From storm in a mug to a bad hatchet job

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Q&A/Opinion -

SOME­THING is clearly wrong in the state of our pol­i­tics in Zim­babwe. Some­thing so sad, so out-of-place and so rot­ten. You do not have to be a pro­fes­sor of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence to see this self-ev­i­dent truth.

(In fact, as can be demon­strated, there are some quite learned peo­ple out there who fail or fuel con­fu­sion in the body politic, where there are ac­tors; or when in the academia and com­men­tariat, fail to cor­rectly read the pol­i­tics of the coun­try!)

If you look at how most politi­cians across the po­lit­i­cal di­vide con­duct them­selves and their pol­i­tics, you get this un­easy feel­ing in the pit of your stom­ach - some kind of sick­ness.

By con­trast, look at Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe: a distin­guished na­tion­al­ist leader who has spent the ma­jor­ity of his rich life pur­su­ing a path of hon­est pol­i­tics un­der­pinned by a set of con­sis­tent be­liefs.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe speaks and acts truth.

He has re­mained the ul­ti­mate gentleman in the pol­i­tics of the coun­try, per­son­i­fy­ing clar­ity and pur­pose of peo­ple-ori­ented ide­ol­ogy.

His record speaks for it­self: from aban­don­ing the com­fort­able life of an ex­pa­tri­ate teacher in Ghana, com­ing home in 1960; through the early na­tion­al­ist move­ment and Ian Smith’s jails; the bush war of Mozam­bique right into In­de­pen­dence and its emerg­ing chal­lenges right up to date.

You can­not find fault in the his­tory of the man.

He is a tow­er­ing his­tor­i­cal and po­lit­i­cal fig­ure clad in big shoes.

It is some­thing that gives us pride as Zim­bab­weans, and the ven­er­a­tion that the Pres­i­dent has even out­side the coun­try, is a tes­ti­mony of his stature and legacy.

But it is also a tragedy in it­self.

Over the past years a lot of pre­tenders have tried to ei­ther com­pete with or out-stature Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe.

They have failed, some of them quite dis­mally.

And if you talk about the likes of Egypt Dzine­munhen­zva, a Lang­ton Toun­gana or a Shake­speare Maya, the fail­ure has even been trag­i­cally comic.

The op­po­si­tion has failed to dis­lodge Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe for all its ef­fort, es­pe­cially as rep­re­sented by the face of Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai since the turn of the cen­tury.

Ts­van­gi­rai him­self, spent and shriv­elled, is head­ing south of his lead­er­ship of op­po­si­tion af­ter close to two decades at the helm.

That the op­po­si­tion whether es­poused by the MDC-T, or con­tain­ing var­i­ous other play­ers singly or in con­cert - an at­tempt at conso­ci­a­tion­al­ity be­ing made - has failed to take on Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe is now a self-ev­i­dent truth.

A suc­ces­sion tragedy The real tragedy lies within ZANU-PF.

The story of “suc­ces­sion pol­i­tics” has been with us pos­si­bly for the last quar­ter cen­tury.

Whereas in ear­lier days it was dis­cussed in hushed tones and be­hind closed doors in con­spir­a­to­rial whis­pers, to­day the pol­i­tics is play­ing in the open like some mad opera that never ends.

It is play­ing out in ho­tels, restau­rants, bars and farms.

Its sound is per­va­sive and dis­turb­ing.

And amid the mad­ness is the rhythm of a mad­den­ing streak of pol­i­tics that has come to iden­tify the fac­tional pol­i­tics in the rul­ing party: a value-free par­a­digm, a fight for egos and sense­less frat­ri­cide.

If you thought we had seen the worst of this brand of pol­i­tics in the last two years, you will be dis­ap­pointed.

The year 2017 is set to be ex­po­nen­tially uglier, nas­tier and dirt­ier.

Last year closed with the an­nual ind­aba in Masvingo in which the party com­mit­ted to “Move with Zim As­set in Peace and Unity”. Alas, who is heed­ing that? The rul­ing party is at war with it­self along the in­fa­mous and much-fa­bled G40 and La­coste fac­tions as of­fi­cials and pup­pets from the re­spec­tive fac­tions have been tear­ing at each other.

And the nadir came in what G40 has called the “mug saga” in which some in­di­vid­u­als took is­sues with Vice Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa pos­ing for a pic­ture along a busi­ness­man with a mug em­bla­zoned “I am the boss”, un­der­stood to be a Christ­mas gift from some­one.

This has led to all kinds of spec­u­la­tion with Vice Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa be­ing ac­cused of seek­ing to over­throw his boss, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe.

The story has dom­i­nated news and all sorts of con­spir­a­cies have been thrown around, and the po­lit­i­cal com­mis­sar of the rul­ing party even com­man­deered his hand­picked provin­cial chair­men to make an­other kind of “Mafioso” res­o­lu­tion.

The in­fa­mous Mafioso res­o­lu­tion, it will be re­called, called for the strip­ping of Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe’s pow­ers to ap­point his deputies, was made uni­lat­er­ally by Mashona­land Cen­tral provin­cial chair­man Dick­son Mafios, who hap­pens to be the half-brother of the na­tional com­mis­sar.

The meet­ing on Wed­nes­day, com­man­deered by Ka­sukuwere car­ries that strong smell of mis­chief, and as we re­port else­where, there is to be a huge fall­out from this lat­est Mafioso-sque res­o­lu­tion by hand­picked chair­men.

And all this is cer­tainly be­ing played out to cul­mi­nate into drama at some imag­ined am­phithe­atre at the Harare In­ter­na­tional Air­port when Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe re­turns from his an­nual va­ca­tion in the com­ing weeks. The stakes are be­ing raised. The long knives are be­ing sharp­ened.

Hatchet job Then you have an oth­er­wise re­spectable jour­nal­ist be­ing asked to go be­yond the call of po­lit­i­cal-fac­tional com­plex duty to mas­sacring other jour­nal­ists through out­right lies.

We are talk­ing about Gil­bert Nyam­babvu and his Newz­im­ team who this week sunk to unimag­in­able and shameless depths to try and link The Her­ald’s Edi­tor to an al­leged po­lit­i­cal meet­ing held at a vil­lage called Ma­panzure in Zvisha­vane.

With­out any shred of proof, and in a shock­ingly bad hatchet job, newz­im­ while re­port­ing on the at­ten­dees of the said meet­ing com­pris­ing of politi­cians and al­leged army gen­er­als, went on to state that, “Cae­sar Zvayi, the edi­tor of the stri­dently pro-Mnan­gagwa Her­ald news­pa­per and his po­lit­i­cal edi­tor Tichaona Zin­doga were also seen at the shindig where ex­pen­sive whisky flowed well into New Year.”

Not only is this patently false, it also ev­i­dently car­ries the hall­marks of pet­ti­ness that is iden­ti­fi­able with some fac­tional king­pins.

How the pub­li­ca­tion has al­lowed that demon­stra­ble lie to stand, even at the time of writ­ing, tells us about fac­tional and suc­ces­sion pol­i­tics car­ried too far.

As a mat­ter of fact, it is gen­er­ally not lost to us, nor is it hard to imag­ine, whose fac­tional fin­ger­prints are all over this badly done hatchet job.

Some­one clearly sees a stum­bling block in the “State me­dia” and has been heard many times whin­ing about it and even call­ing for a change of guard at our news­pa­per sta­bles.

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