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It’s domination, domination, domination

Opinion & Analysis
The outcome of Zanu PF’s so-called elective congress was as predictable as a one-horse race, not because those who “won” were particularly better

The outcome of Zanu PF’s so-called elective congress was as predictable as a one-horse race, not because those who “won” were particularly better than the “losers”, but because the outcome was predetermined through disqualification on the most partisan and cheapest of grounds.


Elections were done, undone and redone to ensure a “favourable” outcome — like a rugby game which does not end until the home team wins.

So, pro-Zanu PF weekly The Patriot’s editor-in-chief Professor Charles Pfukwa praising President Robert Mugabe for further tightening his already firm grip on Zanu PF by, as Pfukwa put in Shona, “kutema nedemo,” (“expunging”, as he put in English) any dissenters cannot be in the service and enhancement of democracy. The terminology itself is anti-democracy. There is nothing to celebrate about Mugabe getting rid of his opponents by hook and by crook.

What we have been having since independence in 1980 is Communist-style so-called democratic centralism which has nothing to with democracy, but has everything to do with concentration of power in the fewest of few people — the top leadership. Democratic centralism is the Leninist principle that policy should be decided centrally by officials, who are nominally — that is, in name only, not in the real, true sense — democratically elected. It is decision-making practice and disciplinary policy adopted by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and subsequently followed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and by communist parties in other countries.

In such set-ups, a party congress — like we had last week in Zimbabwe — serves as little more than a rubber-stamp for legitimising party policies and directives conceived by the few at the very top to the detriment of democracy.

To remind Pfukwa, all communist countries were or are either de jure or de facto one-party states. In most cases, voters were or are presented with a single list, which usually won or wins 90% or more of the vote. In some countries, those who vote against the sole candidate on the ballot face serious reprisals. This is blatantly and nakedly what happened in the run-up to and during Zanu PF’s so-called “elective” congress where there were no elections as such. The congress did little more than approve decisions already made at the highest level of Zanu PF — the politburo.

Mugabe’s own wife has come into the equation.

Is it going to be two-person rule with the First Lady having access to the President 24/7? A duumvirate — a coalition of two people holding real power — could be in the making.

The First Couple appears to be the new top two in Zanu PF. That is why all those opposed to Grace Mugabe’s elevation have been thrown out.

All indications are that she is on the verge of becoming the second most powerful politician in Zimbabwe not only because of her proximity to the seat of power, but on account of her own political ambitions. She could be the de facto Prime Minister if not also de facto co-President alongside her husband because there is no doubt that she has his ear.

All those wanting to deal with Mugabe will have to come through her. This gives her immense power far beyond her official roles as First Lady and Zanu PF Women’s League boss.

But it didn’t take long for newly-appointed Industry minister Nkosana Moyo to realise he had thrown himself into wrong company. He secretly left Zimbabwe soon after his appointment in 2001 and surfaced in South Africa, from where he announced his resignation.

He became the first minister in independent Zimbabwe to do so, saying he was frustrated by lawlessness and attacks on farms and businesses by Zanu PF activists.

A somewhat angry Mugabe retorted: “I do not want ministers who are in the habit of running away. I want those I call amadoda sibili (real men), people with spine.”

Replied Moyo succinctly some 11 years later back in Zimbabwe: “If you look at me, do I look like a dissident? If I disagree, I got to be put in a bucket where I am said to be disloyal to the State. So, it goes back to the notion of what is a nation State.” Indeed.

Moyo is not a quitter, but a stayer in the sense that he has remained true to the facts and the truth about the state of the nation. That those in charge are in the habit of turning a solution into a problem.

Contrast this with comments from university lecturer Qhubani Moyo after Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s dismissal this week: “Mugabe’s actions were commendable because a President needs lieutenants that he can trust and work with for the country’s benefit.”

This sounds more like apologism — a lame defence or excuse made in justification of anyone; than analysis — an examination of data and facts to uncover and understand cause-effect relationships, thus providing the basis for problem-solving and decision-making.

One of the reasons why Qhubani Moyo’s sojourn into politics ended in dismal failure on July 31 2013 is that voters could not exactly place where he and his party stood. There was no clarity of message vis-a-vis the ruling class that could resonate with voters fed up with the status quo.

Has he considered the distinct possibility that Mugabe himself has become the problem, not the solution? In political parties, fissiparous tendencies — divisions into distinct and separate groups — always rise, more so after 34 years of virtual one-person rule. We should be looking at the politics surrounding these allegations. Some people have kept on pushing back expiration dates to their political careers through various tricks and subterfuges.

Combine this with the fact that some young, inexperienced and excitable journalists who think they know it all when they are functionally illiterate and historically ignorant that they write necessarily narrow and shallow stories fed to them by manipulative politicians, then it’s misrepresentation galore. (This is not to say all young journalists are like that as there are also some brilliant ones and there are also excitable senior editors.)

Last week marked a year after former South African President Nelson Mandela’s death. Wrote Richard Stengel, an American editor, journalist and author who collaborated with Mandela on Madiba’s autobiography Long Walk to Freedom: “He (Mandela) became the rarest thing in African history: A one-term President who chose not to run for office . . . he understood that every step he made would be a template for others. He could have been President for life, but he knew that for democracy to rule, he could not

. . . Two democratic elections have followed his presidency, and if men who have succeeded him have not been his equal, well, that too is democracy.” In Zimbabwe, most sadly, it has not been about democracy, but domination.