WARY as we are about the prospect of Zanu PF staying in power another day after Robert Mugabe’s departure, isn’t it an insult that Dzikamai Mavhaire is already crawling after the presidency?
Folks, I grant you the licence to walk me down the haunted trail of this struggle, from the local government elections down the fouled presidential and parliamentary elections to the constitutional referendum of 2000, and the by-elections in between. What exactly was that consistent message plastered on the face of our vote?
My journal declares that we started an unstoppable cruise towards the promised land of democracy, justice and freedom. It says that we wrote Mavhaire and company the full retirement cheque.
We were even kind enough to issue these guys reference letters, which stated that they were employable elsewhere but the vault of high public office. Didn’t we make it clear that we were itching for fresh, untainted blood?
Hold your objections, for the case against Mavhaire himself is staggering. He was and still is a tentacle of the same monster terrorising us. He was part of this monster when it crafted that foul constitution we rejected. In the same year, we gently kicked him out of the door, particularly for belonging to this monster, I guess.
From that day, he has been hiding in the backyard of even his party’s politics while the desire to succeed Mugabe devoured him like a cancer. Now, for argument’s sake, assume that you were Mavhaire and Mugabe was the loathed tyrant he is.
You made that famous “Mugabe must go!” statement. If you’d said it from conviction and not impulse, and with the knowledge that Zimbabweans were solidly behind you, where would you be today?
You wouldn’t have buckled under Zanu PF’s draconian disciplinary whip, to start with. You’d have gently taken the ancient man’s hand, walked him out of the addictive maze of State House and accompanied him to Zvimba.
Hadn’t that been an option, you’d have led into the streets a small but courageous army of the few democratic cadres in the party.
What a sweet thing it’d have been to meet Mavhaire half way during the stayaways and the demonstrations! How energising it’d have been to read his letter to the editor of Masvingo’s Weekly Mirror urging us on!
Hold it, before you conclude that Mavhaire simply forgot that the fight against Mugabe’s tyranny was an urgent, collective responsibility for all Zimbabweans. He simply employed the oldest trick in the book of political tactics.
He withdrew from the political scene, hoping that time and his famous statement would cleanse him of Mugabe’s filth. All this time, he has been watching our duel with Mugabe, holed up in safety somewhere.
Now that the beast is on its belly on the canvass, tongue popping out and frothing, Mavhaire sees his chance.
There are many like him out there. They’ll emerge the very moment the monster is fully conquered, brandishing glittering CVs. “I consistently told him to go! I was behind you every step of the way!” they will say.
Edgar Tekere will even claim that he invented the cliché “democracy is in the intensive care unit”. There will also be others waving the victim card: “The CIO has been shadowing me around the clock,” and all that stuff.
Sorry folks, Zimbabweans are way ahead of cheap politicking. We’ll never substitute our future for obscure feats unfit for the crevices in the archives of history. We will emerge from Mugabe’s mess with swords sharpened and ready to cut to size, if not weed out altogether, pretenders and manipulators. From this rubble will emerge one individual.
The presidency is in critical condition at Parirenyatwa Hospital but we are not desperate for a president. We are desperate for a leader, someone who will bring back dignity to the office.
We are desperate for a universally accepted, unifying figure with the vision to pluck us out of this social, political and economic quagmire. I’m talking about a democrat. I could also add someone with a sense of humour and the right shoe size.
Unfortunately, after all this pain and suffering, we’d do the struggle a fitting honour if we restricted the next generation of public leaders to those currently visible and active. It’d also make dollars and sense if the future president was required to have visible scars of the struggle.
This picture is not too good for aspiring Zanu PF presidential candidates. For starters, they’ll have to take the witness’ stand on Mugabe’s behalf in the court of public opinion. Then they’ll join an open, democratic competition, something alien to that party.
I’m almost certain that we’ll also require Mavhaire and friends to restructure, democratise and transform Zanu PF from the guerilla movement that it presently is to a democratic political party.
We need a mouthful of time to heal, forget and forgive, don’t we, before trusting this party with our welfare again?
But then again, who am I to play God?
Obert Ronald Madondo,