Buckle up, dear Zimbabwean citizen; that ghastly season is upon us once again!
guest column: Luke Tamborinyoka
It is a year before the next election. We are just opening that familiar season of spin, propaganda, outright lies and naked political heresy, as politicians take the centre stage to promise us Squealer’s Sugarcandy Mountain.
However, in the case of Zimbabwe, all that bouquet of lies would be far much welcome than the violence and the political murders that have so often afflicted our elections. The stakes are so high in the next election that one could budget that Zanu PF may have to once again attempt to saunter back into office, literally dripping with the blood of innocent citizens.
It is always difficult for them without violence, particularly where the stakes are sky-high as they are in 2018.
With neither shame nor compunction, and even before the promises made in 2013 have been fulfilled, Zanu PF will, this election season, come up with a fresh bouquet of pledges for the hapless citizen!
Last time they promised to create 2,2 million jobs. Instead, they produced 2,2 million vendors, who have become an eyesore on our street pavements, but that will not stop them brewing new lies for the voter ahead of 2018.
They promised to build 313 000 houses, but all we have seen are a few housing stands (not houses) that were unprocedurally given to Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries founder Walter Magaya and to a motley of unemployed Zanu PF youths. They have not delivered on their promise for houses, but that will not stop them from bringing a new swathe of untruths to hoax us into voting for them.
They promised to indigenise, empower and create employment; yet they grabbed, disempowered and destroyed any prospect of job creation through a raft of senseless policies.
In short, they promised us a highly ambitious programme which they called ZimAsset when in actual fact it should be ZimLiability
They will conveniently choose to forget their deceitful legacy and brandish a new set of lies to the wretched, unfortunate Zimbabwean voter ahead of the next election.
On our part, as the MDC, we will come up with our own promises. We had our own missed targets when we went into government, but we are largely known for delivery. Our record speaks for itself. We largely delivered on our promise of real, palpable change during our short stint in government. Admittedly, we could have done more, but Zimbabweans appreciate what we did while on the wheel of the State.
We, in the MDC, delivered a fairly progressive Constitution to the people of this country, which charter Zanu PF is trying to amend by giving a slap in the face the noble concept of separation of powers. They want to make sure that the Executive both selects and appoints the Chief Justice, itself a primitive notion that is no longer fashionable in this brave 21st century.
We promised real change and we gave it to the citizen and opened schools and hospitals that had been closed under Zanu PF’s legendary ineptitude!
We brought stability and growth and Zimbabweans chorused their appreciation of the MDC’s competent hand on the wheel of government through the popular song during the era of the inclusive government: “Dollar for two yakauya naTsvangirai.”
Yet the Zimbabwean voter has a long memory and still remembers the consistent Zanu PF lies and how their goons will come with new promises and still expect to be believed.
I was in my beloved rural area of Domboshava over the recent festive season. I learnt that even traditionally Zanu PF stalwarts are now tired of being taken for granted. They told me that they were fed up with being duped by cupfuls of rice. They told me they were aware that as usual, the party would bring a cup of Chinese rice for a whole family and expect the same cup to sustain them for the next five years.
Formerly a staunch Zanu PF supporter, a cousin dejectedly told me, as we enjoyed a meal on Christmas Day: “We all know now, Mhofu, that they will try to buy our vote with a cup of rice and proceed to forget about us for the next five years. They will bring another cup to purchase our ballot in 2023. We are no longer that gullible so as to be expected to survive on a cup of rice for five years.”
So, yes, that season is upon us once again; the season of lies, spin and bloodshed. Even before they have delivered on their promises in the last plebiscite, they will bring new ones and still expect you to believe them.
And you cannot rule out Mugabe doing “a Jammeh” on Zimbabweans by refusing to bow out when he is defeated in the next election, as he definitely will. In fact, I would hasten to say it was Yahya Jammeh who did “a Mugabe” on the people of the Gambia because our nonagenarian’s refusal to concede defeat pre-dates the Gambia experience
Indeed, it is this sad context, which makes what happened early this week a truly sombre experience. Nigerian President Muhamadu Buhari, Africa’s mediator in the Gambia, this Monday sent a special envoy to Zimbabwe as part of his mobilisation of African leaders to reject Jammeh’s farce. Sadly, it was lost on the Nigerian leader that he was sending an envoy to Jammeh’s tutors, who for five weeks withheld results when they were defeated by a figure that Mugabe himself later put at 73%.
Expecting Mugabe to assist in dealing with those who cling to power in spite of their electoral defeat is like seeking the assistance of a mosquito in the cure of malaria.
But Mugabe is better warned not to take us for granted again in the next election! He must not expect a cowardly nation in 2018! Things have changed. As a nation, we have now shaken off our fear of the unknown. This time, we will confront the beast if it engages in violence or if chooses yet again to disregard the sonorous hum of the people’s will.
This is a promise and not a threat!
This time, Mugabe, if he engages in his usual mischief, will live to regret any assumption he might have that Zimbabweans are still a fearful lot shrivelling in their haughty lily-liveredness!
As Zimdancehall icon Winky D would say in his powerful lyrics, “Hatisisiko ikoko!” (We ain’t there no more).
Luke Tamborinyoka doubles as the presidential spokesperson and the director of information in the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai. You can interact with him on Facebook and Twitter.