Editor’s Memo: Decade of Hope: may be, may be not

IN the past decade our magnificent country went through a crucible but this year, the beginning of a new decade, began on a high note; you must have seen the firecrackers popping up from almost all households in the suburbs. The feeling of hope was palpable.

But can our troubled and wonderful country, built on courage, faith, savagery, looting, greed, compromise and hope, at the last gasp be saved from catastrophe?

May be, may be not!

The reasons for scepticism are all too clear and they are all premised on one thing –– our politics are not right. The polarisation of the last decade which manifested itself in political thuggery and looting is, if somewhat lessening, still evident. The first two or three years of this new decade may still be wasted as the main political parties struggle to disentangle themselves from their entrenched positions.

Some of these entrenched positions have become completely ludicrous. For example, hope had been engendered by the announcement on December 29 last year that there would be an extensive land audit which would see the examination of 180 000 farms.

 

Zimbabweans had hoped this move would signal the cleansing of our messy land reform programme, a historical necessity done in the most chaotic, and often barbaric, of methods.

A credible land audit, it was hoped, would rectify all the anomalies of this project but it seems, for some there is a lot to be feared. A communiqué emerging this week from Karoi would have been laughable if it hadn’t betrayed the real reason behind Zanu PF’s intransigence regarding the land audit.

Zanu PF secretary for lands in Mashonaland West province Temba Mliswa read the communiqué which said there should not be a land audit before the “illegal sanctions” have been lifted. How do we link the two without sounding absolutely crass? Is this a sign that there is a huge cover-up of the ugly realities of the whole land-grab project?

In the public media the MDC-T ‘s outstanding issues have been reduced to three completely frivolous issues, namely Gideon Gono, Johannes Tomana and Roy Bennett! The impression we get is that Morgan Tsvangirai and his crew are holding the country to ransom because of these three individuals.

But the real outstanding issues such as media reform, the National Security Council and the rule of law, are never mentioned.

For the next few years we cannot expect any movement in this regard as the parties argue over peripheral issues skirting the heart of the matter as if they are engaged in some mortal combat.

The people’s scepticism is already beginning to show. The MDC which had been seen as the party of change and hope is already beginning to show signs that our optimism was probably misplaced.

Look at the corruption that has been exposed in recent weeks! Not only has the rottenness affected whole municipalities in the case of Chitungwiza and other towns but it has had a global feel as well.

It has been reported that some people in the UK have been dipping their fingers in the party’s kitty prejudicing it of tens of thousands of pounds.

This may be viewed in some sections as an internal MDC matter but for those who had hoped this party might launch our dear country on a cleaner platter to say they are disappointed would be an understatement.

Normally when such examples of corruption emerge they are a sign of a more gangrenous inner wound.
It may at present seem as if this kind of corruption is confined to small branches of the party but those who may interest themselves in getting to the bottom of it all may discover that corruption has pervaded the whole MDC superstructure. There are hints to this –– read the quotation below.

“Vigil supporters were interested to see that the British press has picked up a story about the suspension of the MDC UK executive: as we reported in our diary of 28th November, the MDC secretary general, Tendai Biti, announcing the suspension, accused the executive of financial irregularities.

Virtually everyone at the Vigil is MDC or former MDC and we know the depths to which the party in the United Kingdom has sunk to get money and we have a general picture of where it went.

“We were interested to see that the party’s chairman, Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo (of the 200 portraits), has been nominated to lead a team to investigate the matter. He installed the rogue UK executive and must have an intimate knowledge of where the money went.

Or he could ask Tsvangirai’s uncle, Hebson Makuvise, the ambassador-designate to Germany. He was Tsvangirai’s representative in the UK so his knowledge of where the money went is even more intimate…”

Two things emerge from this Vigil installment –– the purse of the MDC in London is controlled from Harare and any claims to the contrary do not hold water; and the highest office in the MDC may be practising cronyism. Just how deep-rooted is this cronyism and isn’t it at the very root of the corruption we are beginning to read about?

It is such questions –– which are increasingly coming to the fore –– which make some of the most optimistic among us begin to doubt our faith in change.

As the new decade begins where does our hope lie? We have to straighten out our politics; the nation has to begin looking beyond the global political agreement. Civil society was probably right: to put our nation’s future wholly in the hands Zanu PF and the two MDC groupings was wrong.

They are two sides of the same coin.

 

Nevanji Madanhire

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