HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsZimbabweans pay dearly for silence

Zimbabweans pay dearly for silence


First Lady Grace Mugabe has already had more than her fair share of roosters. She would not cry foul if Christmas does not come, or gets delayed.


Her ascendancy to the politburo, coupled with her daughter’s wedding and her graduation with a doctorate degree, are pleasantries of significant proportions.
Yet, the Zanu PF congress was downright much ado about nothing. Dominated by acrimonious punches below the belt, it was predictably tedious like a ride on a fabricated playground horse which only rocks backwards and forth yet affixed to the ground.

A stateliness crowning glory, a “congress road” named after her, is the embodiment of her purple patch. However, as the sun outwardly appears to be graciously rising and shining for her, inwardly, ominous silence enveloping the nation on the prelude to her rise was too grave to ignore.

Despite being extolled to the sky by praise singers, she is best advised to be cautious of many a practical slip between the cup and the lip. It could soon be apparent that by being fast-tracked to the apex of the Women’s League, in actual effect the party conversely fouled the nest than feathered it.

Given the all-encompassing power President Robert Mugabe has, the party absurdly mortgaged itself to the First Family by crowning his wife. With all the eggs now in one basket, the party deprived itself of checks and balance mechanisms as decisions will be made in their home than boardroom.

Like all ancient presages, the advice against putting all eggs in one basket can only be ignored at one’s peril. Only the utterly naïve dare violate them. And, Zanu PF would be foolhardy if ever it thought that its eggs are secure in one basket, more so as Mugabe is now effete due to advanced age.

All things being equal, her nomination could not have succeeded beyond the first instance. If left alone, along the unpaved and rutted tracks of guerilla party politics, Grace would be found wanting, not sturdy enough for what it takes to either lead the Women’s League or preside in the politburo.

There are no ways her nomination could have passed the effective reductio ab absurdum test — the scrutiny of a proposition to show that its conclusion can only be absurd. Save for the Trojan horse role she played under disguise of meet the people tours and meetings, nothing else warrant her ascendance.

However, history is replete with organisations which drove themselves into extinction by simply putting all eggs in one basket. Ask even a novice on risk reduction management, and they would vouch on the merits of spreading risk than heaping it.

With the exception of Grace’s ascendancy, which now renders Zanu PF a Mugabe family entity, the congress flickered like a candle in the wind. It could have garnered credibility if it had tackled pressing issues, among them succession and the economy, that have long dogged the party and country.

Proceeding with the congress with no regard for the mortal fear wrought on cadres deemed to be “in the wrong basket”, confirms the widespread view that the party is more militant than democratic. And, rowdy youths who are virtual law unto themselves affirm the preference of harangue over dialogue.

Zanu PF behaved injuriously by setting forth youths and war veterans on the rampage against some cadres. And, Mugabe was mordant, contrary to the image of an impeccably grounded and rounded leader he wants to be seen as by publicly condemning his subordinates without affording them opportunity to privately defend their innocence.

Mugabe might be made of stern stuff, but tranquilising effects of ripe age can no longer be discounted. Yet, he prodigally harped on liberation history in a self-justification sermon aimed at portraying himself as well-intentioned as angel Gabriel amid the interparty strife.

Regrettably, unlike bad wine which can be dispensed with either by throwing it away or gulping, the parroted congress resolutions have a binding effect on citizenry. Given that Zanu PF is the ruling party, all and sundry are bound by its decisions regardless of one’s political persuasions.

Martin Luther King Jr stated a universal truism; his candid, “our lives begin to die the moment we keep silent about things that matter”, is pertinent as Zimbabweans pay dearly for silence amidst decadence. They coy than demand accountability from leaders.

Their deafening silence, even as leaders become brazenly base, amounts to gross contributory negligence. If ever they voice, they do so in mutedly. The cholera outbreak is a case in point in which they buried their perished dear ones without raising even a whimper.

Yet the epidemic could have been averted by simply having water flowing through their taps. Now, with hospitals asking patients to bring their own drugs, drips and dressings, citizenry strangely bear the brunt in silence.

When former United States President Bill Clinton got embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky salacious affair, the entire country was in unison, calling for his impeachment. They jealously guarded their moral values; hence the unanimous call on the President to resign.

People get a government they deserve; Zimbabweans were muted when an underhand flirtatious office romance blossomed in the President’s Office in the 1990s.

Now, amid the silence, the unfazed couple is piquing itself, rubbing hands and licking lips with glee, contended over its consolidation of power.

However, cadres who were cast in the wilderness for their opposition to the candidature of Grace have the potential to be a thorn in the flesh of Mugabe. The tide in the affairs of men which Shakespeare spoke about is bound to rise, aiding them to form a party.

With succession wrangling splitting Zambia’s ruling party, the Patriotic Front asunder, in the immediate aftermath of the death of President Michael Sata, Zanu PF looks on Mugabe to avert a likewise debacle. His former in-laws, the Ghananians, have it that when the sack gets torn, the shoulder gets a deserved rest.

lCyprian Muketiwa Ndawana, email muketiwa.mmsb@gmail.com is a public speaking coach, motivational speaker and speechwriter.

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