Opinion:Grace, Mnangagwa and Zim veterans’ nocent behaviour

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I DON’T know what your story is like, but mine goes like this: In December 1997, I finished Form 1, which in other contexts is generally known as Grade 8. Then, I was a mere 14-year-old child being raised by my brother and his dear wife. As a child, I couldn’t have distant thoughts. I was preoccupied with the present reality of that time.

By MUTSA MURENJE

While at it, there was a renowned political pundit who was documenting his thoughts for the present of that time and, of course, for posterity. His name was Masipula Sithole, a professor of political science at the University of Zimbabwe. When I became a major and not a minor that I had been, I dreamt of meeting Sithole at the university.

There were others like him, Lovemore Madhuku and the late John Mudiwawashe Makumbe. It’s a pity that I am writing at a time when Sithole has been dead for more than 14 years. It’s also unfortunate that my dream of meeting him never materialised.

Just when I thought of meeting him in 2003, he died tragically in April of that year aged 56. It was only later that year that I enrolled at the university, where he had taught since our independence from Britain in 1980. However, I have been through the late Makumbe’s class. He taught me Democracy and Human Rights.

That sort of consoled me considering the personal loss that I had suffered when Sithole died. Makumbe’s passing was yet another personal loss that I suffered. I benefited immensely from both men.

I have also had contact with the humble and inspiring Madhuku. But, this piece isn’t about me, neither is it about Madhuku or Makumbe. It is about my (our) unsung hero, Masipula, Sipu as he was affectionately known. We would do well to revisit his literary works and hearken the advice that he gave then, which advice I find significant for us even today.

As writers, we process several thoughts and refine them into something meaningful for public consumption. In December 1997, Sithole noted “the need to restore public trust in the political leadership” and he posed two key questions that he believed “we, as a people, have to be asking ourselves” because of our “obligation to ask and answer them for ourselves and for posterity”. He wrote, concerning our leadership:

 Does it still have the capacity and energy for self-renewal and rejuvenation, or has it run its course?

 Is the country due for a new leadership, inside the party or outside it?

The reason why Sithole asked the above questions was because he genuinely believed that we had gold in our leadership but that this gold “has turned to iron and rusted”, a phenomenon that he attributed to overstaying in power. I don’t know how best to answer the aforesaid questions, but each one of us has the chance to reflect and think about the kind of country we want for ourselves and our children and their own children.

For some of us, we have established ourselves outside our own country for we believe that we were operating in a political and economic environment that undermined (and still does) our potential while suffocating our personal and professional development. In the absence of opportunities for self-advancement, we had to look elsewhere, somewhere where we would be useful creatures to God’s creation.

Some responded to genuine opportunities while others had to be creative and innovative to survive. Unfortunately, the vast sum of our population remains with limited or no opportunities at all. And, I believe we are here because our leadership has lost steam. The rust that Sithole saw in 1997 has taken effect and we are all paying a hefty price for it.

First Lady Grace Mugabe behaves as she pleases. Although her behaviour is best explained in terms of political ignorance and naivety, it might also be a result of our collective failure to bring the political leadership to account. We have civil servants who could have been discharging their duties honestly to ensure that we have, in our country, elections that are free, fair and credible.

However, some of these have been used and no doubt continue to be used to undermine our democratic aspirations and freedoms. We want a new type of civil servant who will show commitment to serve our people justly and honestly.

Grace can be stopped, we all can! She belongs not where she is at present and we can’t allow a situation where adults are belittled and fail to respond because they are powerless against the seemingly omnipotent Grace. Make no mistake. Like the late Martin Luther King, Jr, “We are determined . . . to fight until justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Never in history has political power been sexually transmitted and it won’t happen now, not in Zimbabwe! The Mugabes have just gone too far and this is the prime time for us to reclaim our country from those whose sense of power is yielding it for selfish purposes and satisfying their egos. The political drama we are seeing unfolding before our eyes evinces that we have a tired ruling class that has run out of ideas to lead our country.

And this is what we are expected to do: “But we should, as a people, take exception to a situation where those who have been lucky and are in positions of public responsibility neglect the welfare of the majority in pursuit of selfish purposes. There should be a qualitative difference for the better between minority white settler rule and black majority rule. Otherwise there is no justification for the suffering and sacrifice during the struggle.” (Masipula Sithole)

Although I sympathise with former Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa for his defenceless public bashing by Grace and President Robert Mugabe, I, however, reiterate that he isn’t the right man to move our country forward. Having been in the system for decades, Mnangagwa can’t escape that he’s partly to blame for the political Frankenstein that is hanging over our heads today.

When it suited him, he engineered his predecessor Joice Mujuru’s expulsion, including that of Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo, among others. Thus, his crocodilian characteristics have stayed with him until now. He isn’t the kind of leader to have, not in this 21st century! I am sorry to dampen the spirits of those who believe in him as if he were their messiah. Mnangagwa is no messiah and the earlier people realise this the better!

Once again, I feel it incumbent upon me to address the nocent behaviour that has been displayed by the war veterans for as long as we can remember. What we see today isn’t new. We have had Chenjerai Hunzvi before and the likes of Joseph Chinotimba and Jabulani Sibanda. Like the malodorous Zanu PF, Zimbabwe’s war veterans have been instrumental in curtailing our freedoms.

What is even worse is their alignment not only with Zanu PF, but also with a faction of that fractured party. Now, this behaviour is harmful or nocent to our democratic aspirations and ideals. The fact that the war veterans have been a Zanu PF concern has rendered them nationally insignificant, especially when considering their notorious history in our nation. Genuine war veterans show allegiance to the whole country and not a fraction of it.

In conclusion, we aren’t going anywhere with the current ruling class. We keep looking up to the opposition to show leadership and give direction. Otherwise, we are doomed as a nation. May God help Zimbabwe! The struggle continues unabated!

1 COMMENT

  1. Comment…I do agree with you but on my point of view the authority of Zimbabwe was captured long time ago talking of justice system, police , army take not if you go against the ZANU’s , which means you become an enemy of these above stakeholders, how many people suffered in the hands of police, some disappearing no were to be found but no justice was taken the army which suppose to be protecting the citizen but is the which was declaring war if the citizen vote against the ZANU’s yes to today we can blame each other, but the main accountable ones are those stakeholders to be blamed

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