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Cruel, scary political games

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SOME people high up are pulling out all the stops to ensure that First Lady Grace Mugabe’s political rise is unhindered and absolute.

CONWAY TUTANI ECHOES

This open political favouritism could actually alienate the First Lady from the people; it could work against her. She must sail on her own wind to prove she has political nous, not be seen to be propped by a huge, formidable machinery.

Unless, of course, she is being used as a stalking horse. A stalking horse is someone whose role is to conceal or deflect the actual goings-on by becoming the focal point for someone else behind the scenes. A stalking horse is really working to promote a challenge that will benefit a third party whose identity remains a secret.

Well, the cat could be out of the bag with growing talk that the First Lady could be fronting for the faction led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa in the race to succeed President Robert Mugabe.

Needless to say the whole saga has become as dirty as it can be going by outgoing Zanu PF Women’s League boss Oppah Muchinguri’s recent statement: “Pasi nemadzimai anopisira varume mudzimba! (Down with wives who burn husbands in homes!)” This was an obvious attack on Vice-President Joice Mujuru in clear reference to the death of her husband Retired General Solomon Mujuru in a fire at his farmhouse in 2011, implying that she is a black widow, a woman who kills husbands for money and fun.

Unless you have proof, concrete proof, stooping that low is most unladylike. You can make your point without being disgusting. If you are so disgusting, it means you have no point to make.

These kinds of wild statements almost always come back to haunt the utterer.

They show sickening expediency and opportunism. Why is Muchinguri saying this now after three years of silence?

This makes her credibility doubtful. We want the truth in full, not in instalments, from those claiming the moral high ground otherwise they are equally tainted. If you didn’t say it out then, keep it to yourself forever. “Speak now or forever hold your peace.”

On the other hand, the Mujuru faction must, by now, be beginning to appreciate what the main opposition MDC-T has always been saying, that the political playing field in Zimbabwe is not level, as they are being marginalised.

Denial of this has come back to haunt them as they are now at the receiving end of the same monstrous system which does not know the meaning of fair contest.

Now they are riding roughshod over any and all else, including traditional chiefs.

Chiefs have been in tight corners before, but have always managed to get out of them, thus largely maintaining the dignity, respect and relevance of their office even in the face of rapid modernisation. The institution held on during the colonial times because of strong and deep roots and today because chiefs have moved with the times.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear Chief Zvimba express himself so knowledgeably and succintly on TV the other night, touching on relevant economic issues, not regurgitating ZimAsset platitudes.

So, the view of chiefs as ignoramuses who are not worldwise does not tally with the reality on the ground. They are generally wise to the ways of the world, so they cannot be fooled easily.

But someone at the top wants to perpetuate that caricature of pliable chiefs, which, by the way, was largely a construct of the colonial regime in justifying the total subjugation of blacks as hewers of wood and drawers of water for the “superior” whites.

In furtherance of this construct, we heard Mnangagwa in Parliament this week describe Grace Mugabe as “Queen” on the grounds that every country has its own royalty, that is, kings and queens.

Where, in the whole wide world, have you heard of “Comrade Queen”?

Mnangagwa, being a qualified lawyer, very well knows that this is not the case in Zimbabwe as the country has a republican Constitution with elective, not hereditary, political office and anyone can aspire to any office.

That said, the nearest to royalty in Zimbabwe are chiefs who, like kings and queens, are installed through bloodlines; that is, birth and heredity. But they are not being treated as such, going by a report this week that chiefs had been “tricked into endorsing First Lady Grace Mugabe’s new-found political career during their tour of her private orphanage in Mazowe”.

“We were told that we were going to see the First Lady’s projects. But when we arrived there, it turned out that the meeting had been organised to show solidarity over her appointment to be secretary of the (Zanu PF) Women’s League,” said a chief who declined to be named for fear of reprisal.

It’s most objectionable to pressurise chiefs to dabble in partisan politics whereas they should be above the fray because they are community leaders, not political leaders. Their office is appointive, not elective.

That is the clear distinction which shameless opportunists in this country are trying to blur.

No wonder then that another disgusted chief, who also would not go on record for the obvious reason that he would be dethroned in the same way white colonial Rhodesia unseated and banished chiefs who refused to be used as puppets, said they felt like “cats stuffed in sacks”. The chief said they had no option but to endorse Grace.

It’s no wonder then that chiefs have the distinct feeling of being stifled and suffocated as the political charade continues.

Democracy is about people debating issues animatedly, not threateningly, as we are now seeing. The level of intrigue, I have to say, borders on evil. There is no merciful consideration of an opponent. They are not taking any prisoners.

Who can rescue Zimbabwe from such cruel, scary politics?

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