What is it that eats President Robert Mugabe so he is unable to speak logically or kindly of others?
Last week he was abusing former Zanu PF Harare Province chairperson Amos Midzi who is thought to have committed suicide.
Instead of upholding the aphorism about not speaking ill of the dead, there he was waving his fists at the recently deceased.
The Midzi family described their late father as a compassionate man and dedicated Zanu PF cadre who often sacrificed family resources to fund party programmes.
Mugabe’s outburst appears to have been motivated by the growing struggle for power in the ruling party. Mugabe has been declaring certain contests off limits, a policy that does not go down well.
What Zanu PF doesn’t understand is that success lies in consensus. The policy of unilateralism and triumphalism which followed the 2013 election has manifestly failed.
There has been no dividend and Zimbabweans are as divided as ever. It had been hoped that the new constitution would bring some measure of conformity but Zanu PF has used it to plough through its majoritarian politics.
That includes social issues which are features of progressive societies everywhere — except here.
The Sunday Mail was advertisisng its reactionary politics last weekend following President Barack Obama’s victory in the courts over his medical policy which is now universal in the US.
Meanwhile, democrats around the world can derive some satisfaction from two political events. The Dalai Lama’s appearance at the Glastonbury festival which underlined the power of music. And the burgeoning demand in Hong Kong for full participation in the choice of a new chief executive.
Protesters even carried flags with Union Jacks in the corner. Such is the extent of their alienation from China.
South Africa has previously refused a visa to the Dalai Lama, a stance reflected in that country’s failure to uphold basic human rights standards.
Indeed the systematic decline in governance in South Africa, including massive corruption will come as a disappointment to all those who supported Nelson Mandela’s Rainbow Nation in 1994.
So serious is the threat now to that Rainbow Nation that South Africa is no longer regarded as a democratic society. A powerful post- democratic elite now runs the country in the same way as Zanu PF runs Zimbabwe.
Both describe themselves as revolutionary. Neither actually are. They took possession of their countries and are unwilling to let go. The Nkandla episode is emblematic of what is wrong in South Africa. Private needs trump public costs. Cry the beloved country.
Muckraker liked a piece by Ken Yamamoto titled Mugabe: Grand theft leadership and the maturing of a Tsotsiocracy.
“Due to extensive pillage, the Zimbabwean economy is in the intensive care unit. There isn’t much production going on. While Mugabe loves to celebrate the presence of resources, the mining companies are also reeling under a poor economic climate and shortages of power, among other ills. These days he talks less about diamonds because there isn’t much coming from there. It’s a scandal writ large,” Yamamoto writes.
“And what is Mugabe, the supposed pan-Africanist giant’s way out? Each time there is a dignitary visiting the country, be they ministers, heads-of-state or anybody else of importance, they have to take them to Mazowe to show them a dairy business they are running, packing milk and yoghurt. Everything else is dying around him, except his business. All he has to show is a yoghurt making plant, built on money that saw the death of several other businesses.
“A kleptocracy is often associated with a ruling class which treats a country’s treasury as a source of personal wealth, spending funds on luxury goods and extravagances at their whims and caprices. Many kleptocratic rulers secretly transfer public funds into secret bank accounts in foreign countries to create a nest for themselves if removed from power. They normally buy apartments and properties abroad. Their children stop going to local schools and also live abroad. Their wives shun local styles and shop abroad, even for trinkets and petty things like manicure. They shun local facilities and seek medical help elsewhere because they cannot trust their own.”
Wow what a narrative! Wish Mugabe and his wife Grace could read the full article.
The alleged scuffle rocking the ruling party is not extraordinary. It’s a manifestation of dishonesty, greed and political ambitions harboured by the two vice-presidents.
Unfortunately they conceal the truth that they also want to be presidents — the same crime Zanu PF says Mujuru committed.
Guided by fear, they pretend to respect Mugabe whom they know is the reason for Zimbabwe’s slide into the economic woods.
Who in his or her proper senses doesn’t realise and concede that Mugabe is too old to be a national leader? Can anyone be fooled that Mugabe is playing to the whims of those who want to continue looting, derailing his status as a sober statesman?
Mphoko, who was reported in this paper as having played dirty tricks to taint Mnangagwa by seeking documents linking his ‘nemesis’ to Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces, is undoubtedly strategically position himself. Remember he also refuses to be called second Vice-President.
Doesn’t this testify what Ibbo Mandaza highlighted in his book Zimbabwe: The Political Economy of Transition 1980-86, that after every revolution, there are always chances that another revolution begins?
The infighting that ousted Mujuru from Zanu PF before its December congress is likely to escalate, with or without Mugabe as its leader.
No wonder Mugabe asked Information minister Jonathan Moyo to leave the cabinet room, as reported by this paper last week. “Why are you here?” was the alarming question, and the struggle within the struggle continues as Zanu PF nears its political demise. Unending purges serve to please a few individuals, but the broader spectrum shows Zanu PF is carrying the metal yoke of political confusion.
Interestingly, the ouster of the gamatox faction seems to be fuelling more misery and misunderstanding in the party.
Muckraker believes Mugabe must face the heat — he is the architect of the mess. He must note that clinging onto power is the source of all these troubles in his party and outside.
Mugabe confessed this when he addressed his party’s Youth League in Harare last week. The Daily News on Monday quoted him as having said, “If you are choosing between my two vice-presidents, you are beginning your own Gamatox (Mujuru faction).
“They (the VPs) occupy equal sphere. If you say you want this one to succeed, you are already bringing division within the people and this so soon after our election. The people will choose when the time comes, and you will be part of that process, but don’t get divided by that question now,” he said.
The issue of vendors continues to steal the limelight in media circles. It appears Zanu PF and the opposition MDC-T all want to seize the opportunity to win votes. Surprisingly the beleaguered ruling party, which issued a threat to evict them from the streets recently, is now in the forefront to register them.
Why would a government that claims to be clear on its policies keep on changing them to suit specific interests? Allowing vendors to trade their wares in streets, which have now become congested in every open area, is by no means a way of appreciating informal traders, it is simply a political ploy to cement Zanu PF’s support base.
Known for being corrupt and unscrupulous, government officials will ride on the back of street vendors to strengthen their political clout.
Vendors, who were likely to be the litmus test of Zimbabwe’s political situation, if they were forcibly evicted, remain a threat to the stability of the status quo, that’s why there is no clear decision concerning their eviction.
Anyway, with company closures and shocking unemployment, vendors are likely to remain on the streets until the economic environment transforms.