HomeOpinion & AnalysisMarry Chiwenga has shown the way, can Zimbabweans emulate her?

Marry Chiwenga has shown the way, can Zimbabweans emulate her?


candour:Nqaba Matshazi

Vice-PRESIDENT Constantino Chiwenga’s wife, Marry, is a nasty piece of work, who does not deserve much sympathy in her ongoing legal problems.

When she first took over the running of the Miss Zimbabwe pageant, it was revealed how the military was roped in to prop up her show.

She was quite close to power and would use it or abuse it for her ends, as she became a high flyer following her marriage to the then army general.

Marry was also accused of grabbing a farm in Domboshava belonging to the Agriculture Rural Development Authority (Arda), claiming she wanted to build a school; but the real reason could be that she knew she could do anything she wanted without any repercussions, because of her station in life. We all watched her dance in the aftermath of the coup that her husband masterminded and wondered what kind of person she was.

Then she started sending out notes on a letterhead written “Office of the Second Lady” and we knew what kind of person she was, as parallels were immediately drawn with Grace Mugabe, the former First Lady, who had a reputation of being a power monger.

In the past few weeks, Marry’s world has tumbled and she finds herself in the unenviable position where she is accused of all sorts of things, including attempted murder and corruption, a situation one would expect her to go down on all fours and beg for forgiveness from the powers that be.

But instead Marry has been tenacious and fighting from the underdog’s position in a way that, while she does not deserve our sympathies, she is quickly earning admiration.

From court records, we have learnt that soldiers have blocked her from entering her matrimonial home, while some of her property has allegedly been spirited away. But instead of recoiling from all this and begging for pardon, she has gone pound for pound with one of the most powerful men in Zimbabwe and she is giving as good as she gets.

Using the courts, literally her only refuge, she has exposed some of the well-kept secrets of her household and somehow has exposed Chiwenga’s vulnerabilities.

While reading about Marry’s doggedness; I thought, wait a minute, this could be a template for Zimbabweans, who have long been subjected to oppression by their government. For long Zimbabweans have cried about oppression, being cheated in elections, but have not shown much zeal in their quest to improve their lot. Instead, we have had to wait or seek external intervention in the quest to have Zanu PF reform how it governs the country. Right now there is excitement over former South African President Thabo Mbeki’s efforts to mediate the dispute between Zanu PF and the MDC.

It is as if we have no agency of our own and are reliant on outside help, some messiah or at worst some magician to wave a wand that will miraculously change our fortunes.
Others say they are waiting for a signal, whatever that means.

When we are slapped on one cheek, we religiously turn the other and cannot dare even think of challenging our abusers.

One question that really exhausted me ahead of the 2018 elections was: “Do you think these guys engineered a coup just to give up power a year later?”
This reeks of defeatism.

Imagine going to an election or whatever battle with such a mindset. There is absolutely no hope for you; you are already defeated from the onset.

Right now, Marry is standing up to a very powerful person, who has reportedly deployed soldiers to block her from entering her house, but she has refused to turn the other cheek and is instead fighting back.

She may ultimately lose the battle, but her valour is commendable and if only more Zimbabweans could be brave as her in confronting their problems. It is high time we understood as a people the power that we have and that those in power serve at our pleasure rather than the other way round. It is an indictment on all of us Zimbabweans that we are witnessing a total collapse of the economy for the second time in a generation and we are unwilling or unable to do something about it.

If it’s dialogue that we think will extricate us from this mess, then we should all speak with one voice and demand such negotiations take place.

Whatever her motivations, Marry has been willing to fight for what she believes is hers and she will not allow anyone or any obstacle to come in between her and what she thinks rightfully belongs to her. I am still not her biggest fan, but I think there is a lesson for all of us here; even the most powerful people in the world will blink when confronted by a determined and dogged person, who is motivated by fighting for what they believe belongs to them.

Quick caveat here, Marry’s fight has been within the confines of the law and certainly there are many such similar avenues that those who think are being given a raw deal can follow.

If Zimbabweans want change or an improvement in their fortunes, then they should demand it, because it will never be given to them on a silver platter. Ask the liberation generation who keep reminding us that they died for this country.

 Nqaba Matshazi is AMH’s head of digital. He writes in his personal capacity. Feedback: nmatshazi@alphamedia.co.zw. Twitter: @nqabamatshazi

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