Rhetoric alone is unhelpful

If Maziwisa had been well versed with the history of this country –– as indeed anyone calling himself an analyst should –– he would be very much aware of the fact that Mugabe’s 32-year reign is littered with countless statesmanlike speeches, not least among them the very first Independence Day speech which earned him international accolades. In that speech he pronounced reconciliation as the cornerstone of his policy for re-building Zimbabwe.  No sooner had the ink dried on that speech than Mugabe started to persecute the late Joshua Nkomo, a stalwart of Zimbabwe’s Independence struggle.

The Gukurahundi onslaught on the people of Matebeleland and the Midlands left over 20 000 innocent civilians dead. Among Mugabe’s speeches during Gukurahundi was one where he stated that the only way to deal with a snake (meaning Nkomo and Zapu) was to strike at its head. To illustrate just how sincere he was, Nkomo was hounded out of the country.

To show how insincere the latest Independence Day speech was, Mugabe said absolutely nothing about this sad chapter of our history or the desire to bring human rights abusers to book. Among many other perpetrators of violence, Joseph Mwale, the man accused of petrol-bombing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s election agents Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika to death, roams free and continues to earn money at the tax-payer’s expense. In fact, the perpetrators of violence did not take heed as Mugabe implored them to stop their evil deeds. It was reported that at the time he was delivering the speech that dazzled Maziwisa, youths from Mugabe’s party were busy beating up their opponents barely a hundred metres away from the venue.

By the way, the ongoing indigenisation is not at all an achievement. Unemployment, which is one of this country’s biggest problems apart from corruption, will not be solved by black ownership of companies. We indigenised land and have been fed by the West since then. Going by our record, if indigenisation is implemented in the format currently advocated, the record 85% unemployment will increase to 95%. Genuine indigenisation should assist the majority blacks to create wealth not to simply grab what was built by other people.

I would therefore urge Maziwisa to join serious analysts in realising that even dazzling speeches should  only be deemed sincere if they are followed by action. In that regard, Mugabe could have started by apologising for Gukurahundi.

 

Abbie Mphisa,
Harare.

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