Let’s Agree To Disagree With Dignity Ms Gappah

LAST week Petina Gappah  accused Joram Nyathi of being an embarrassment to himself and to his employers, the Zimbabwe Independent.

His crime was that he had questioned why MDC-T was so interested in the “key” ministries, ie home affairs, finance, foreign affairs, and information.
I don’t know whether Nyathi is guilty or not, it depends which god one prays to.
According to my understanding, Nyathi was basing his argument on the MDC-T’s campaign messages which prioritise health, education and food for the people and it makes sense that its personnel head such ministries so as to discharge their promised mandate effectively. This is of course assuming that all debates will be tabled in parliament and thus will reflect government policy.
There is no expectation (at least from someone like myself) that if a certain party heads a ministry it should control it outside government policy. It is the management style that should differ. If Zanu PF heads defence, it cannot decide to send the army to war without parliament agreeing.
Similarly the Finance ministry cannot just finance projects without parliament approval in a parliament in which no party has a majority.
When I read Nyathi’s article I got the feeling that was the point he was trying to put across. But then reading Gappah’s response, one gets a very disturbing ache for revenge, retribution and need I mention the sickening tribalistic sentiments.
Gappah alleges that the Information ministry must go to the MDC to ensure forces of democracy prevail, in other words suggesting freedom of speech. Is it not ironic that in the same article she is name-calling Nyathi for making use of that freedom? She even suggests that by exercising his freedom of speech, Nyathi’s tongue had proved more acidic than the Herald’s columnist, Nathaniel Manheru. Does that not smack of intolerance of the highest order Gappah?
She alleges that the Home Affairs ministry should go to MDC-T because Zanu PF only arrests MDC-T supporters and leaves Zanu PF thugs unpunished. She is so certain that out of almost two million supporters of MDC-T, they are all law-abiding, never mind that Trudy Stevenson was almost murdered in broad daylight by MDC-T thugs. Who assaulted Priscilla Misihairambwi and  Peter Guhu?
Both Zanu PF and MDC-T supporters have thugs in their membership. Gappah’s argument implies that if MDC-T controls the police and army, then they don’t have to be professional as we are made to believe. They will have to carry out another forensic investigation and arrest all Zanu PF thugs and leave MDC-T supporters.  Is that not seeking revenge?
Then you have the tribal slants: tribalism like racism can be expressed indirectly. It does not need a doctorate to work out that Gappah is not a Ndebele name. Nyathi and Trevor Ncube both sound Ndebele and are both associated with the Standard. From her writing, she implies that Nyathi’s opinions are influenced by him being of Ndebele origin and therefore he must hate Tsvangirai for being a Shona.
Does this therefore mean that Gappah supports Tsvangirai because of his ethnicity and by default she expects Nyathi to be supportive of MDC-M?
If the sentiments expressed by Gappah are the kind of democracy that is going to prevail in the new Zimbabwe, then God help Zimbabwe.

Nancy Nyamunga.
Harare.