The Herald (Zimbabwe)
From storm in a mug to a bad hatchet job
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 Newzimbabwe.com 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, newzimbabwe.com 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.