“When you see a frog jump in broad daylight, you must know a snake is after it,” is an age-old Nigerian philosophy. They are wise words indeed. A few more “snakes” in this country, especially after the wicked, could put the fear of God back in many.
Victor Matemadanda, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association secretary-general, was, at a recent meeting of its leadership, breathing fire. Despite the fire hoses that had been aimed at his direction the previous week, he was more than smouldering. And he had some very good advice for the nation, thanks to the humiliating circumstances that had taken him and his colleagues out of their comfort zone. To every cloud, as the English saying goes, there is a silver lining. This was yet another one.
He complained about corruption going running unchecked; about the corrupt being rewarded. He remonstrated against the neglect of the poor and common man; of the lack of attention to drought and hunger that was killing the vulnerable. He reminded all why he and his colleagues had gone to war to fight for national liberation.
He mourned with the homeless whose properties were being destroyed whilst the land barons, the real culprits in the tragedy, enjoyed the proceeds of their mega frauds seemingly beyond and above the arthritic law. He talked of the lack of the rule of law and the need to uphold constitutionalism. He even profiled an exemplary, disciplined soldier, who is a friend of the people, and not a political party activist. He went further to lambast tribalism, the scourge that has seen us with a bloated, ineffective cabinet, besides other bloated institutions. Pope Francis, named after the patron saint of the poor and oppressed, would have been impressed.
At the gathering, prompted by some (well-deserved?) vote of no-confidence in the association’s leadership, it seems no mention was made for the ill-advised claims of compensation by ex-detainees and war collaborators to the tune of $5 000 each giving an unaffordable total of $2,5 billion. Suddenly, the long-abandoned liberation values, putting the people first, were in vogue. That is how it should be. May the national disciplinary committee of the party boot some more out of the revolutionary movement? That seems to do wonders to the booted-out cadres’ sense of right and wrong and of proper and honest civic and public duty. It is a pity though, that the war veterans had to go through still yet another school of hard knocks to remember their virtuous but old values.
The misfortune of being kicked out of the party unceremoniously seems to stimulate long-lost love for good public governance such as the rule of law, enhancing government effectiveness, genuinely combating corruption, and giving the poor people a voice while holding the establishment to account. Good governance, in particular the rule of law, had previously been held in contempt by many in the party. Not anymore, it would appear. And that is considerable progress.
Better late than never, it is said. Slowly but surely, the nation’s leadership is coming to its senses. In a way, the prayers of the poor are being answered.
Long live the Republic! May God bless Zimbabwe!
Tapiwa Nyandoro can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com