NOW that President Robert Mugabe has secured his intended outcome by making Zanu PF’s congress non-elective, we thought the lying and fawning season was over.
Like when he wrote a “love letter” to Lindiwe Zulu, South African President Jacob Zuma’s then international relations adviser, facetiously, but not exactly sincerely apologising to her for having labelled her “a street woman” (cheap prostitute) and “stupid” after she pointed out that Zimbabwe was not ready to hold last year’s general election because of the grossly uneven playing field before the polls, which were as farcical as Zanu PF’s just-held so-called “elective” congress.
Fast-forward to 2014: The dirty, venomous language spat at former Vice-President Joice Mujuru is in the same crude class of that unleashed against Zulu.
“Zimuroyi! Zimbuya reku Dotito! (The Witch! The Old, Ugly, Evil Woman from Dotito!),” read placards held by supporters of First Lady Grace Mugabe in her mission to crush Mujuru once and for all. This was murder without bloodshed.
Rewind to 2013: “I love you, Ms Lindiwe, I love you, I don’t hate you. It was a time when everyone was campaigning and one can do anything in order to win the elections,” Mugabe wrote to Zulu. Could this also be applicable to Mujuru and another “love letter” at the drafting stage?
With this wisdom of hindsight, it is most strange that some people are buying into the lie that Mujuru and her “cabal” have been removed from government for corruption and plotting to assassinate Mugabe. Why should people, pardon the pun, elect to have short memories?
Yes, this regime can do practically anything — including blatant lying, cheating and unleashing violence — to win elections and stay in power.
And they celebrate such hollow victories without any hint of shame. That is our misfortune as Zimbabweans.
Those ministers who have replaced the so-called plotters are also under surveillance 24/7. It’s certain every one of their indiscretions is being recorded in a dossier that will be pulled out if they dare step out of line. The pernicious system even boasts about this political blackmail at rallies before thousands of largely unimpressed people as was seen during the so-called Meet The People Tour, where cheap gossip — including tales of a “mini-skirted” Mujuru, never mind the criminal invasion of her privacy — was elevated into a national political issue.
This is what Mpumelelo Mkhabela, Editor of the Sowetan, one of South Africa’s biggest-selling daily newspapers, this week referred to as “political decay in Zimbabwe caused by leaders who have overstayed”. Said Mkhabela: “We are now laughing about the political situation in Zimbabwe when we should be crying.”
The regime has also tapped in into humankind’s instinct for self-
preservation — the basic or base instinct to protect oneself from difficulties and dangers — which often leads people to abandon friends and transfer their allegiance to the rulers. This is being played out in Zanu PF where erstwhile comrades-in-arms have turned against each other. The new ministers will primarily be concerned with self-preservation, not with duty.
Duty comes a distant second. They must look good in the eyes of the biggest boss. As far as status and material things are concerned, these ministers lack nothing, they get everything they want. Because they have so much, they are unable to give it up and will do whatever it takes to keep it. But they do not have the real freedom to just be themselves.
They have very comfortable surroundings, but with restricted or no real freedom as Big Brother watches them closely, even peeking into their bedrooms. You don’t have personal freedom if you live in a golden cage. Someone else decides what you are allowed to do and what not.
People should know what they are walking into. Those ministers and party officials who have survived the chop are not completely safe and secure. The system is turning on them sooner rather than later.
What with Josaya Hungwe being already accused of reviving factionalism for merely being effusive and excessive in his praise of newly-installed Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Last Saturday, Hungwe, who is not the greatest of thinkers and is as excitable as the State media which has rushed to crucify him, said: “The man who has been made VP . . . is the Son of Man . . . I can tell you I received several texts from Bishop Andrew Wutawunashe (leader of the Family of God Church) telling me that the Son of Man will be ordained VP before these things happened . . .” Mixing politics and piety can be dangerous as seen this week in Pakistan, where Islamic Taliban extremists killed 141 people, mostly schoolchildren, in the name of Allah. And so, it was best for Zimbabwe that Wutawunashe’s suggestion that Zimbabwe be officially declared a Christian nation in the 2000 Draft Constitution was rejected because belief cannot be enforced Taliban-style.
I digress, but what Hungwe said was, at the worst, foolishly and ignorantly blasphemous, but politically harmless. Yes, people are now literally scared to come into the open. They have to carefully choose their words because even an innocuous remark might be completely misconstrued for ambition — as if that is a crime — or, in the warped view of the system, factionalism.
Are they already starting to groom their next victims? Like a serial killer who hugs his targets before he stabs them? We have seen deceit, anger, no sense of trust, no sense of guilt — you name it.
Read the accompanying report in a pro-establishment newspaper: “Zanu PF politburo member Josaya Hungwe has sparked outrage for likening Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to Jesus Christ, with analysts saying such slavish hero-worshipping had the danger of creating an alternative centre of power in Zanu PF which the party’s just-ended 6th National People’s Congress rectified by killing factionalism.”
No factionalism was killed, but one faction was preferred — for now, that is, not forever.
All this is based on political Machiavellism: The view that politics is amoral and that any means — however unscrupulous, wrong, evil — can justifiably be used in achieving and maintaining political power.
Disciples of Machiavellism play to win at any and all cost, exploit weakness when they find it, and defend their interests even if it requires a showdown with a partner, friend or ally like Mujuru was, even crushing and ruining them. This lays bare the lies that Mujuru has been removed purely for alleged corruption and plotting assassination.
So, when MDC Renewal Team chairperson Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said last week “that man called Robert Mugabe is brilliant”, had he been mesmerised by Mugabe’s Machiavellian purge of the Mujuru faction?
Yes, the world is not a kind and gentle place, but should purported democracy purists like Sipepa Nkomo find anything praiseworthy and redeeming in the latest chapter of ruthlessness and unscrupulousness in Zanu PF?
Got the picture?