Echoes: CONWAY TUTANI
IT has reached the stage where, to be honest with each other, it is no more surprising that posting a most non-political and non-partisan message on social media praising Zimbabweans — one and all — can elicit a rabidly hostile and angry reaction from a section of Zimbabwe now notorious for negativity and spitefulness.
This is the message that I posted on Facebook last week that some people among us with warped minds, who find progress and stability threatening to them, took offence with: “I have now realised that I underestimated Zimbabweans by calling them great people because I have since realised that they are, in fact, greater than great. The Cyclone Idai disaster response has shown that. It’s one of those times when I am very proud to be proved wrong.”
Well, it was like I had stepped on the toes of one Sesel Zvidzai, who exploded: “The ordinary Zimbabweans have always been great. I don’t know why you have never known that they have survived the decades of maladroit leadership . . . blah blah blah.”
Well, it’s beyond shocking for a senior party official that the detail and nuance that I brought that Zimbabweans “are greater than great”, clearly meaning that Zimbabweans have always been great, completely eluded or escaped Zvidzai.
Or did it? No, it did not escape him, but it’s that he contrived to twist and distort what I had said because he found my positive observation most subversive and threatening to his political narrative of doom and gloom that they sell to his party’s base to keep supporters in an angry mood. But they should not presume that all Zimbabweans are in their base.
This is an example of warped logic at its worst. It’s like saying: Old television shows are black and white. Crows (makunguwo/amahwabayi) are black and white. Therefore, crows are old television shows. Or that Bulawayo giants Highlanders Football Club players wear a black and white uniform, and Newcastle United in England have the same colours.
Therefore, Highlanders are Newcastle. Let’s discard that warped logic because MDC — or any other party, for that matter — is not Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwe is not MDC.
Following from that, most Zimbabweans are discerning and fair-minded enough to give credit where it’s due and acknowledge progress where it has been made. And even many more Zimbabweans don’t give a hoot about Zanu PF or MDC, and actually find partisan politics intrusive and toxic.
The majority of Zimbabweans are not card-carrying members of political parties — that is why they are not as fanatical about politics as Zvidzai and his ilk are. That’s why Zimbabweans — including schoolchildren — have been donating to Cyclone Idai on their own without any prompting from any political party.
Zvidzai then made it personal, saying “. . . we are governmentally orphaned thanks to Zanu PF and its cheerleaders”, implying that pointing out positives in this country — and they are many and increasing positives — makes me a Zanu PF cheerleader.
Well, as they say in English, give a fool a rope and he will hang himself. I replied Zvidzai, thus: “I am not like you who nicodemously inboxed me on February 2, 2019 criticising and ridiculing your party leader Nelson Chamisa. Does he know that you sarcastically refer to him as ‘mwana’ (an immature person)? I have the message from you, Sesel Zvidzai. So don’t try to project yourself as honest and straightforward and as 100% loyal to Chamisa when you are as double-faced as they come. By the way, you are not the only senior MDC official who inboxes me criticising your party leader, but I keep this confidential until that person tries to make a fool of me like you are trying to be too clever by half here.”
This is how Zvidzai ended his inboxed message to me on February 2, 2019: “I have no big differences with you. I have followed your thoughts for a long time. Davison Chademana is my brother and he talks highly of you, I also went to Fletcher (High School) in 1978. The criticism you afford is good.”
Then Zvidzai turns against me for public consumption in his political party after saying this. Well, the beauty of high-tech is that it leaves footprints everywhere which cannot be erased by the sender, but by the receiver.
And while there will naturally be theft and pilferage here and there considering the size and scale of the relief operation, United Nations World Food Programme executive director David Beasley, speaking on BBC this week, said: “We are having tremendous cooperation from the governments of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.”
Zimbabweans, as you can see, a certain type of people lie so as to endear themselves to their party leaders. They publicly project themselves as uncompromising so as to be seen as the most loyal. What other lies are they telling about the aid for Cyclone Idai victims being abused by one side?
MDC Chipinge ward 20 councillor Charles Mugidho was this week pictured in an orange “USAID” T-shirt busy distributing aid to cyclone victims. Has there been any “USAID” relief? Not to my knowledge. So why the “USAID”
T-shirt? For disguise? Had it been a Zanu PF councillor caught on camera doing that in party regalia, it would have made headlines accusing the party of politicising assistance with the US at the forefront of the onslaught and threatening more illegal sanctions.
So, as one can see, none of the two parties — Zanu PF and MDC — should point fingers at the other. Only people with a psychopathic or sociopathic mind, those with extreme egocentricity who accuse others of doing exactly the same thing that they are doing, who have no feelings for other people, who do not think about the nation’s future, but their own selfish interests, and do not feel bad about anything they have done — such as grossly lying about others — can do that.
But these psychopaths do not define us as a nation, as Zimbabweans have proved in rising to the occasion to assist their stricken kith and kin. Two great Zimbabweans, one rich and famous, one poor and unknown, but with that generous spirit of freely helping fellow Zimbabweans, have shown that we all have a part to play at various levels in our own way. The elderly woman has been rewarded for proving that you can be poor but still have a generous heart, a heart of giving away that littlest you have.
On the other hand, you can be rich, but not have generosity. But Strive Masiyiwa has lots of money and lots of generosity — wealth and generosity in equal measure. Generosity is unconditional.
A lot of good is emerging from the Cyclone Idai disaster. A new spirit of positivity and togetherness is beginning to show. Said former United States President John F Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
These two Zimbabweans from contrasting backgrounds — one rich, one poor — have shown us that. “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination,” said the late former South African President Nelson Mandela. Whoever says Zimbabwe is cursed is lying. There are more than enough good people in this nation.
Conway Nkumbuzo Tutani is a Harare-based columnist. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org