IT is pleasing to note that an outbreak of cold, hard facts and the unpleasant, inconvenient truths is raging in the nation.
By CONWAY TUTANI
Those in the business of truth-telling — in which I, humbly, would like to be counted in — are being vindicated after being viciously attacked by some people who take criticism of their favourite candidate, MDC-T-cum-MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, as nothing less than blasphemous and treasonous. Distinguished researcher Derek Matyszak penetratingly and piercingly (kubaya nemukanwa, as they say in Shona; or yikho kanye in Ndebele) affirmed the fall from grace of the main opposition MDC-T party when he wrote an article titled “MDC-T does succession the Zanu PF way” last week: “The MDC-T has campaigned in past elections with the slogan ‘Mugabe Must Go’ and a promise of democratic and economic reform. Mugabe is gone. The new administration under President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa has stolen the opposition’s platform of economic reform. All that now distinguishes them as parties is what remains of the MDC-T’s stated commitment to constitutionalism and non-violence. So determining succession to the party presidency should have been a simple matter of applying the party’s constitution. (But) it is not lost on the electorate that the ugly succession battle and Chamisa’s power grab have blurred these remaining dividing lines.”
Matyszak said on February 15, just a day after MDC-T party leader Morgan Tsvangira‘s death, “at a dubiously convened and highly charged meeting of the party’s national council chaired by Chamisa himself, Chamisa was declared acting president and (co-deputy president Thokozani) Khupe’s claim was discarded”.
“Presenting himself as acting president at Tsvangirai’s funeral, held at the late president’s rural home five days later, Chamisa inappropriately used the occasion to whip up support for his position among the thousands of party faithful present. This caused considerable discomfort to the foreign dignitaries sharing the platform with him,
“Chamisa’s supporters then set upon Khupe and others in her company perceived to be against his elevation. The attempt to drive her out of a village hut where she had sought refuge from a baying and violent mob, by lighting the thatch, failed only on account of the damp weather.”
This naked violence hardly constitutes a coherent political philosophy, or indeed a sustainable strategy.
Only last month, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) said journalists from TellZim’s Masvingo office were verbally abused and physically threatened by two MDC-T provincial leaders at the newspaper’s offices in the city centre. “The visibly angry MDC-T officials accused the publication of being aligned to Zanu PF, as well as an MDC-T faction . . . ,” Misa said. “During the attacks, the two MDC-T officials also discouraged TellZim from publishing articles which portray the MDC-T in a bad light. This particular incident is more worrying because the perpetrators took the violation a step further when they attempted to gag TellZim journalists from carrying out their duties as provided for in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”
That is the truth of the matter. You can’t argue with this kind of evidence. It does looks like the MDC-T is going exactly to where Zanu PF is coming from. I restated this in my opinion piece last week. I will be the last to claim that what I write is incontestable or unquestionable, but people should not misconstrue my sometimes strident criticism of Zanu PF over the years for support of any and all opposition to the ruling party. It’s wrong to assume that because I love Dynamos, I should necessarily hate Highlanders.
But instead of dealing with this grim reality facing the Chamisa-led MDC-T, one Kufandada -— whose ability to spin a web of lies and deceptions is top-drawer — attacked my person, saying: “Tutani is actually over 65 years and therefore of the old order that resists wi-fi and Instagram, that is if he knows what it is. This greedy generation liberated the country, but does not know how to govern.” Kufandada, for your information, for your free education, wi-fi and Instagram is old hat to me.
I will pay Kufandada in kind by going personal to refute his lies. I was with this spinner for, at the most, only two years, and, at the least, only one year at Moleli Secondary School. He was neither in my class nor a friend. The first lie is that I “am actually over 65 years”. Not that it’s important whether I am 65 or not (what with intellectual giants like Noam Chomsky still tutoring the world at the age of 89, outreasoning people half his age), but anyone can snoop into my records at the National Archives or wherever and establish that I am neither 65 nor even 64-years-old. The second lie is for Kufandada to distance himself from me age-wise whereas there could be, at the most, a three-year difference between us. Does that make me “of the old order” vis-a-vis him?
During the liberation war, such people claiming to have intimate knowledge of their more prosperous neighbours had them killed by guerilla fighters after falsely reporting to the fighters that there were sellouts. So people like Kufandada are more than mere jokes as they can endanger others through spreading their reckless lies in a highly-charged situation. As it stands, we don’t need toxic campaigns because this will leave all of us as losers. Maybe that is beyond the ken of Kufandada.
Things rapidly descended to the absurd with one professed Chamisa supporter posting this tactless remark on Facebook: “Tsvangirai had to wait until Nelson was 40 before he died.” When I pointed out to him that if this was meant to be a joke, it was in extremely bad taste, he replied: ”It’s not a joke, it’s an observation. It appears he (Tsvangirai) had to die at a time Chamisa was ready to take over the MDC presidency and be the candidate. If he had passed on early, Chamisa would not have been there”.
This does not say anything of relevance with elections looming. What value and validation is derived from that “correlation”?
Does this bring any fresh insights? This is just rattling on with wild theories that have no practical significance to us as a nation. Is he saying that Tsvangirai perfectly timed his death? Is he saying Tsvangirai’s death was most welcome? This is ridiculous, disrespectful and profane. What sort of thought process is that? As one can see, not all young people are gifted with intelligence.
Can anyone make any sense out of it? Is that intelligent or intelligible? This does not even approximate rational intellectual discussion. It’s all baseless wild conjecture. It’s preposterous. You can see that the chap has wavelength issues. His line and level of thinking falls short of the complexity of the situation. This limits one’s appreciation and comprehension of the situation.
It, indeed, becomes dangerous when some people attempt to reason.
lConway Nkumbuzo Tutani is a Harare-based columnist. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org