A liberation war ‘hero’ who glorifies himself

Last Friday we referred to President Mugabe’s stint in Mozambique when he failed to emerge from his hotel.

Edgar Tekere told the amusing story of how Mugabe, having fled the political situation in Rhodesia, made himself comfortable, first in the hotel where he had been allocated accommodation with other Zimbabweans, and then in the hotel where he had been made himself comfortable by the Mozambican authorities.

All this was in 1975 onwards. Mugabe not only refused to emerge from his hotel room but also refused to take exercise such as jogging with his comrades — a whole “guerilla army leader” and “revolutionary” acting like mama’s boy. Read Dinner with Mugabe by Heidi Holland (there is a reason why Grace hates her) and you will get a good picture of the real Mugabe.

Anyway, this episode was given light by Tekere’s book edited by Ibbo Mandaza called A Lifetime of Struggle.

Mugabe was waiting for the nod from the Zanla leaders in the field to make his appearance, something he could not do without them. So Mugabe’s claim last week after the opening of parliament that the liberation war couldn’t start without him is not just ridiculous but also presumptuous.

His reluctance to be at the starting point when parties were formed tells us much about his concern for nationalism. In fact, his opportunism is laid bare in Dinner with Mugabe.

Double standards

Somebody else with a penchant for nationalist pretension was having trouble with his British visa application last week. Karikoga Kaseke was busy complaining bitterly that the Brits would not give him a visa to visit the EU.

Muckraker was not shedding a tear. This is a gang that lives off the proceeds of private-sector revenues — hotels/travel etc not to mention the latest Mercedes. Kaseke is among worst of the parastatal heads, living off the fat of the tourism industry but giving nothing back.

The EU should not indulge them. They are Zanu PF looking good. Don’t let them get away with it.

And what was Mugabe doing at the UN meeting in Vienna? This was a scientific meeting.

Why did Mugabe leave Grace behind? Wouldn’t her PhD have helped there? Just asking.

Good boy

On ZBC’s Media Watch programme on Tuesday, former Zimbabwe’s ambassador to China Chris Mutsvangwa inferred that Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo was not fit to be a member of the ruling party, claiming he was arrested for trying to depose the party’s president during the liberation war.

By this he related to the “Nhari Rebellion” in which some members of Zanla’s Dare ReChimurenga were accused of assassinating Herbert Chitepo in Lusaka Zambia in 1975.

Gumbo was secretary for information and publicity according to Tekere’s book — A Lifetime of Struggle.

The then president of Zambia in 1976, Kenneth Kaunda, set up a commission of inquiry in which Gumbo and fellow comrades were incarcerated. They also included Zanla commander Josiah Tongogara, Kumbirai Kangai, among other top liberation war fighters.

Quite intriguing that Mutsvangwa has positioned himself to exhume the vices committed by Gumbo in order to chastise one faction and silence the other as infighting in Zanu PF has risen above imagined levels ahead of the elective congress in December.

Mutsvangwa, who seems to be striving to assume the “good boy” tag, is simply cementing what the First Lady said during her “meet-the-people” rallies held recently, to ensure all those perceived to be anti-Grace’s rise to political stardom are given the boot.

But then Gumbo’s struggle credentials are really unassailable, especially if you are doing it to promote Grace and her gang of cowards. Self-glorification is not good for Mutsvangwa.

Who’s real war vet?

It’s however increasingly becoming difficult to know who was the real liberation war fighter and who was a sellout during the Second Chimurenga.

Worsened by the fact that some of the real known cadres such as Ndabaningi Sithole, Lookout Masuku (even though there were belated recognition efforts), among others, were denied honour which they deserved when they died, the liberation war tag may not play a major role in determining the next president of the Zanu PF.

It is likely the outcome of this “struggle-within-the-struggle” — as Masipula Sithole called it — in Zanu PF will rewrite history —the faction with mass support, as well as diplomatic backing, will triumph.

Or else the situation may deteriorate into unnecessary chaos largely driven by greed and power-hungry individuals.

Whether it’s Gumbo or Mutsvangwa stabbing each other in the back, the real issue remains — the discord in Zanu PF is a blessing to many Zimbabweans who had for long been blinkered to think Zanu PF was a well-oiled political machine fighting to improve people’s lives.

The beleaguered ruling party is seemingly heading for rupture. Muckraker feels the December congress is the time when the entire simmering political tussle will burst and perhaps split the party into fractions.

Cheap diplomacy

Justice minister Emmersom Mnangagwa told Zanu PF supporters in Midlands this week to shun slogans that were designed to attack individuals.

He single d out “pasi negamatox” and “pasi nemaweevils” — a slap in the face for Grace and cahoots.

He forgot though to tell them that war veterans were bused to flood Zanu PF headquarters to denounce a top party official who they now call Dr 10%.

Mugabe struggled, though with pleasure, to deliver his speech when supporters were continuously chanting that Vice-President Joice Mujuru, party’s secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda, among many others, should be immediately kicked out of the ruling party.

Why wouldn’t Mnangagwa not find such a gesture irritating as much as “Pasi nemaweevils” could be? Isn’t it faking diplomacy and trying to be unifier a little too late?

Anyway with the levels of hate and venom among party members, no wounds can be healed at this moment in time.

What’s left is for President Robert Mugabe to find himself isolated, risking even being booed by ordinary card-carrying members who have now realised he can no longer hold the warring parties together and that he is actually the source of the problem.

Puppets

Interestingly war veterans are now all too powerful to hire and fire party representatives in provinces.

Like irrational puppets, they are simply bowing to Grace’s pressure to consolidate her crumbling empire. She attacked Ray Kaukonde and promised to take action. Jabulani Sibanda who chose not to worship at First Lady’s political shrine has now suddenly become a sellout.

War veterans marched in Marondera this week demanding Kaukonde to step down.

Let’s wait and see, maybe sooner they are going to form an interim government as they wait for Zanu PF to rejuvenate itself into a united front!

Short and Sweet …

President Robert Mugabe was complaining in Austria that former Zambian President Michael Sata was the only person left whom he could pass on his secrets to. He didn’t get the irony why he was the only person left.

By the way Sata was 77, 13 years younger than Mugabe. The generational gap between Africa’s oldest leader and his counterparts in the Sadc region must inform him without any sixth sense required, that he should now be concentrating on storytelling and offering advice to a new crop of leaders.

Now that there is alleged bad blood between Mugabe and Zanu PF’s secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, whom he also once claimed was the only remaining cadre he could share issues with, the isolated nonagenarian must really be feeling lonely.

At that age Mugabe has become an intellectual burden, whose narrations are always immersed in the past but lacking the essence of modernism driving the modern world. Like an ancient industrial machine, he lacks the capacity to suit the demands of an evolving society, where tolerance, technology and mutual understanding supersede tyranny. That is why he persecutes ambitious politicians who express their will to ascend to the presidential throne.

Utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham said: “Whenever you are about to be oppressed, you have a right to resist oppression: whenever you conceive yourself to be oppressed, conceive yourself to have a right to make resistance, and act accordingly.”

Hope Mujuru is listening.

Upon realising Mugabe was now old, if not dysfunctional, the likes of Mujuru saw it necessary to declare their interest in the presidential job, though not openly, and in the process are now subjected to mental torture by being branded as coup plotters by a rival faction.

The development was necessitated by their discovery that they were being oppressed to support a greedy individual, whom they backed for a long time thinking maybe one day he would pass on the baton stick — an event which never transpired. They have the right to resist as Bentham pointed out and if Mugabe had a real friend, the only secret he would tell him was to quit politics and allow for new blood to take over the reins of power.