December 12th Movement pays homage to comrade Coltrane Chimurenga
Amadi Ajamu | 5/23/2019, midnight
The work around political prisoners and D12’s discussions with Puerto Rican political prisoner and Independence leader Filiberto Ojeda Rios led the December 12th Movement to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, in 1989. Heeding Malcolm X’s call to place our struggle in the world arena, the Movement formed an International Secretariat with Chim as its general secretary. In Geneva, he met Zimbabwean, then-foreign minister, Nathan Shamuyarira and began the dialogue which led to the Secretariat attending Heroes Day in 1994. It was the first of many visits to Zimbabwe over the next 25 years. Under the leadership of Cdes Plummer and Chimurenga, the Movement formed a fraternal relationship with ZANU-PF. D12 annually attended party congresses/conferences, monitored national elections, promoted tourism and brought in medical supplies.
In 2000, D12 organized an historic “Support Zimbabwe” meeting with then President Robert Mugabe, which was attended by over 4,000 people in Harlem. D12 fought against the passage of ZIDERA (the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001) that was passed by the U.S. government to overthrow the ZANU-PF led government and reverse the land reform program which returned land stolen by white settlers to indigenous Zimbabweans.
Finally, Chimurenga was fearless. Of the countless examples that can be cited, one is representative. Following the Mayor Giuliani-ordered attack on the 1998 Million Youth March (Harlem), the police came to D12’s headquarters in Brooklyn in a military operation to arrest one of its members. Brandishing military assault weapons, the police sealed off the block. Chimurenga quickly assessed the situation and took charge. He walked up to a cop who was pointing his AR-15 at him, ordered him to “put that f’ing gun down,” grabbed the barrel and forced the weapon down. The police left empty-handed and humiliated.
Coltrane Chimurenga taught us to push past self-imposed limits. To stay on point. To never give up. He inspired us and made us better. He loved Black people. He was a Pan-Africanist and a true patriot of Zimbabwe whose dying wish was to be buried there. The December 12th Movement will honor our Comrade’s wish.