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Sage advice for Geoff

Dear Editor – I WAS surprised by Geoffrey Nyarota’s surreal response to my article “Nyarota’s defence of Tsvangirai’s dark side scary”, (Zimbabwe Independent, March 17).

Not only did this “excellent” journalist th

ink I have no right to comment on his warped views because I am an unknown, and have a name that sounds both Ndebele and Shona (which is not true of course), but he conjured up all sorts of unimaginable conspiracies against himself and his “wonderful” achievements.

I am happy that he apologised to readers for behaving like a clone of Media and Information Commission chairman Tafataona Mahoso, Zimbabwe’s classical conspiracy theorist, although he did not seem to realise the irony.

All I did was raise objections to his distressing article which contained insensitive views to victims and survivors of Gukurahundi.

For the record, it is both barbaric and cowardly for Nyarota in a modern age to dismissively say because the Shona have also been victims of raids by Ndebele ancestors, the mass murders Zanu PF committed in the early 80s were a “natural course of justice”.

I also pointed out that it is absurd for him and Zimbabwean civic society leaders to regularly attack Zanu PF for political violence but fail to do so when Tsvangirai does the same.

Most of the world’s worst dictators — Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Slobodan Milosevic were popular, charismatic leaders who abused their popularity to trample on minorities and their opponents.

I don’t agree that Zimbabwe’s “progressive” opinion leaders do not see what I see.

They don’t want to see it. And if you are as excellent a journalist as you claim to be, you should try to find out why.

But since you seem so reluctant to expose the misdemeanours of your political idol, let me give you a clue; look at the names of the new portfolio secretaries Tsvangirai has just appointed.

Are some of the names not those of leading activists in the civic society?
I want to put it to you again; did Tsvangirai youths not attack his rivals within the opposition last year?

Did Tsvangirai not blatantly disregard findings of his own disciplinary committee by re-hiring the same hoodlums who had been expelled for fanning violence against senior members of the party?
Who — in utter violation of the party’s principles and values — caused the  intra-party fighting in Masvingo in the run-up to the 2005 election by unilaterally imposing a candidate on the people of that town?

Did he not reject and lie about the outcome of voting in his national council, saying he did not care if they destroyed his party?

I must also point out that it is a lie to say Nyarota’s article “targeted” Tsvangirai, pro-senate faction leader Arthur Mutambara and Ncube.

For the record, Nyarota said Mutambara had chosen  an  irrelevant ethnic clique, presented Ncube as a thorough sell-out and advised Tsvangirai to relinquish his post should he realise he has become a “liability”.
That’s how far he “targeted” him.

And should Nyarota be “targeting” individuals or issues anyway? And since when did democratic societies wait for leaders to declare themselves liabilities?

Nyarota reminded me that not long ago President Mugabe told his supporters that when he is tired (I suppose he meant when he realises he has become a “liability”) he will go back to them and tell them.

I’m sure he has not sunk to the level of the kind of supporters we all know Mugabe has. 

 Tsvangirai is a great leader and his contribution to Zimbabwean politics has been immense, but Nyarota could make him even better by criticising him whenever he goes wrong.

President Mugabe’s misrule of Zimbabwe did not start with farm invasions; it is a culmination of injustices that his supporters and people in influential positions failed to condemn since the first decade of Independence.

That is why he is so bitter about anyone challenging his authority.

Michael Mtungwa,
Johannesburg, South Africa.

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