It is said that many a time ago, a revered village shepherd fell ill, and hence could not render his service, which was so critical as to be sacrosanct in ancient animal rearing society.
As ill fate would have it, all able men were either absent, unwell, or both. A young mischievous boy, the only alternative, was given the unenviable task of herding the village sheep.
Dreadfully, the task predestined the young boy, lacking obvious stamina, with a potential daunting task of fending off any stalking beasts which had intentions of devouring the treasured livestock and pride of the community.
The elders, wisely mindful of this disequilibrium that pitted wild faunas against a pitiful boy, decided that it was best the sheep graze, and be herded into the hill just adjacent of the village.
This was to allow the village inhabitants to intervene and fend off any beasts, should they approach the herd and the boy, because both were biologically lacking the necessary endowment to defend themselves.
The mischievous boy was given the implicit instruction to scream at the first sign of a “wolf”, and the village would swarm the hill and defend the boy, and the herd. The little toddler, sensing an opportunity to prank the populace, engaged in a series of intentional false alarms that left the entire village incensed.
It did happen, that, given his record of “lies”, when the wolf eventually came to sample the delights of the herd, and the boy, the community ignored the boy’s yells, and yelps for relief. The legend has it that the wolf devoured the boy, and the entire herd.
This is a story that most resonate with well. Hardly any child goes through any education system, no matter how bad, and escapes the legend of the boy who cried wolf.
The moral of the story carries two stern messages. One, if you engrave lies, treachery, corruption and cunningness into your persona, you lose your credibility, and on the day that you have something of sense and value to say, people will not lend even their rabbit’s ear to you. In their eyes, you will be no more than a petty liar! That label will consume even your most sincere truths, and you will never enjoy the attentive attention, even of the most senile citizen.
Secondly and metaphorically, the legend of the boy who cried wolf has become the custom label for a person, who, despite living with, and in abject peril, decides to scream “horror” only at their immediate convenience.
Following their expulsion from Zanu PF and government, ex-secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, former national spokesperson Rugare Gumbo ex-Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and many others have been quoted in various media in varying degrees of scathing language directed at, and very critical of Zanu PF, and party leader President Robert Mugabe.
Mujuru and company have issued apologies to the people for 35 years of misrule, and aiding Zanu PF in its destructive course that has created unfathomable levels of unemployment, a vendor economy, dead industry and zero commerce.
Mujuru apologised for her part in perpetuating tyranny, corruption, running down of State enterprises and parastatals, and violent crackdowns on civil society and dissenting voices.
A crumbling education system, an unproductive agricultural sector, very poor and treacherous road infrastructure, deplorable standards of living, and almost 10 million living in near destitution.
The atrocities don’t end there, neither do the apologies. Mutasa expresses cunning innocence over his role in the Gukurahundi massacres that left a conservatively estimated 20 000 people dead, murdered, maimed, and flung into mass graves in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
The list is near endless, yet insufficient, and lacking justice to the true gravity of the grave past Zimbabwe has been dragged through several years of bad governance, poor policy, and plain cruelty.
Zimbabweans live in utter fear of the next violent crackdown. Even my very mildly critical, but objective reproach of Zanu PF attracts incredibly worrying yet credible and warranted warnings from those who care about my welfare. Fear has become the centre pin of the Zimbabwean psyche because in the country today freedom of speech often breeds captivity after speech.
Opposition MDC offices were strategically bombed, and set ablaze in the years between 2000 and 2002. Several human rights and democracy activists simply disappeared, and some died. Journalist-cum-human rights activist Itai Dzamara is just but the latest addition to this worrying trend by suspected Zanu PF activists and repressive State security apparatuses.
Regrettably, Zimbabwe’s only globally reputable and profitable telecommunication company, Econet Wireless would be a mere pipe dream had Mujuru had her way in the 1990’s. Its founder, Strive Masiyiwa’s account of the torment, protracted assault, and resistance he faced from a then cold, calculating, and unsympathetic Mujuru-led Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications is a graphic description of Mujuru — the Zanu PF warrior.
From the early 80’s, government ministers were involved in one corrupt binge after another, with no consequence at all. Parastatals were run dry, and milked by greedy officials. Development funds and monies were channelled and used for personal businesses, while poor policies were generated at the speed of light.
In the year 2008, an unprecedented splurge of violence was unleashed at the people for their choice to vote overwhelmingly for MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his party. Today the actual number of fatalities and casualties remains largely unaccounted, amid reports of people having their hands, fingers, and arms chopped off by Zanu PF youth militia.
Certain sections of the country remain run by informal mafias with links to top-ranked government officials. Taxi ranks and bus stations are manned by “strong men” who demand a non-government aligned tax/ affiliation fee of up to $5 per trip. The mafias even have the audacity to assault police or soldiers.
For Mujuru, it is especially damning because she was a government minister for all of the 34 years preceding her axing last December. In those 34 years, she was at times the conspicuous enemy of progress. The Econet saga is just, but one of the mildest accusations. Her husband General Solomon Mujuru’s hand in illegal forex deals that were counterproductive to former Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono’s efforts to delay the demise of the economy are another.
Axed Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman and former Hurungwe West MP Temba Mliswa is categorically quoted as saying that General Mujuru pointed a gun at Gono, after he had launched Operation Sunrise, with the intention to cull forex dealers. An initiative that provided temporary respite to Zimbabweans, but cost the Mujuru empire of a good dubious revenue stream, at our obvious expense.
Sometime between 2012-2013, media was awash with reports of Mutasa’s hand in the burning of a primary school going child in a hut. The child’s crime was that he was the son of an MDC competitor.
After 35 years of active participation, preservation, and support of Zimbabwe’s never-ending dark days, it is convenient at the very least, that the once comrades now notice Zanu PF’s badness, especially after a change in personal fortune.
The same group of purged officials were for such a long time the poster boys of Zanu PF. They campaigned and endorsed the very ethos they are all of a sudden so critical of. Ironically, it has only taken this insincere crew a five-minute taste of their own medicine to realise just how bad Zanu PF is, or was.
With mafia monies gone, and the coldness of isolation outside the revolution Mujuru et al are all of a sudden the friends of the people, a people they exploited, tormented, and tortured. A people whose destinies they ruined, futures destroyed and livelihoods annihilated, at times without the consent and to the dismay of Mugabe.
It would be purely naive to believe that Mujuru, or Mutasa were either held at gunpoint and forced to endorse the madness, or that for 35 years they were silently critical and disapproving of the reigns of terror, corruption, and bad governance. If anything, they were at the forefront.
Having accumulated huge personal fortunes that amount into near billions, at the expense of the nation, and while accused of many gross human rights violations, and abuse of office, the Mujuru cabal is all of a sudden the vanguard of the people.
Surely after 35 years of systematic exploitation, cruel administration, and institutional deception, the Zimbabwean people cannot, and will not lend even the proverbial rabbit’s ear to Mujuru, Mutasa, Gumbo et al.
Even if what one has to say is credible, their own reputation will work against them. Mujuru and Mutasa are to some degree correct that Zanu PF has run down the country, albeit with their help. It is the plain truth, but their own reputations of treachery imply that no one will ever listen.
And in this case, the boy may even be the wolf personified, calling out the masses to the hill, so as to devour them, away from the protection of their huts and closed doors. Mujuru and her group are “weevils” Zimbabweans know all too well, and a “weevil” they are not interested in.
The people will not run to the hill to save the mischievous boy. Lying, deception, and stealing are the first nature of the boy, there probably is no wolf, and the boy is playing the people for his own gratification. It is a matter of the boy crying wolf, again!
Maynard Manyowa is a political and social analyst. You can reach him for feedback via his website www.maynardmanyowa.com, via email – firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter – @iAmKudaMaynard or by liking his FB page – Maynard Kudakwashe Manyowa