HomeCommentWe now live in treacherous times

We now live in treacherous times

Every day, the never-ending scandalous actions of Zimbabwean politicians are reminding me why politics is the second oldest profession in the world.

Candid Comment,Brezhnev Malaba

From where I am sitting, there is really no difference between the oldest and second oldest professions — if you catch my drift. During a trip to East Africa sometime back, I enjoyed a cartoon in one of the local papers. It portrayed a man and a woman who had just met and, to break the proverbial ice, were introducing themselves. Said the chap: “Hi. I’m 32. I’m a politician and I’m honest.” The woman then said: “Hi. I’m 29. I’m a prostitute and I’m a virgin.” Here is the deal, if you believe that there exists an honest politician under the sun, then you should equally accept that a prostitute who is a virgin is indeed walking the earth somewhere out there.

Is there anyone you can trust in Zimbabwean politics?

Temba Mliswa is spitting in Morgan Tsvangirai’s face a few hours after the MDC-T leader helped him win the Norton seat. Didymus Mutasa is making frantic midnight phone calls to Robert Mugabe and this must be utterly unsettling to Joice Mujuru. Mugabe, himself the grandmaster of Machiavellian shenanigans, is playing one Zanu PF faction against another. Poverty-stricken cyber activists, masquerading as heroic defenders of human rights, are willing to kill each other over donor funds.

The stench of public cynicism is overwhelming. But what do you get when you combine mass cynicism with mass cowardice?

We have become, after all, a nation of cowards, have we not? The calculus is self-evident: mass cynicism plus mass cowardice equals psychic epidemic. Ladies and gentlemen, we are a sick, cowardly nation in many respects.

Whenever I am reminded of the nexus of politics and deception, Harold Pinter’s observation comes to mind: “The majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.”

In this country, you can trust a politician at your own peril. This is the era of post-truth politics. The bottom line is that politicians have the same genetic makeup — whether from the ruling party or opposition.

Tsvangirai used to loudly denounce Mugabe as a murderous tyrant. But when he was given the post of Prime Minister in 2009 and began enjoying afternoon tea with Mugabe at State House every Monday, he emerged from the presidential palace giggling like a besotted school girl.

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