Lovemore Madhuku is clearly still inconsolable following the constitutional referendum with the state media ever eager to provide him with a shoulder to cry on.
Opinion by MuckRacker
Even Nathaniel Manheru, who prior to the referendum had laid into Madhuku for his “No” vote campaign, has become surprisingly magnanimous.
“His (Madhuku) NCA lost the referendum vote dismally,” Manheru stated. “But it won a numerical validation to what it had surmised all along, namely that there is room for a viable third party, outside Zanu PF and the two MDCs.”
And much to the state mandarins’ delight, who have now made him into a useful idiot of sorts, Madhuku has returned the favour in kind by attacking his erstwhile allies, the MDC-T and Western donors.
Madhuku, whose National Constitutional Assembly is a beneficiary of Western donor support, seems to have suddenly realised that his benefactors are “not interested in any open democratic dispensation in Zimbabwe”.
The NCA, Madhuku went on, had made mistakes by relying on Western donors for funding and from now onwards they would work with donors with their “eyes wide open”.
Rather late in the day!
No permanent friends
‘The mistake we made was to think that this was going to continue,” lamented Madhuku. “They (Western donors) will tell you today that they are supporting an open democracy but that is only if it is in their interests to do so.”
We are sure the referendum would only have been credible if Cde Madhuku says so.
His utterances reflect either shocking naivety or an attempt to be disingenuous. He surely can’t expect us to believe he thought Western donor support was divorced from interests of the governments from which it came!
And for him to come to this “realisation” now when his coalition is on the ropes is unlikely to earn him much sympathy.
Now that his fortunes –– and relevance –– are fast waning, Madhuku seems to be finding strange bedfellows.
As they say there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests. We wouldn’t be surprised if Madhuku ends up in Zanu PF considering he is fast mastering the party’s usual refrain: blame it all on the West.
There is an important aspect of the national discourse surrounding elections that nobody has really explored. What happens if the MDC-T loses? What sort of society will we have?
Given their performance in recent weeks, that is a real possibility. We described Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai a while ago as asleep at the wheel. It was evident the party was failing to register its supporters in sufficient numbers or push its democratic agenda. It was in many respects moribund.
So we have the predictable pattern of recent years in which the MDC-T wins the urban vote and Zanu PF retains its rural fiefdom.
It is of course not as simple as that. Zanu PF may win a majority of votes but can only do so through rigging and terror.
It is already doing this by broadcasting a barrage of crude propaganda, manipulating the state media and engineering a crackdown on civil society.
This will not be a democratic election by any stretch of the imagination. Ask Beatrice Mtetwa or Jestina Mukoko. The regime suppresses dissenting voices by locking up its critics.
Status quo ante
In a democratic election voters are able to make an informed choice by having access to a variety of views. A country with only two or three state broadcasters and a virtual ban on any independent participants doesn’t qualify.
But we are already seeing the so-called Friends of Zimbabwe and other sympathisers preparing to say it was largely a free and fail poll. They ignored Mtetwa’s arrest.
That is where we are heading. OK, so the likes of Douglas Nyikayaramba are still blacklisted by the EU. So is Didymus Mutasa.
Yet those responsible for killing Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mbika in 2000 walk scot free.
Nothing has been done to apprehend their killers. That is the old Zimbabwe that has found its way into the new.
When David Coltart’s election agent, Patrick Nabanyama, disappeared his body was never found.
However, the body of war veterans leader Cain Nkala was found and leading MDC members were prosecuted. President Mugabe called them terrorists. Justice George Chiweshe declined to extend bail to Fletcher Dulini-Ncube and others despite their compliance with conditions so they remained incarcerated for a year. They were subsequently acquitted.
Anti-graft under fire
More recently we have seen how, as soon as the new anti-graft commission targets the rich and powerful, it is subject to harassment and retaliation by the media of the ancien regime.
What we are seeing is an unseemly battle for control. There has been no attempt to fashion a values-based document, but rather a bid to maintain the post-liberation power structure. Compare our narrow exclusivist draft constitution imposed largely by Zanu PF and South Africa’s broad-based inclusivist frame which arises from a genuine accommodation.
This returns us to square one. Zanu PF columnists will claim this is an attempt to anticipate an MDC-T loss. That the MDC parties are, by circulating human rights dossiers and other claims, preparing the ground for defeat.
In fact, the emphasis is rather different. Zimbabwe is entering a new constitutional era without fully or properly embracing democratic values.
Every attempt to change our national attitude has been thwarted by Zanu PF which wants to keep things very much as they are.
It is a shoddy and unedifying model, one in which arrests persist and the reactionary clique remains in power.
Another false start
Meanwhile, we never hear what the MDC-T stands for. All those enthusiastic young people with open palms at Tsvangirai’s rallies? They are not voters!
Indicative of the fascist order if Zanu PF wins is the exclusion of whites from the agricultural sector. Here we have a brand new constitution supposedly based on human rights, but whites with extensive farming skills will be unable to own farms or other agricultural property, exposing the racist dimension inserted by the old order in the new document.
The public will see little of this because the state’s failure to undertake a land audit will allow those who have seized land improperly or own multiple farms to keep their ill-gotten gains.
Starting its life on this flawed basis will focus attention on the shortcomings of the basic law and dissipate much of the enthusiasm that went into its gestation.
Nkala’s latest regret
Finally Zanu founding member, Enos Nkala, who was recently admitted at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo can’t seem to stop waxing lyrical about President Mugabe since the two have become bosom buddies again.
Following a phone call from Mugabe inquiring after his health, Nkala expressed happiness for getting the opportunity to speak to the president.
“A prayer from you is much more than any other prayer,” Nkala gushed. “It is wonderful to hear your voice.”
Nkala now regrets saying all those nasty words about Mugabe after being “overwhelmed by his love and friendliness”. Nkala said in August 2010 Mugabe’s oratory skills deceived nationalists –– including himself –– into believing he was a good leader.
“We deceived ourselves and listened to the manner in which he (Mugabe) articulated issues, so we got carried away into believing that he was a leader,” Nkala said. “I regretted later on (after forming Zanu as a breakaway from Zapu led by Joshua Nkomo) that myself, Maurice Nyagumbo and Edgar Tekere removed Ndabaningi Sithole from the position of president of the party and put Mugabe in.”
“Robert (Mugabe) is a first-class intellectual but lacks administrative ability,” Nkala said in 2010. “He is a talker but not a leader. He should be teaching at a university, not leading the country,” he said.
Goodness, how things change!