Besides pulling down an outdated calendar and hanging up another on the wall each year in Zimbabwe, has anybody ever asked themselves if really we are going anywhere as a country? I say this with every sense of paradox because to each person, in high place or low, the more things change the more they stay the same, and it seems nobody rises any wiser from each cycle.
Zanu PF has seen from the epicentre how toxic politics and corruption, among the biggest of culprit cancers have taken the economy to casualty status. Zimbabweans need to ask themselves if Zanu PF’s case is either that of whipping through everyone a painful, Pan-African, neo-colonianist economic emancipation revolution, or it is a text book case of selfish stone-cold resolve of benefiting from chaos and disorder. That question is fundamental to history and politics, there has to be something engraved about it for future generations.
From Willow-gate, Zisco Steel Blast Furnace saga of 1987, Zesa-Soltran, GMB saga of Kangai, the Chikowore hands in the NOCZIM scandal, the Marange $15B loot, the Command Agriculture smoke, to the recent Zesa-Intratek saga. In most if not all of these and others far too many or too under the carpet to mention, the underlying denominator has been that the closer you are to the authorities the better chances you stand to walk away with hands dripping of soup or oil.
Let us not be tempted to think nobody in the opposite political basket has not had their hands soiled at one point or another, and still walk away in full glare of the authorities. This is political dirty advantage, the trump card for game change, the politician’s favourite check-mate in a corrupt system, this is capital for control.
Did we really expect anything better from the disgraced Health minister Obadiah Moyo? This is the same Moyo who then and still now presides over a critical ministry under international spotlight and condemnation due to the terrible infrastructural state of hospitals, drug shortages and persistent industrial action by critical staff. At such height of infamy, Moyo aborted a tour of Parirenyatwa, Harare and Chitungwiza hospitals halfway a few months ago, just because, I will quote his own words to the shock of the world, “Yes, we heard that you (media) were gone and there was no point for us to come, we are very sorry,” the former Chitungwiza Hospital chief executive officer said at the time. My question and everyone’s still is, was the hospital tour meant to fact find the state of affairs on the ground, or it was a mere charade to look good in the news bulletin? Did Moyo think through before he uttered these words? Shame on him. In sane working democracies one is booted for such reckless utter.
Mugabe’s political patronage craft and thirst for control and power could only survive on such travesties, and the tragedy of it all is that the cronies around him were paying attention very well along the trudge. This is the same system of rule that the government of the day inherited, perfected, continued, and is harvesting on since the transition. The carpets in the corridors of power hold much of this political capital. So much of ZACC’s mantra of uprooting and prosecuting corruption, there is neither political will nor the capacity from the system itself.
The loyalty exchange burden on ZACC is too great to be betrayed, its officers tread on a thin line, on tight leash.
A mere 77 high profile cases in their active dockets do not measure up to the rot that has crippled Zimbabwe in memorable history, with even the criminals still roaming the streets and doing more.
Courts have been used as intimidation battlegrounds for political opponents with zero will to hold anybody to account, but to appear as if something is being done. This is more so further, because the comrades are still in power and the has-beens now in the cold, broke bread together in these shady deals.
Shame on our opposition too, they have played in the hands of Zanu PF’s glaring tactics far too long. Is it not surprising how they call each other names and make accusations of being agents of the ruling party, whenever someone seems not to agree with the crowd. Alas, the same Zanu PF implant will be welcomed back and blessed with a lofty post in the top echelons when he or she speaks correctly, politically that is.
So what we have is an opposition full of sell-outs who keep going into bed with Zanu PF and coming back to get more info, then go back to feed Zanu PF and then come back again.
The truth at the end of the day is, the people are on their own, they love their movement, they believe in their movement, but they are without sincere leadership fully dedicated and ready to die for the cause.
Khupe herself let words precede the mind in UK when she admitted that most of “us” are in it for a killing. In any case, nobody will remember not to curse the constitution if oil and soup really run dry.
The 2005, 2014, and now 2018 splits are said to be as a result of Zanu’s meddling in the opposition. While this may not be dismissed entirely, it is politically embarrassing to keep playing defensive on such mantra. How many punches must a whole organisation take from the regime on the same chin to know when to change tact and bundle themselves in one corner to pull a knockout when the regime least expects it? 2009 to 2013 were wasted years in hindsight, Zanu PF used the opportunity to regain momentum and traction, while the super ministers of the MDC popped champagne in fanfare. The sheer numbers could not, and did not overwhelm any rigging mechanism in 2013, if ever there was. While Khupe and Chamisa trade political and legal barbs at each other, Zanu PF’s propaganda machine is being oiled.
This is already in full swing since last year, the media is awash and pre-occupied with stories of “widening rifts” in the regime’s cockpit, and this comforts the opposition leadership.
If this is what they are counting on, seeing that it has become so predictable that each election year the MDC is led sheepishly to the guillotine only for them to cry foul soon thereafter, 2023 will be another bigger bloodbath.
It has become an effective political onslaught tool for Zanu PF to keep their erstwhile opposition divided among themselves, further keeping them in imaginary glee at the “divisions” within Zanu PF itself.
Chiwenga was spot on when, last year, he told the media after his health woes that most people do not understand the relationship that binds him with ED.
The relationship these men want people to see, is exactly what they give to the media to disseminate and play in the public arena. If you corner Zanu PF such that it sees no way out, rest assured the only way out it will see and take is through you.
While Zanu PF moves in whole, with factions pieced together, the opposition moves in separate bits and pieces. The bold needs the beautiful, Chamisa needs Khuphe and Mwonzora. Baba Saungweme kwaMutare please tell them.
In case they forgot, the reforms agenda is not off the table. The media space must be fully opened and stand independent, the voters roll must be audited and made available in electronic format, the security complex must stay out and not influence the political order of the day from the barracks.
Vote count, equipment and procedures must be systematically monitored, political violence must be a despicable sin, ZEC and the arms of government must be independent and not owe each other political debts, constituency delimitation must be clear and sensible, repeal of fascist laws to open the democratic space. Thereafter and collectively, the opposition must take the fight to Zanu PF’s backyards, to the rural areas.
As a centre-left party, a fitting manifesto will be most appealing now than ever.
This is political capital, lest history will only record the best opposition heads of state Zimbabwe never had.
Robert Sigauke is a legal manager, political and social commentator, entrepreneur and author. He writes from Johannesburg.