Information minister Christopher Mushohwe has a reputation for bombastic statements when he responds to anything he feels is attacking President Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe, but as a person responsible for communication, he should know that he does not have to respond to everything.
Comment: NewsDay Editor
If he felt there was a desperate need to respond to Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema’s remarks that Zanu PF officials were cowards, then he should have left it to the party’s communications department or the youth to slang it out with the South African politician.
For starters, Malema attacked Zanu PF officials and the response should have come from the party rather than the government.
But in Zimbabwe’s skewed political landscape, there is a conflation between the State and the party, meaning Mushohwe is caught in no-man’s land, responding to something he should not really have to.
Now Mushohwe has responded to the EFF and Malema’s party has responded in kind, leaving the minister with egg on his face.
Mushohwe is a government minister, Malema and his party are simply opposition and they can say what they want without caring how they will be portrayed.
Had Mushohwe not responded, the story would not have lived through the day’s news cycle, but he has given it a new lease of life.
By having a government minister respond to Malema, it shows that Zimbabwe is ascribing importance to the EFF’s leader and, thus, had to respond and in a very robust manner too.
Malema has got what he wanted, he expected the strong response from Zimbabwe and has the publicity, which is the fuel that urges his party on.
In future, Mushohwe should know that not everything that is said about Mugabe and Zimbabwe ought to be responded to and let alone by him.
Mushohwe’s angry response somehow vindicates Malema, and the government and Zanu PF cannot continue pretending that Mugabe’s age and his long stay in power are not an issue.
The ructions in Zanu PF around the succession issue are all centred around a realisation that the veteran leader will not continue forever and party members are now positioning themselves for a post-Mugabe era.
What Malema said about Mugabe destroying his legacy by his continued stay in power, is nothing new either, as many people have made similar suggestions, but the ruling party obstinately chooses to continue with the veteran leader.
Had Mugabe followed the late former South African leader, Nelson Mandela, the late Tanzanian former president, Julius Nyerere or even former Zambian strongman, Kenneth Kaunda, he would have been revered for being a great statesman, but now that legacy is gone and with it he has lost his aura.