Echoes:People’s will unstoppable

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Every picture tells a story.

Report by Conway Tutani

Last Friday, as reported in NewsDay the following day, members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in full uniform raised fists and chanted “Gushungo! Gushungo!” Zanu PF style as President Robert Mugabe arrived to officially open the Harare Agricultural Show.

An accompanying picture was published to corroborate this.

Nevertheless, police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba vehemently denied that the police members had chanted party slogans, attributing this to Zanu PF members seated in the next bay.

It’s a distinction without a difference.

Not to mention that Charamba, in trying to “contextualise” the raising of fists as having a precedent, mixed events from two completely different eras: she mistook the 1968 Mexico City Olympics — when African-Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised black-gloved fists on the winners’ podium to protest racism back home in the United States — for the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where fellow black athlete Jesse Owens shone without making an overt political statement.

Now trying to equate the fist-pumping at the show last week with the epochal events like that is disingenuous. Spokespersons need to have their facts right, not rush to defend.

Only a day earlier, well before the morning rush hour, I had seen, with my own eyes, police recruits on a training run in the city centre clad in T-shirts inscribed “Indigenise, Empower, Employ” (one of the Zanu PF slogans in the harmonised elections held in July) and, with my own ears, heard them chant: Tisu nyuchi dzinoruma! (We sting like bees!)

People watched this in bemused, if not stunned, silence as they tried to digest the gist of the “stinging” message in tandem with the emblazoned T-shirts.

But these people can’t be won over by rough-house tactics as seen in the election results.

This show of power and dominance doesn’t impress people especially when they feel big issues are not being addressed. People want answers; they deserve answers.

Manufacturing — once the biggest employer in urban areas — has suffered greatly. From making new products, focus is now on making new deals – such as in diamonds — which largely do not add anything to the general wealth or gross domestic product, as seen in still empty Treasury coffers and the importation of basics like milk from South Africa, but enrich a tiny few. The political leaders are not keen to discuss remedies to these excesses.

That said, one thing Charamba needs to understand is that she should grow into the role of spokesperson if she ever hopes to be credible and effective at that.

The first port of call for a spokesperson is the truth, not overstated or understated.

Charamba also ought to be reminded that it’s not what you say, but how you say it.

By observing that, she won’t sound like a political party commissar, but as an astute spokesperson. As soon as you cross that line, then you should go into full-time politics.

Nothing personal, but that’s how it’s done.

Going back to the police recruits, what people saw last Thursday could be to do with the ZRP selection process.

Potential recruits are reportedly fed in from party (read “Zanu PF”) structures.

If you recruit solely on those grounds, you are not going to get the best for the job.

There are many other criteria. Police are supposed to serve citizens without fear or favour, but party zealots will find that most difficult. It’s like a militia masquerading as a national police force.

It’s important to put the record straight.

If there is anything this nation doesn’t need, it’s people, such as recruits, growing up blindly indoctrinated in their leaders’ political opinions, whether Zanu PF or even MDC-T and whatever the opinions may be.

What they want those recruits to believe is that Zanu PF has the answers to everything. That can’t be correct and never was anywhere in this world.

But matters are not helped by a State media happily promoting these illusions and making sure people do not become too informed.

What we need are citizens across the board who can process ideas on their own, think critically, and help arrive at solutions.

But Zimbabweans — just like the police recruits — are being treated like perpetual juveniles whose political growth has been stunted.
If Zanu PF is to rule for the next century, it won’t be because of sanctions blamed on the opposition, but institutionalised anti-constitutionalism.
It is not sanctions, but subversion of the Constitution making the country a virtual one-party state.

That is the vicious — not virtuous — cycle Zimbabwe finds itself in despite adopting a democratic constitution only months ago. These leaders won’t change to their dying day.

Said former Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in 2010: “I often say that we should not only let people have freedom of speech; we, more important, must create conditions to let them criticise the work of the government . . . The wish and will of the people are not stoppable. Those who go along with the trend will thrive, and those who go against the trend will fail.”

This is tremendous for a country like China coming from a low democratic base as opposed to the regression seen last week at the Harare Agricultural Show, among others.

Indeed, Cde Wen, it’s a matter of when — not if — despite deodorisation or sanitisation of wrongs by official spokespersons.

ctutani@newsday.co.zw

18 COMMENTS

  1. An accompanying picture was published to corroborate members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in full uniform chanting “Gushungo! Gushungo!” I can’t stop laughing at this! Wahahahaha..

  2. politicising state institutions defines a dictator. You rig elections, you abuse and misuse media to your advantage. God is watching! Be truthful senior officer. Tell your bosses to rig the economy now.

  3. You are living in the past Tutani, in fantasyland! Which peoplw are you talking about? MDC people or is it MDC-T people? Get a life and move on, you were defeated.

  4. Apparently, you can hear what a group of people are chanting by looking at a picture. “Gushungo, Gushungo” Kikikikikiki! You can also mutate ink on a ballot box, so the story goes..

  5. taurai mabhunu judging from your pseudonym , you are still living in the past. mabhunu anebasa rei ne situation yatiri nhasi. I wonder why pipo like you are always defending everything. Police are supposed to serve the country not a party

  6. @tauraimabunu, any nation will never desire the services of pple of your character who are unable to process ideas, think critically and help arrive at solutions. that’s the problem we have with the police, service chiefs, the courts and judiciary and pple like you who knows one thing that of spiting venom like a spiting cobra. don’t always rush to defend anything before you critically analyse an issue. shame on you.

  7. Arguing the pros and cons of politicizing the police is one thing, manufacturing stories to support an argument is quite another. How many ridiculous theories and manufactured case studies of murder, torture, rigging, selling the country to the Chinese etc are doing the rounds vs. facts and credible evidence. Are we as a nation reduced to this level of ignorance?

    • An example, the lies about a manufactured constituency where all manner of rigging took place found itself on the famous dossier of ‘evidence’ that was later withdrawn on the basis of yet another fabrication of a biased bench.

  8. The right thinking Zimbabweans who challenge that and other pieces of fiction on this forum are usually labeled CIOs.

  9. The sub title to this article is “Every picture tells a story” and the writer claims that you can clearly see the officers in uniform (a fact) and chanting “Gushungo, Gushungo” (ridiculous)! How is that possible? Why stretch the truth to make a point?

    • Your feverish responses tell it all. Why don’t you take time to reflect before you react? It reflects more on you than me. I must have rattled you. They say the truth hurts. Please cool it. You have a whole weekend ahead of you. And, of course, you and me have fundamental differences of opinion and it’s only natural. I don’t get worked up with Mahoso. The other option for you is to completely avoid me.

      • But do you agree your Political Party, MDC-T, was walloped by ZANU-PF?
        Do you agree that there was never any rigging as you pupport to say (not necessarily in this instalment of your weekly contribution)?
        Do you agree that you have no shred of evidence of any rigging except wanting to paint scenarios of rigging? Iy you had, you could have made it public by now.
        Ndizvo zvawainetsera kuTegwani izvozvo, not to have a mind of your own? Let go and plan for 2018?

  10. Some people try as they may to cover the truth with lies and further lie that they are farmers when they spend most of their time on computers defending the stolen elections.Sorry kwazvo.

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