It’s good to be back in this column — albeit very briefly — after a five-year hiatus during which many changes have taken place on our political landscape.
Editor’s Memo with Vincent Kahiya
The only key constant though is the futile attempt by our rulers to control all facets of our lives from the way we think, how we interact and so on.
In this digital era, denizens of the analogue past have stayed entrapped in a time warp in which subtle and real threats are flaunted as instruments of governance.
Pronouncements last weekend by President Mugabe and his key lieutenant Didymus Mutasa provided insight into how the political elite in the country is fascinated with yesteryear politics of the big man and control.
At the funeral of former Information minister, Nathan Shamuyarira, Mugabe used intemperate language to attack information minister Jonathan Moyo, accusing him of using the media to cause divisions in the country.
In the Zanu PF scheme of things, criticising the big man is synonymous with causing divisions. By the same token, may I surmise that the much-talked about “unity” is turning a blind eye to failure.
This is the sad story of our politics.
So spurred by Mugabe’s excoriation of Information minister Jonathan Moyo, Mutasa did not require further prompting to reveal what he has been up to lately in his quest to shield Mugabe from criticism.
His address to a youth meeting in Mutare last Sunday was a chilling reminder that despite all pretensions that we are a constitutional democracy, we still live under a system that is honed to control national discourse and punish dissent.
Mutasa said government would subject critics of Mugabe to similar treatment meted out to Catholic primate Pius Ncube who was secretly filmed in a CIO sting operation in bed with a lover.
“Be careful not to denigrate our president; we will visit your bedrooms and expose what you will be doing,” Mutasa threatened darkly.
“We have our means of seeing things these days, we just see things through our system. So no-one can hide from us in this country.”
While the bombast was presumably aimed at internal political opponents in Zanu PF, it is a telling revelation of how resources in the intelligence community are employed.
But the world has moved on. The system and eyes at Mutasa’s disposal have much more important uses than spying on those who criticise the president.
The system can pry into our bedrooms and sift through our private lives but we are happier with the same eyes opening to the reality of the current collapse around us and exposing those responsible for ushering this country onto the path of poverty.
The eyes have failed to notice potholes on our roads, dilapidated public infrastructure, and predictably they cannot see through the Zesa power cuts-induced darkness enveloping the nation.
The challenges around us cannot unfortunately be wished away by extolling the incumbent and hounding those singing out of tune.
Attempts to employ scare tactics to create a national thought and a single national mindset deifying Mugabe is not the answer to our current needs.
We need power, water, jobs, food and a winning national soccer team. That’s a more fundamental reality Mugabe and Mutasa need to wake up to.