A few weeks ago, I spent one weekend at a friend’s place in Sydney, Australia. It was an enriching and gravid experience for an indoors person like myself.
By MUTSA MURENJE
I must be somehow dull for all I do is spend time on my books. This, to an extent, is gratifying. I am quite enthusiastic when I do it, but it also deprives me of the social capital element.
There is value in positive and productive relationships that we forge outside our comfort zones. The Sydney experience proved to be handy since it facilitated contact and emotional discussions about the diseased polity that we are faced with in Zimbabwe.
Believe me, oftentimes and wrongly so, the Diaspora has been accused of being disinterested and detached from the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe, be it social, economic or political.
This hasn’t been my experience though. Those that I know are pretty interested in what’s going on in Zimbabwe and this is evident when we have our social gatherings, thousands of miles from the theatre of controversy and dissension.
One issue that arose in our discussions was that we seem to have an enthusiastic group of politicians with poisonous lips and whose pleasure is derived from the gain and glory associated with their participation in our defiled polity.
What is gravely lacking is a ready and willing mind. We all seem to be doing it in anticipation of what we stand to benefit from it. It isn’t surprising, therefore, that we have a privileged clique of war veterans that claims to be marginalised and discriminated against and yet it continues to pursue narrow and parochial political and factional agendas at a time that we ought to put our nation first.
For the avoidance of doubt, war veterans identify themselves as members of the ruling party, Zanu PF, and their allegiance is clearly to the Zanu PF establishment first, while Zimbabwe comes second. This is a misinformed position by those seeking to elevate Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to the Presidency of Zimbabwe.
Although I respect the right by the war veterans to choose their preferred presidential candidate, I believe they can do this within the confines of the Zanu PF political walls since they aren’t ready to abandon the liberation war mantra.
The world over, a number of countries have been involved in lengthy and brutal struggles to gain their independence, but seniority on the basis of liberation war credentials has never been the yardstick used to become a President, including in some of the most powerful nations like the United States. If the US were to do so, then the likes of Barack Obama or Donald Trump would not have been elected President.
In other words, Zimbabwe seeks a political narrative that extends beyond the usual war of liberation and captures the minds and willpower of those of us who have a clear vision of where we want our nation to be, relative to other modernised economies.
The sense of entitlement that has entered our politics is something that we vehemently have to resist. Presently, there has been personalisation and politicisation of State institutions by President Robert Mugabe’s regime and this is a script that is bound to be repeated should the likes of Mnangagwa ascend to the Presidency of Zimbabwe with the support of the war veterans.
I personally have nothing against Mnangagwa, but I believe that he has to contest like all the other presidential aspirants. If he hasn’t been able to do it within his party, then he shouldn’t do so via the backdoor. There shouldn’t be any preferential treatment when it comes to national positions.
Politicians aren’t doing us any favours. They are using State resources to enrich themselves at our expense and, so their selection should be a strict process that guarantees us of selection based on merit and not any underlying advantage against the other contestants.
This same reasoning should extend to the opposition. Opposing the ruling and ruining party is one thing and having a record of selfless service is another and the latter, in my opinion, is the most fundamental of the two.
I sympathise with the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC. Its leader has taken ill and the MDC Alliance that gained momentum in August risks losing the single presidential candidate that they believe is capable of winning an election against the ageing dictator Mugabe. It is quite a huge relief that Tsvangirai has been discharged from a South African hospital where he had been admitted.
However, given the nature of his ailment, we need to be more empathetic and pragmatic in the manner in which this matter is addressed.
That the MDC-T isn’t short of candidates is beyond argument and this is, perhaps, the chance for a smooth transfer of power from the ailing Tsvangirai to someone younger and more inspiring.
The MDC-T may have to consider going for an early congress and leadership contestation should be an open and transparent process and if the MDC-T is the biggest opposition as it claims to be, then the support that Tsvangirai has enjoyed since 1999 should be easily transferable to the new leader who emerges after a special congress.
I know how it is taboo to talk about succession in Zimbabwean politics. I am doing this out of conviction because I know it is in the best interests of the country and the MDC-T itself stands to benefit should this be done now.
Tsvangirai is one single politician whose contribution to our struggle for democracy is unquestionable. I have always admired him and I still do.
I indicated in my most recent posting that we are constantly in search of decent, upright, mature and responsible citizens. I wish we could have another Tsvangirai in terms of domestic and international influence. Sometimes I wish I had the healing powers that Jesus Christ had so that Tsvangirai may be restored and made whole again.
In various ways, we are all sick and we need physicians at some point in time. I pray that the MDC-T leader will continue to recover so that we keep benefiting from the wealth of knowledge that he has so that we get rid of the pestiferous politicians and our diseased polity.
May God bless Zimbabwe! The struggle continues unabated!