The kingdom is falling apart and there seems to be no turning back. All the structures of the system are sagging and yielding to the pressure of time and age. Age has indeed taken its toll on the system. Indeed, everything that lives is becoming food for the downtrodden as the force of gravity invites to lay in the comfortable arms of mother earth.
Develop me: Tapiwa Gomo
The possible demise is not without drama. The palace is characterised by heckling and tussling over who takes over when the king zooms into his dawning horizon. Marunjeya as the wife of the king has taken centre stage, playing an active role in anchoring the succession drama. Some say it was a choice she made out of fear as at one point, she was reminded that the day the king says his byes to the world, she would be tied behind a donkey cart and dragged along the main road to the palace.
Certainly, in a vicious political context of this magnitude who would not use what they have to protect themselves. And indeed Marunjeya launched and unleashed her political career. Since then she has not relented. She has grabbed the headlines.
It is still debatable if her presence in the politics of the kingdom is good or bad for deciding the future leader of the kingdom. However, what is certain is that the political drama has left the nation in auto cruise. Poverty, disease and destitution continue to stalk the nation.
The cheers that the kingdom has come to think as cheers are actually jeers from the impoverished people. She has become the main actor in the political drama of the kingdom. She is the alpha and omega of the succession drama.
With that, a dark perception has clouded her persona. It is both normal and natural that people make judgments based on their context and what they see, even though they may not have adequate information to make an accurate judgment.
Is her centre really holding? That is the million-dollar question? Before addressing that, it may be necessary to understand what it means to be Marunjeya. Hers is an overloaded portfolio.
Marunjeya is a wife of the aging king. The king now needs full time attention —managing his health and making sure he is comfortable and not vulnerable to manipulation wherever he is. In a context where the chase for power is the dominant currency, this is not a role that Marunjeya can easily delegate without remaining present as vultures are prowling waiting for that one chance.
Marunjeya is a mother of four children, two of whom are victims of bad and delayed adolescence. They live on drugs and are causing havoc. Unconfirmed reports suggest that they escaped the guillotine in another kingdom after they were found in possession of the illegal substances.
The king had to abandon an important meeting to go and rescue his children. In short, they have been drama unto themselves which now constitutes another full time job for Marunjeya, as that level of mischief cannot be delegated to someone, who does not share the same motherly relationship to the boys.
Since she entered politics, she has become the leader of a women’s group — a powerful and active group in determining the future of the palace. Again, in a context where succession drama is fast reaching its crescendo, this is a sensitive group that holds the sway on who becomes the heir apparent. Being its leader simply means staying close to every detail of developments in the group while ensuring that it continues to influence opinion within the party. They say he who holds the women’s group decides the course. That plus her proximity to the king has put her in a strategically powerful and yet precarious position which makes it another full time job.
The combination of the two above — being a leader of a women’s group and being the wife of the king — has manifested into another important file which defines her role in the succession drama. She could easily be the reason why there has not been a coup in the palace so far. She has surrounded herself, with a group of slightly young and yet ambitious turks, who masterminds the game plan that is supposed to skew succession in her or rather their favour. Again her proximity to the king has meant that even those who detest her are forced to respect and salute her, as not doing so can simply mean disrespecting the king.
The equation is simple and yet sophisticated. Because of old age, the king needs his wife by his side. Senility means that the wife helps the king to make decisions. Such decisions somewhat become national decisions. The king is vulnerable without his wife. He gets his protection from his wife who is not a queen at the moment. Marunjeya has made it clear that no one can separate her from the king.
Isn’t it amazing how one person can hold four keys and demanding positions in a country of more than 14 million people. Or is Marunjeya not one of the most over-worked woman in the kingdom? Her ability of multi-task would earn her accolades only if the land was not impoverished by the system’s bad management.
Tapiwa Gomo is a development consultant based in Pretoria, South Africa