GENERAL Constantino Chiwenga did not read much Shakespeare because he was busy fighting to liberate this country from the yoke of colonialism war — which he joined early in his life. So he probably never came across the popular “quality of mercy speech” in The Merchant of Venice.
That liberation war was an episode of our history that has been enshrined in the psyche of each and every one of us through our National Constitution and we sing ad nauseam about it in our National Anthem exalting the gallantry of Zimbabwe’s sons and daughters who sacrificed their lives for that noble cause.
But gallantry does not only entail courageous behaviour in battle; it comes with other values that include respect, honour and integrity among others. But most importantly it comes with that greatest of values: chivalry, the “polite attention or respect given by men to women.”
Chivalry also comes with other values, namely courage, honour, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak.
What happened to Marry Chiwenga nee Mubaiwa early this week was gross.
One might argue the law must be allowed to take its course, but often we have seen armed robbers getting their initial remand hearings handcuffed to their hospital beds. This is a common practice that is done in the interest of justice. Why the same could not be done to Mubaiwa boggles the mind!
The law may be the law, but the watching public will see VP Chiwenga’s name written all over the whole episode. This is when they begin to think of the “quality of mercy” speech alluded to at the beginning. Shakespeare wrote:
The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
Marry is accused of attempting to murder the VP while he was recuperating in hospital; she is also accused of externalising foreign currency, both serious crimes. For both she must face justice and for both the presumption of innocence until proven guilty still stands.
Marry is very importantly the former General’s estranged wife and mother of their three children.
This demands that although gravely aggrieved the former General should display the “quality of mercy” since his former wife is so seriously sick.
Mercy in this case doesn’t demand the dropping of the cases but demands the charitable deferment of the trial to a date when she is recovered.
As a decorated soldier Chiwenga should behave like an officer and a gentleman.
Chinos needs polishingalking about former guerrillas behaving badly, one thinks about Joseph Chinotimba (Zanu PF, Buhera South). We all know his background: former security guard turned parliamentarian.
It is a fact guerrilla wars are never known for inculcating human values into their fighters. In a guerrilla war, often appropriately described as a “bush war”, each guerrilla learns nothing but personal survival. This survival is often at the expense of the unarmed majority who must feed the guerrilla and carry out surveillance work for him. Often during that bush war women bore the brunt of guerrilla negligence and abuse. Many a guerrilla abused the young girl called chimbwido often leaving the poor girl with an unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease. The guerrillas’ acts of cowardice included forcing these young women to spend the night with them and quite often the defenceless girls died in crossfire.
Despite carrying the august title “Honourable” Chinotimba, he has failed to discard the dishonourable behaviour of his guerrilla past. Often he is singled out as the most vocal heckler of female MPs, objectifying their physical stature with sexual innuendo. Just like during the war, he sees young women as objects of sexual pleasure. He cannot believe women parliamentarians should stand up to him in fair debate; when he is found wanting mentally, he turns to his baser instincts of misogyny and cowardice. Hiding behind parliamentary privilege he thinks he can say anything about women and get away with it.
Interestingly Chinotimba and other rude male MPs are voted into parliament by mostly women yet they have little respect for them.
Once he transitioned from security guard to MP, Chinotimba should have done the right thing: gone back to school. A bit of book would have polished him on the edges, now it seems he needs serious sanitisation.
The wild, wild west
The level of lawlessness in Zimbabwe is shocking. Highway robberies have become commonplace. In relatively quick succession there have been three robberies on cash-in transit vehicles.
The latest happened at Chivi Growth Point, where armed robbers got away with US$35 000, R350 000 and ZW$2 000 (US$24). The money was being delivered to a money transfer agency Mukuru at the growth point. An earlier robbery had happened in the same manner in Gokwe. Besides these high profile robberies lots of money has been whisked away through robbery almost on a weekly basis.
Has Zimbabwe become the wild, wild west? The Wild West was an era in America “of cowboys, Indians, pioneers, outlaws and gunslingers brought together by the purposes of expansion, defence, greed and reinvention”.
But why has such high profile crime emerged in Zimbabwe? Most of it looks pretty well organised and very likely involves people with military training. What this means is police should look among retired and even serving policemen and soldiers for the perpetrators of these criminal acts. The robbers look well connected and it’s not too far-fetched to say all these “smart” robberies are based on inside information. The robbers are always at the right place at the right time.
But why haven’t security companies that ferry loads of money to remote areas thought of involving the police in the movement of money in the first place? Money-in-transit vehicles should move in police convoys. But our police service being incapacitated as it is probably doesn’t have the armoured vehicles that would help.
But security companies should also be held liable for these robberies. It’s clear their own people are involved and so should transition from using road vehicles to using helicopters which are faster and safer because even our sharpest criminals haven’t gone airborne yet in their criminal exploits.But if cash-in transit heists should worry everyone, the gold wars should really awaken government to the extent of the problem.
This week Mfurdzi Game Park was turned into a real battleground. Miner, John Maungwa reportedly lost control of his gold rich mining claims to one Shantelle Chikafu, and Oscar Gorerino (Zanu PF, Shamva North) after two nights of violence which left nine mine workers seriously injured and vehicles as well as mining infrastructure destroyed. Interestingly this serious fighting involved a legislator and a well-known woman who once claimed to be the daughter of the country’s president. What this all confirms is that these gold wars involve powerful people who the police are impotent to fight. How else would a gun war last two days and two nights without security forces intervention?
Another thing that must concern the powers that be and the common Zimbabwean citizenry is the ready availability and proliferation of arms in the country. These armed robberies and gun battles between rival gold buccaneers show that the country can explode any time into war. Insurgences such as that ravaging the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delagado must have begun with a few armed bandits looking for loot before they managed to create a cause. Now the small insurgence has turned into a full blown war. The same could happen to Zimbabwe.