HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnists‘Little birds must not make so much noise’

‘Little birds must not make so much noise’


“Little birds must not make so much noise,” warned Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin in his strategic meeting with Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, in the Second World War documentary.

“Then they were giants”!

The obvious implication must be that noise attracts attention and with attention, all manner of problems set in!

Walter Mzembi, a rural MP with from non-existent to obscure political credentials and who, probably, would still be an nonentity, politically, had it not been for the death of the erudite, colourful and bigger-than-life Eddison Zvobgo, a few years ago, is as arrogant as he is flamboyant.

There can be no question that Mzembi’s new-found place in the sun and political fortunes are a spinoff and windfall inherited from the late Zvobgo’s political goodwill, being a close relative of the late political giant.

Mzembi literally walked into a well- grounded, captive constituency – an impregnable fortress which Zvobgo could have held for a lifetime because of the strength his personality and his rapport with the constituency.

Stripped of all superficial flourishes, Mzembi is an inorganic political upstart with no political assets of his own and any political moss that he may now claim to have can only still have a nexus with Zvobgo’s ghost and political orchid!

It seems to me that, in many ways, he even tries to mimic Zvobgo’s intellectual gymnastics and unique idiosyncrasies, but with unimpressive results.

Zvobgo was a different kettle of fish, and a truly hard act to follow! It takes super intelligence, top-drawer academia and excellent social skills, all of which are clearly lacking in Mzembi.

Zvobgo was an intellectual who made his bones in politics, through consistent and persistent investment in nationalism long before the Mzembi is of our epoch were on Planet Earth. He dedicated his life to the liberation of Zimbabwe, and paid a heavy toll in the process.

He had respect for all, even the lowest members of society. He was both sophisticated and simple. He was friendly and seldom snobbish.

It would have been unrealistic for anyone to expect Mzembi to fill Zvobgo’s shoes. They are too big for political dwarfs!

By the kind hand of the President, Mzembi has been appointed to the position of Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, which is a good thing, for it takes different strokes to rule the world, as they say!

The tragedy is, though, that position appears to have gone straight to his head! He is now clearly on an ego-trip! He thinks he has arrived, and deserves the post. He is now in the “high-esteem” league, in his head!

His recent ejection of Dzivaresekwa councillor Herman Karimakwenda, who was representing the Harare mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda, on the alleged basis that the city father was “too junior” to share the high table with him, was cynical, and the height of arrogance, and clearly an assault on Harare residents.

He demonstrated the smallness of his politics.

Since when has a tourism or hospitality function been a “high-esteem event”, whatever that may mean? What is high esteem about tourism (kubvakacha nekugashira vayeni)?

Tourism is a basic platform for all – rich and poor, simple and sophisticated, even back-packers from the dregs of society. It’s not a preserve of the rich and famous.

One may ask, what is “high-esteem” about Mzembi?
Esteem is about great respect and admiration – qualities which even the poor are imbued to and which are certainly not in any way associated with the kind of rank arrogance that the minister displayed by ejecting a humble city father deployed to represent the mayor and the entire population of Harare.

Is it assumed that a city father, of the capital city, is not an esteemed person? Does esteem mean designer suits and flashy cars and pointed shoes – Mzembi’s trademark?

Here is a man who wants to re-define “esteem” to us!
Minister, be cautious, you are swimming at the deep end.

At the risk of sounding rude, of which I have no intention, and I do not mean that the minister is in any way connected to the orangutan family, though his actions are, there is an old saying which goes, a monkey in silk is a monkey no less . . !

So, designer suits and flashy cars do not make a man! It’s a function of “hunhu –ubuntu”(dignified conduct)!

So, what qualifies Mzembi, this one-time oil company depot manager, to this so-called “high-esteem” club, anyway . . . the ministerial position gratuitously given him by the President?

If Danny Meyer, Tony Gara or Charles Tawengwa, in their days as city fathers had been seconded to represent the mayor, would Mzembi have sent them packing as “too junior”?

The mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda, is not an elected city father, he was appointed by the grace of the city fathers who included Karimakwenda, to that position, in case Mzembi didn’t know!

So, why hold an appointee in high esteem and not the people who appointed him? What kind of convoluted logic is that?

Both the mayor and city fathers are highly esteemed officials. Even Mzembi’s indaba with village elders under a tree at Shonganiso in his constituency can be a “high esteem” occasion, Cde Minister! Let’s not be unduly snobbish!

Instances where the mayor has sent councillors, or even council officials to represent him or the city are too numerous to mention, and there has never been any problem, with informed, level-headed and down-to-earth ministers.

Indeed there shouldn’t be any problems, for councillors are elected city fathers and if anyone is esteemed, they are.

The President himself has addressed many high-profile gatherings where the presence of city fathers has been acknowledged.

So, who is Mzembi to churn out such uneducated arrogance? It is said that there is no blindness like ignorance and that, indeed, ignorance is the mother of impudence.

Political diversity should not make our politicians enemies, but should serve to strengthen our political genre.

This was a tactless and embarrassing gaffe Hon Minister. Rise above it and apologise! Perhaps in future, you should not make so much noise about nothing . . !

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