Zanu PF heroes not the standard of righteousness

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President Mugabe on Saturday used the burial of Kumbirai Kangai — who was declared national hero — as a platform to demean political opponents by declaring that the Heroes’ Acre was reserved for what he termed “clean” people who are members of Zanu PF.

NewsDay Editorial

He told those gathered at the Heroes’ Acre to witness the interment of Kangai that those who called for the imposition of sanctions on the country should not to be buried at the shrine.

“They want their zvitototo (buffoons) buried here,” said Mugabe. “We say no. The only people we will bring here are the clean one, heroes of heroes.”

While Mugabe has always held the view that the Heroes’ Acre was the burial place of his minions in Zanu PF, it is laughable for him to call these supporters the “clean ones”. President Mugabe on Saturday fell short of elevating Zanu PF to a religion responsible for the cleansing of cadres and their rebirth.

President Mugabe should be reminded that being Zanu PF is not a qualification to purity or moral uprightness. In fact, the Heroes’ Acre today is replete with bodies of men of questionable moral uprightness; including those fingered in grand corruption.

We know of those who looted the War Victims Compensation Fund, helped themselves to the VIP Housing Fund and cleaned silos at the Grain Marketing Board. Their inequities cannot be airbrushed because of their burial on the hill.

The so-called clean ones, which Mugabe spoke about on Saturday, are his henchman and power brokers who are beneficiaries of political patronage. Mugabe has effectively been able to retain power because of his skill at dispensing patronage.

So, in spite of a marked decline in the well-being of the nation and evidence of the resultant public disenchantment with Mugabe over the course of his long tenure in office, the selection of his inner cabal has stood him in good stead.

His Cabinet, the securocrats, the top levels of civil service and parastatals, are all full of people who have been given good material reasons to remain personally loyal to him despite the poverty all around us.

This is the essence of clientelist politics which has taken root in this country. This means a lot of the resources that should be going into education, renewing decrepit infrastructure, equipping hospitals and investing in electricity generation are actually wasted through patronage.

These apparatchiks are the clean ones who have been “saved” by the Zanu PF messianic fervour. They are the ruling elite who have amassed huge personal fortunes for themselves and their relatives while the country as a whole goes to hell in a handcart. They are not clean.

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