2018 in retrospect: A peek into the ending year!

The Manchester United board earlier this week sacked manager Jose Mourinho for presiding over the famous team’s worst ever start to a football season in news that came as no surprise to football followers across the world.

guest column: Luke Tamborinyoka

For Zimbabweans, 2018 was a sad year that opened with Morgan Tsvangirai passing on; leaving his own ineradicable footprint on the sands of history.

Love him or hate him, Tsvangirai, who died on February 14, 2018, left an indelible mark in Zimbabwe’s national political story. He will forever be part of this country’s rich history. He was a patriot who braved all to dole out free practical lessons on democracy to a stubborn political dictatorship, sometimes almost to the point of losing his life for his political faith.

Indeed, it is by no coincidence that this icon of our time died on St Valentine’s Day. The keen golfer’s death on the day when the power of love is celebrated worldwide only serves to show his unbridled adoration and devotion to his country and fellow countrymen.

At a personal level, I lost a boss, a father and a friend.

2018 was a year that began with an exhibition of an odd mixture of unity and disunity in the country’s biggest political movement, the MDC.

The return of old comrades was a supposed to be a mark of unity that ironically led to disunity in the party when Thokozani Khupe and her allies left the people’s movement.

This was the year in which the MDC Alliance fielded a 40-year-old presidential candidate who pulled the rug from under Zanu PF’s feet in a landmark poll.

As a presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa was only marketed for just about 150 days after the death of the Tsvangirai. Yet even by ZEC’s fudged figures, he trailed by a mere 38 000 votes to a man who has been part of Zimbabwe’s political fabric for over four decades.

Shockingly, 2018 became the year that veterans of the liberation struggle and Zanu PF apparatchiks, unsettled by Chamisa’s national popularity and rising stock, vainly sought to amend the Constitution by raising the Presidential age limit to 52.

It was laughable that a whole nation would be exhorted to support a Constitutional amendment ostensibly meant to deal with an individual!

2018 was a historic year of unparalleled bleeps and blunders. It was the year in which Mnangagwa went beyond his remit by appointing a bloated Cabinet only to fire the likes of Chris Mutsvangwa some 48 hours later to meet the constitutionally permitted threshold of Cabinet ministers who are not elected MPs.

It was also the year in which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission three times revised downwards its own announced presidential election figures in a poll the country’s highest court astonishingly still held as having been fair and credible.

Only a few years ago, Mnangagwa was implicated in the corrupt plunder of resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a public United Nations report and yet claims to be at the forefront of fighting graft in the country.

Talk of a mosquito claiming it can cure malaria!

Mnangagwa’s own office is replete with shady characters, including one George Charamba, now a deputy chief secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet. Charamba plundered funds from the Public Service Medical Aid Society according to a report by the Auditor-General and has yet to face justice. Only recently, Mnangagwa himself told us one of his aides demanded a R5 million bribe. He did not even bother to name the culprit or to take any action.

So much for this regime’s zero tolerance to corruption!

2018 was the year in which Mugabe suddenly became a staunch advocate of security sector reform.

We heard him harping on the message which he had been impervious to all these years: that the military must confine itself to the barracks in line with the dictates of the Constitution.

Mugabe even put the icing on his new-found political beliefs by holding a Press conference on the eve of the election and announcing he would for the first time be casting his vote for the opposition.

Fuel and bread queues have resurfaced – as if to confirm that this is not the Second Republic, but a continuation of the first!

Notwithstanding all these visible signs of collapse around us, State radio and television continue to damage our ears and eyes with claims of how much has been achieved under Mnangagwa.

Yet, in spite of the fancy rhetoric that Zimbabwe is open for business, the country is definitely not open even for decency and common sense, particularly in the top echelons of power.

Mnangagwa’s so-called new dispensation has proved true the adage that the more things change, the more they remain the same!

The old cannot and should not masquerade as the new.

The economy is on a tailspin and as we have often told our colleagues in Zanu PF, you can fudge election figures, but you can never fiddle with the economy and its sacred rules of supply and demand! By their very nature, economies are allergic to fudging.

Lastly, fellow Zimbabweans, I wish I could say merry Christmas but I can’t!

I can only wish you well as you slug it out in the fuel and bread queues this festive season.

Judging by the ignominy with which we are ending the year 2018, the prospects for the coming year can only be dim.

God save Zimbabwe!

Luke Tamborinyoka is the director of communications in the MDC led by Nelson Chamisa. He writes here in his personal capacity.

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