WITH the most dangerous factionalism games Zanu PF has been playing and continues to play, something drastic and tragic was bound to happen sooner or later.
By Conway Tutani
And so it did last weekend when a deranged Zanu PF youth, Proud Mupambwa, cold-bloodedly axed two party colleagues to death in Chitungwiza in a clear case of overkill. The worst-nightmare scenario became real.
It’s not surprising that it has come to this as it was building up to that with the insults traded between the rival Zanu PF factions becoming more and more toxic. The hope is that Zanu PF apologist Tafataona Mahoso will not see – against his known predisposition and propensity – some Western or white conspiracy behind this most violent and most vicious form of homegrown terrorism, which, in actuality, is being fuelled by the worsening faction fights in the ruling party with their “degrees in violence”, as they have openly boasted. This glorification of sadism is morbid and disgusting beyond words.
The atmosphere was already highly poisoned. Now you throw intellectually-challenged youths into the mix and the potential for disaster becomes real. They are carefully and purposely chosen because have no stake in the community. They have nothing to lose whereas people with roots in the community won’t go to such excesses. They have an emotional stake in the outcome; that something which binds a person to perform some action – such as calling for restraint and giving respect to everyone – because of their attachment to the community and what they have invested in it materially and devotedly.
But these dregs of society – such as Mupambwa – don’t know when to stop. They are lumpen to the core. You cannot tread softly on such parasites and vermin; you cannot go easy on them, but expose them for what they are. None of the Zanu PF top brass would have them as their sons-in-law or daughters-in-law. That’s how bad news they are in the neighbourhood. All they bring is never-ending trouble into people’s lives. You don’t ordinarily invite them into your home, but they still barge in anyway to commandeer your private space to hold their meetings or force-march you to one. The Chipangano hoodlums are not typical Mbareans. Most of them are complete outsiders who do not have the slightest inkling of what makes the community tick; neither would they care. What’s alarming is that here such hooligans are very much mainstream, not on the margins like white racist neo-Nazi skinheads in Europe and the United States.
But you never see them anywhere near Borrowdale where the political elite lives in cloistered peace, tranquility and luxury. They will be driven out promptly as smelly scumbags. As for Zanu PF fundraising events where sitting at a table can cost as much as $100 000, they can never dream of ever being there.
But they are unleashed in, crowded places like Mbare and Manyame Park, which have been turned into battlegrounds to serve the greedy unproductive classes, who insist on greater and greater entitlements and need their numbers in votes in order to triumph over their rivals. The collateral damage won’t reach Borrowdale. They use power, politics and fear disguising their rule as a privileged economic class from the masses, perpetuating anti-democratic practices like the violence that has resurfaced in Zimbabwe.
This is neither peddling falsehoods nor seditious as Nathaniel Manheru (alias Presidential spokesperson George Charamba) all but confirmed this when he wrote last week: “. . . personalities have replaced big goals, big programmes and big ideas. Society focuses on individuals, gets polarised around this or that petty official. Today society is transfixed around fights for sinecurism, fights for positions, not visions.” Any worse indictment of the regime from one of its own?
Some of these youths don’t know Zanu PF for what it is. They are fighting for causes they barely understand. They have been blinkered from seeing moral clarity. They look for something merely to affiliate with. They just attack people. There is no ideology. That’s how nihilistic they are. That’s why they proudly but morbidly call themselves Al-Shabab and Taliban. What good really can come out of that?
Worse, some of the youths who are criminal to the core or career criminals are attracted by sheer violence, not any policies such as empowerment or ZimAsset. They don’t give a hoot what ZimAsset means – they don’t know and don’t want to know. They get a high from beating, clubbing and even killing people. The more the chaos, the more they feel empowered. Would it then be wrong to deduct that there is an overlap between Zanu PF youths and the criminal underworld and that Zanu PF is fishing in that dirty pond? The ruling party’s top ranks have highly intelligent and manipulative characters who are best at this.
Would a person who is gainfully employed have done what Mupambwa did? No; they will be busy doing something constructive and positive for themselves and their families’ livelihoods to the benefit of the nation at large, ZimAsset or not, because they still have human values despite the inhumanity – imported and imposed from outside – going on around them.
That is the beauty and strength of the human spirit. There are no walls around the human spirit. The human spirit cannot be imprisoned. That’s why the regime, after doing all it can to intimidate people, still has Plan B – vote-rigging – ready for activation.
That’s why the cowardly Mupambwa – who wanted to be the big man that he was not, who was a giant in his own mind, but ended up committing suicide after his horrific crime – won’t be missed in the community. Manyame Park lives on!
No party or faction – none whatsoever – is worth killing for.
●Conway Nkumbuzo Tutani is a Harare-based columnist. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org