposes to highlight that he accepted that ‘dominant ideologies are always distortions of reality for the benefit of the ruling groups and to the disadvantage of other groups in society’.
Finally, American sociologists from the 1950s and1960s took ideology as ‘system of values and beliefs that increases social cohesion in society for the benefit of all’. We now turn to how the capitalists have maintained hegemony via ideologies.
It is no top secret that the Western World driven by the upper-class ideologies have had sleepless nights over Africa’s resources for ages. Ideological claims were made that it was right to stimulate industry through capturing African slaves.
The Queen of England’s coffers grew from taxes received from the proceeds of sweat of black slaves and remained mum about it for decades. It was an upper-class endeavour. During the Berlin Conference 1884-1885, fat, bald and upper-class pink men hungering for Africa’s resources carved our continent in the guise of ‘bringing civilisation’.
King Leopold famously said that ‘for millions of men still plugged in barbarism will be dawn of a better era’. Civilisation was to be through Christianity; however, this King Leopold is well known to have then massacred over 5 million in Congo.
Although the son of the soil gallantly fought back until the pink imperialists gave up, ideology played a very important factor. Our vision is clear, the imperialists are pink, and not white. Classifying themselves as White is an ideological attempt to demonstrate superiority over others, hence hegemony. We will write a paper on the colour classification soon.
Back to imperialists’ hegemony, from 1965, the Rhodesian government coordinated a strategic information and public diplomacy campaign, which included propaganda, censorship, and psychological operations, aiming to maintain the support of the country’s black majority in the face of infiltration and indoctrination of ZANLA and ZIPRA forces.
However, by 1974, the efforts were noted to be hopeless and “Operation Split-Shot’ was invoked. The campaign was, dubbed “Terror and death is the way of the communist terrorists in Rhodesia’, and leaflets were distributed countrywide to engender fear among the Rhodesian population.
The ideological indoctrination extended to false, hopeless leaflets depicting ZANLA/ZIPRA recruiters as forcing black young people into training camps, raping women within forced sight of their children. Further, the propaganda stated that the terrorists were spreading sexually transmitted diseases.
We ourselves remember in 1977, when all villagers were forced to attend a meeting at a school in Mashonaland West.
The pink soldiers hung a tractor plough disk on a tree and using ‘captured terrorists’ AK47 and rubber bullets, they shot at the metal dish. Of course, nothing happened to it. Then using their FN rifles with real bullets, they shot at the dish and as expected the dish was pierced by the bullets. The message was clear, freedom fighters’ guns do not kill so help them at your own peril. But we knew better.
The ideological warfare was also used by the freedom fighters to counter the pink lies through the radio Maputo to which the masses tuned in to listen to revolutionary news and to the ZANLA socialist ideology. It was an effective plan rendering death to anyone who listened to it by the imperialists. The comrades also organised morari, that is gatherings were the mases were indoctrinated with socialist ideas.
In the post independence era, such gathering have continued at the basic level of cell meetings to Zanu PF conferences. Please, inform Biti and Chamisa that the Chitepo School of Ideology may have emerged recently but ideology has been part and parcel of Zanu PF.
It is interesting to point out that the American economist and academic, Milton Friedman from the University of Chicago upon visiting Rhodesia in 1976 at the invitation of the Information Office said ‘I am impressed by what I saw there’. He also said that if ‘Patriotic Front guerrillas’ win, it ‘would be a great prize for the Russians’ and the end of Rhodesia as a white-ruled state would be the ‘suicide of the West’. This lead us to examine the impact of educational institutions in the ideological war. The western world institutions of learning are driven by ideologies.
For example, Oxford University glorifies and has populated its sites with statutes of imperialists such as that of Cecil John Rhodes who dug up our minerals and handed them over to the Queen. It is the same institution that expelled our veteran Dambudzo Marechera for his ‘unorthodox behaviour’ which clashed with the university’s Conservative held ideologies.
In the same vein, a commentator recently noted how the western world rushes to give bright A levels students scholarships to study in ‘leading’ institutions. Your guess is ours: you practice what you learn and western governments are not blind to this hence they ply such universities with funding.
In short, having lost their physical presence and having retreated to their desolate wastelands, the West will, indoctrinate young Zimbabweans through their educational institutions or through those that profess love for them. We need to look no further than the West’s puppets, that is Biti, Chamisa and Chin’ono who from political podiums and social media have been propounding day and night the virtues of their masters.
We will also remind you of the leaked British Top-Secret files that stated in 1979 that there was no point in giving Abel Muzorewa any more money as his influence was on the wane. In short, Muzorewa was not going to help them in getting their ideologies accepted.
The just ended online re-orientation by the Chitepo School of Ideology attended by hundreds of Zimbabweans across the globe signifies a great step by our highly esteemed President Ed Mnangagwa to move ideological dissemination into a scientific practice. By using online methods, the school has cleverly adapted to the challenges of Covid-19.
Our detractors know the ideological warfare is game on and are naturally unhappy as the rightful Zimbabwean view will be heard far and beyond our borders. ■