Echoes: Zanu PF ‘traitors’ have nothing to apologise for

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For an almost hermit State such as Zimbabwe, the high interest in WikiLeaks disclosures is inevitable among people deprived of information and a voice.

It is in this institutional jungle that even senior members of the effectively ruling party, Zanu PF, do not have a voice as such and are petrified to raise dissent against the party leader.

For instance, whereas Julius Malema is subjected to the due process by both the ANC and the State, here Jabulani Sibanda is shielded to do as he pleases.

In this jungle, Border Gezi was unleashed against the independent-minded Eddison Zvobgo in 2001.

Responded Zvobgo: “If it were people like Edgar Tekere, Ndabaningi Sithole or Enos Nkala saying this, then I would have paid some attention.

I did not join Zanu PF, I formed it. In actual fact, Gezi and others should be grateful that I formed a party which they later joined.

What Gezi knows about the liberation struggle is perhaps what he has read from books or heard from other people.

This makes him unfit to challenge my genuineness,” charged Zvobgo. Now Gezi has been reincarnated, in the political sense, in the form of Sibanda.

Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo wrote in the State media this week:

“The new mantra in town confirmed by WikiLeaks, whose release is a huge blessing in disguise, is that ‘Mugabe must stay’ as the only acceptable transitional leader and this will be affirmed by the electorate at the next polls.”

This is in the wake of the fallout from secret United States diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks in which Moyo, among several other senior Zanu PF officials, is revealed as having confided in American envoys here about the inner workings of Zanu PF and their unanimous wish to have Mugabe step down.

Now it has been proved that many in the Zanu PF top hierarchy either hate Mugabe or fear him, or both.

A tone of fearful ingratiation pervades Moyo’s writing. It’s understandable that Moyo has had sleepless nights over the matter and sounds placatory in his response especially so following Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa’s vow that such “enemies” within must be dealt with, and threats from Sibanda, whose locus standi still has to be established, against such “counter-revolutionaries”.This whole thing is ugly, and it could well get uglier.

But how can Moyo say Mugabe is “the only acceptable transitional leader”?

How can one be transitional after 31 years in power when he, in fact, is the one whose system should be “transitioned out”?

It would be like a funeral director presiding over his own funeral. So as a political scientist himself, it’s not academically honest for Moyo to come to such a conclusion.

Let’s discuss the true dynamics of transition without fear or favour. The relationship between the leaders of the old and new order can play a critical role in the success or failure of attempts at transformation.

If the effort is to remain peaceful and move towards democratic reforms, both sides must understand they are in a cooperative enterprise.

But the transformational task in situations such as ours poses extraordinarily difficult problems for those who are trying to bring it about, including those Zanu PF officials fingered alongside their MDC counterparts.

Change unleashes not only hopes for a better future for many, but the fears and hatred of large groups of individuals whose interests and values are being challenged.

Totalitarian leaders hit back through terror, intimidation and unrestrained use of State power to coerce support from strategically-placed individuals and communities.

The Soviet Union underwent a series of leadership changes that saw the dying-out of the hard-line, under-educated Marxist-Leninist generation.

Then leader Leonid Brezhnev, who had been ailing for sometime (and who sometimes embarrassed his country by eating State dinners with a spoon), died in 1982. His successor died in 1984, and his successor’s successor a year later.

Then came Mikhail Gorbachev, 54, an intelligent, energetic, largely reasonable politician.

He was fully aware of the horrendous state of the country’s economy: productivity was falling and there was no longer any way to reverse this using the same template.

He then reinvigorated society through glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring).

He overhauled the constitution eliminating the provision that gave the Communist Party a monopoly on political power (Note: The Zanu PF constitution still talks of a one-party Marxist-Leninist State).

That action marked the end of the Cold War. A banner unfurled outside the Kremlin wall carried the rebuke and the admission: “72 YEARS ON THE ROAD TO NOWHERE” (in reference to the communist regime which ran from 1917 until its collapse in 1989).

Russia is now a functional democratic State and has almost seamlessly reclaimed its place among world powers.

Gorbachev sought to bring about a peaceful, systematic revolution by effecting fundamental changes in the constitution, institutions, the distribution of public goods, and the way people relate to each other at work and play.

Through a combination of domestic and international influences, he evolved into a social democrat, creating a less militarised international order and a reformed socialist political order at home.

Likewise, the views of many of the so-called Zanu PF traitors have evolved over the years. That’s why they have been searching for a reformative alternative.

They have been trying to blend the old and the new without discarding the entire legacy of the past. But is seems we are not only getting more and more of the same, but worse and worse of it.

Democracy has only made baby steps, with some leaders refusing to mentally demobilise because they are still stuck in a Cold War ideological mindset.

Now they have been losing the urban vote for a decade. That is how political parties disappear from the map. So those Zanu PF officials labelled traitors really have nothing to apologise for.

What should worry them is that they didn’t say this soon enough and they haven’t yet acted on their words.

“A ‘No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or, what is worse, to avoid trouble,” said Indian peaceful revolutionary Mahatma Gandhi.

ctutani@newsday.co.zw