“Since when have political expediency and meaningless self-sufficiency symbolism become pan-African imperatives? . . . How do you donate money when you live in a sea of poverty?”
DESPITE reacting like a wounded buffalo to our recent detailed story about how his report into the Saviour Kasukuwere saga was torn apart by Jonathan Moyo in a Zanu PF politburo meeting three weeks ago — by far the most accurate and comprehensive of them all on that issue — and also displaying ignorance of more remote ages about how the media works, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda this week told truth to power.
Speaking at the 2017 Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce annual congress in Victoria Falls on Wednesday, Mudenda all but encouraged Zimbabweans to demonstrate against their leaders and government if they were discontented about something and not act like pussycats.
Zimbabweans have been derided around the region and world about how they have allowed President Robert Mugabe and his regime to destroy the country to this scandalous extent without doing anything to stop the madness.
Furthermore, they have also been ridiculed for continuing to vote for Mugabe and Zanu PF despite their corrupt and incompetent regime which has ruined the economy and impoverished the nation through corruption and looting, while driving millions out of the country. The regime has also perpetrated grave human rights abuses and killed thousands.
Yet Zimbabweans — who are just mainly vocal in the safety of their cocoons, homes, offices, bars and foreign countries, but spineless or in fact cowardly to take to the streets to fight the vicious and failed regime — have done nothing to liberate themselves from their liberators-turned-oppressors.
Clearly, Mugabe and his cronies have become oppressors. They have run down the country, stolen public resources, looted it, in fact raped it and used brutal violence to defend their loot. Even if Zimbabweans, at least the majority, do not want to admit it, they are scared stiff of Mugabe and Zanu PF. The regime really scares the daylights out of them, hence they have been abused and impoverished without fighting back. Here and there, they may have expressed trifling protests, but nothing to shake the regime to its foundations.
Even the main opposition quake in their boots when push comes to shove. When the pressure is on; when the situation is critical or urgent; when the time has come for action, they run away. MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the 2008 elections and ran away to Botswana, leaving Mugabe and his military backers to regroup. Dislodging them now would be much more difficult than in 2008 at the height of hyperinflation and the economic meltdown.
At least Muckraker remains in his trenches; writing and exposing the regime big time despite ominous professional hazards — we do not run away from newsrooms!
But then again as Joseph de Maistre said: “People get a government they deserve.”
Mudenda, for once, was right when he effectively said Zimbabweans are cowards, citing examples of protests against former South Korean and Brazilian leaders as examples, as well as South Africans’ confrontational attitude towards leadership and policy failure, including police brutality and service delivery inefficiencies and cock-ups.
Responding to a question on holding leaders accountable from a delegate, Mudenda used the examples of former South Korean and Brazilian presidents Park Geun-hye and Dilma Rousseff, respectively, on how when they got embroiled in corruption scandals and got removed amid a wave of popular demonstrations.
“Take South Korea, where the former President (Geun-hye) was involved, through a friend, in certain dealings, the electorate stood up and said ‘the president must be prosecuted’,” Mudenda said.
“She tried to stick to power with a host of lawyers, but she did not succeed and she was arrested because of the power of the electorate, they demonstrated against her behaviour.”
Mudenda went on to cite how Rousseff faced the same fate when she got embroiled in corruption scandals. “So you have parliament working there, you have got the executive and judiciary working there to get things corrected, but the power of the people is more biting when they stand up and say enough is enough,” he said. “But, that culture is not yet in Zimbabwe. It is there now in South Africa, but in Zimbabwe we are law-abiding to the extreme.”
There you have it folks, the Speaker of Parliament has spoken!
Mugabe took his purported anti-imperial heroics and posturing to the African Union (AU), donating more than US$1 million to the organisation, a feat described by Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi on the state-controlled ZBC TV and other propaganda mouthpieces as “pan-African”.
What pan-Africanism? Since when have political expediency and meaningless self-sufficiency symbolism become pan-African imperatives? Mugabe was merely donating to appear like the only remaining Godfather of pan-Africanism on the continent and posture as someone who values self-sufficiency ahead of donor support and dependency. He must first make Zimbabwe self-sufficient and wean it off donor support before going to posture at the AU. Since his regime destroyed commercial agriculture — the mainstay of the economy — through his chaotic and violent land reform programme and hence the current economic turmoil, Zimbabwe has been surviving on donations and handouts.
Before taking this madness to the AU grand stage, did Mugabe consider how impoverished Zimbabwe is now and how it is indebted to Bretton Woods institutions (the IMF and World Bank). How do you donate money when you live in a sea of poverty and your government cannot even pay its own workers, let alone debts of well over US$10 billion?
Is it not ironic for the leader of a nation surviving of on donor-funding to turn himself into a donor and an African Messiah? After all, charity begins at home.
Addressing Zanu PF’s interface rally last week in Masvingo, the clearly frail and old Mugabe laboured through his speech. Pronouncing words was a toll order for him. This is what has now become of the once energetic, vibrant and eloquent leader. He was once an orator, a Machiavellian politician and a statesman of sorts, but never a good leader, before becoming a petty tyrant. But what was most striking though was his lack of understanding of Biometric Voter Registration (BVR), which required the trigger-happy Zanu PF youth leader Kudzanai Chipanga’s intervention to enlighten the president on the electoral system.
Does this lack of interest on what BVR is and what the system’s impact would be in the next elections on Mugabe’s part inform the nation that he knows fully well ahead of vote counting that Zanu PF will, through “nikuving”, again record another stolen victory?
A party’s presidential candidate should surely be aware of the voting system, not that it makes him weak, but shows that the electoral contest he will participate in is a major issue. Muckraker warns the opposition to expect another shocking defeat, despite whatever method is used, if the situation continues like this. If leaders themselves do not understand what BVR is, how would voters, especially in rural areas, master the system?
Let’s have a civilised debate, please!
The next general elections campaigns, now almost already underway, seem to promise an unprecedented degeneration into farcical behaviour and turmoil. Coupled with Mugabe’s succession battle, we are going to see all sorts of political theatrics, chaos and grotesque phenomena.
Why is the current situation different? The reasons could be many and various. However, I could put my fingers on at least two. The first is the feeling that the next elections are of particular significance.
Not a cliffhanger, if ever there was one; but a matter of life and death for both main parties — at least from the point of view of their strategists and top officials. In such a scenario, the lions in the arena will go straight for the jugular.But then the fuel to the whole political situation is Mugabe’s succession. Zanu PF has now descended into a political maelstrom because of the succession crisis. While leadership contestation based on ideological persuasion, ideas and policies is good, the unfolding Zanu PF drama is an ugly affair. The debate has nothing to do with leadership qualities and programmes, but personalities and self-interest of those involved.
Hence, the raging factionalism, infighting and crude insults all over the place.
Recent encounters between Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantino Chiwenga, Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, which drew in Chris Mutsvangwa, showed the debate is simply uncivilised, in fact barbaric. Educated people should not behave like that. Can we have a civilised succession debate, please!