The method in the madness


The amazing thing about the human mind is its ability to forget, particularly those things that are hurtful or traumatic. Presumably, that is God’s way of insulating us from pain.

At every point in our history when we have had difficulty in explaining traumatic events in our society, we have sought to find meaning in chaos by explaining the trauma as some form of insanity.

Which is why, to this date, the land invasions are considered to be some form of madness, and indeed some of the main actors during the land invasions behaved and talked in a manner that confirmed that assertion.

We even coined jokes to justify this belief that they were indeed mad, that way the destruction and trauma this nation experienced was easier to bear.

The same is true of the Gukurahundi genocide; that it was “a moment of madness” was not only a phrase to explain this trauma away, but in fact many people do genuinely and sincerely hold the belief that 20 000 people could not have been killed in the mid-’80s unless this was indeed some momentary insanity.

The sad reality, however, is that for Zanu PF there is always “a method in the madness”.

The latest “method in the madness” is the supposed circus being created in the MDC led by Welshman Ncube.

The public considered Arthur Mutambara’s refusal to vacate the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM)’s post after standing down at a party congress as a clear sign of a man who had lost his marbles.

This is more so given the recent humiliating judgment by Justice Lawrence Kamocha. Many argued that surely Mutambara could not in all honesty insist on being DPM or principal when he had no party to represent. It all looked totally absurd except that by then the Zanu PF strategy was yet to unravel.

What many of us forgot or were simply naïve about was that in Zanu PF there always was and continues to exist a group of people that are anti-GPA, mainly because its mere existence tampers with their power and control over the running of the State.

An inclusive government has made it difficult, if not impossible, to maintain and retain a parallel government. The Mutambara project ensured two things: firstly, it has created such dysfunctionality at principals’ level by placing a phantom leader with no party and no negotiators in the principals’ forum.

What has previously facilitated the negotiations in the GPA was a clear framework, wherein contentious issues were escalated to the principals’ forum for implementation or resolution.

In one act, that forum was killed and since that development nothing has moved.

Secondly, the Mutambara project, in ensuring the stalling of the negotiations, has set the stage for frustrating the work of the inclusive government.

This therefore provided the self-fulfilling prophecy that the Government of National Unity was an unworkable arrangement that could only be ended by an early election in the current context, which would ensure a Zanu PF victory where President Robert Mugabe would win and allow for a fresh battle for succession without Vice-President Joice Mujuru as forerunner.

The irony is that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who himself needs a fair environment to contest the elections, is part of this well-orchestrated plan, albeit driven by different motives.

In his hatred for Ncube, Tsvangirai has chosen to partner with Zanu PF in the Mutambara project, oblivious to the fact that Mutambara’s existence is damaging his chances in a free and fair election.

Sadly, it is the frustrations caused by this project that has made Tsvangirai almost commit the fatal crime of agreeing to an early election outside the roadmap.

The objective of this Zanu PF group is consistent: create such chaos in the inclusive government such that parties are frog-marched to an early election.

It is this same group, in their counter-intelligence strategy, that had almost succeeded in convincing Tsvangirai that he had a better chance with Mugabe as an opposing candidate and hence the “madness” of an early election.

This group in Zanu PF has found convergence with Tsvangirai in their mutual dislike, if not hatred, of Ncube. Tsvangirai in his book At the Deep End unashamedly describes Ncube and his “Ndebele” group as “termites”.

Ironically and frighteningly the late Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi derogatorily described his tribal opponents as “rats”; the Hutus called the Tutsis “cockroaches” before the Rwanda genocide.

The Zanu PF groups loathes Ncube for placing the issue of Gukurahundi on the table and for opening public debate on the simmering ethnic tensions and chilling possibility of other alliances that may upset this group’s hegemony .

That this Mutambara project is a security project was clearly demonstrated on November 11 2011, when during the inter-party meeting State security agents manning the entrance, contrary to the three secretary-generals’ instructions opened a back-door entry for Mutambara’s people.

The fiction of the “new-look” Mutambara executive and the defection of Deputy Speaker in the House of Assembly Nomalanga Khumalo are part of this broader strategy by Zanu PF in partnership with Tsvangirai.

The MDC strategy has, ever since the split, been to systematically destroy the other MDC by offering money or positions to MPs elected on the MDC ticket. Mutambara has thus provided a form of a warehouse for the MPs who have learnt from the Abednico Bhebhe experience the folly of a public floor crossing wherein one automatically loses their Parliamentary seat.

The recent Parliamentary walkout on Ncube by both Zanu PF and MDC-T MPs ostensibly over Khumalo’s dismissal is driven by the same strategy.

Otherwise it would be madness for a party such as the MDC-T, whose mantra is stolen elections, to challenge Ncube’s legitimacy as a party leader, while at the same time embracing Mugabe for stealing an election and for firing Labour deputy minister Tracey Mutinhiri for allegedly voting for their Speaker.

Ironically, it is the same people in MDC-T who now argue against an unelected party leader, who in 2000 and 2005 would accuse Ncube of undermining Tsvangirai’s authority because then Ncube was an elected MP and Tsvangirai was not a parliamentarian.

So extreme were some of the actions taken then that in spite of the late Gibson Sibanda being leader of opposition in Parliament, all parliamentary appointments were made by Tsvangirai. In fact, parliamentary caucuses were in the main held at Harvest House.

Simply put, that Mutambara continues to masquerade as a principal with no agent could be perceived as madness, as is the fiction of a party that only exists in the newspapers.

That an MP, more so a Deputy Speaker, can declare “allegiance” to a phantom party and that supposedly “progressive” media houses can write stories based on political analysts who work for the MDC-T only confirms one thing, that for all their failures, Zanu PF are masters in finding a method in the madness.

So each time you dismiss anything, particularly anything with Zanu PF footprints, remember there is always a method in the madness.

Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga is secretary -general of the MDC