NOW that the hubbub and furore over Fadzayi Mahere’s submission at a recent UN summit in Geneva, Switzerland, has substantially died down, it is time for a sober, frank and honest reflection on whether all that shrill noise was really worth it.
Indeed, an honest discussion on patriotism is befitting, especially after Parliament passed the notorious so-called Patriot Bill.
Mahere, the CCC spokesperson, recently attended a UN summit in Geneva where she laid out a few home truths about the ruling elite in Harare that has shrunk democratic space in the country and has brazenly trampled on citizen rights while stealing the country’s vast mineral wealth.
The regime in Harare responded with its usual vitriol, wheeling out all sorts of “analysts” who all accused Mahere of being unpatriotic. They said it was indecorous for a citizen to go out of the country and attack her motherland. They said the Patriot Bill must expeditiously be passed to deal with the likes of Mahere, who they self-servingly branded “unpatriotic.”
What arrant nonsense!
And that is where the regime got it all wrong. Mahere did not attack Zimbabwe. She attacked the regime in Zimbabwe. And it must be stated at the outset that the State of Zimbabwe — to which we all owe our allegiance — and the government of Zimbabwe — is not the same.
ED and his regime are not Zimbabwe. We can attack them for all we care, especially if they trample citizens’ rights and choose to run down the country that we all love.
True patriots are those who love their country and not necessarily their government as the two are not the same. The State of Zimbabwe, to which we must all be patriotic and the government of Zimbabwe, are not mutually inclusive.
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Students of political science will know that the State and its government are not necessarily the same. The State is an abstract entity whose elements include a government, a defined territory, a population and the sovereign capacity to bargain and engage in bilateral relations.
A government is therefore a component and an element of the State. But it is not the State. While we can physically attest to what constitutes a government, a State exists in an intellectual sense of abstraction.
One can and must always express their undoubted patriotism and loyalty to the State but not necessarily to their government as the two are not the same. Government leaders themselves, when they take their oath of office, swear their allegiance to the State.
It is, therefore, not to the government but to the State to which we must be patriotic because the State is a far much superior construct.
Mahere owes her allegiance and loyalty to the State called Zimbabwe and not necessarily to the Zimbabwean government, which she rightly said had undermined the human rights situation in a country that she loves unconditionally.
There are some who mischievously suggested that the Patriot Bill must be expeditiously passed so that the likes of Mahere could be prosecuted under that law.
For the record, patriotism means love for one’s country and not necessarily love for a government or a ruling party. Zanu PF and Zimbabwe are as different as night and day.
Our brothers and sisters think that if you attack Zanu PF or the government, then you have attacked Zimbabwe.
Conversely, they believe love for Zanu PF means love for Zimbabwe when the two are not the same. Zimbabwe, the country that some of us love unconditionally, is a far much loftier concept than these looters and murderers who constitute Zanu PF.
In fact, those who must be prosecuted for being unpatriotic are ED and his coterie of relatives and hangers-on who have looted this country dry as recently exposed by the Gold Mafia documentary.
The unpatriotic lot consists of those in Zanu PF who send their children out of the country to learn and get treated while the rest of us patriotically send our children to local schools.
Yes, the unpatriotic fly out for medical treatment while the rest of us patriotically go to the ill-equipped local clinic or the local Zimbabwean prophets.
The excoriation of Mahere by those who are truly unpatriotic has made me republish this piece in which I lay out the charge sheet against Zanu PF leaders for being unpatriotic, a crime which they conveniently choose to ascribe to those who truly love their country.
We fought a brutal armed struggle for mainly two reasons — the right to our land and the right to vote (one man one vote). But early this month during a chaotic voter inspection exercise in which most Zimbabweans, including CCC MPs and the party’s senior leaders found their names missing from the voters roll, we learnt that a CIO-linked organisation, Forever Associates of Zimbabwe has hijacked the running of elections from Zec.
The right to vote is a collective right for which all Zimbabweans waged a brutal armed struggle. The real unpatriotic charlatans are not those crying foul but Zanu PF and its surrogate institutions which want to deny Zimbabweans their right to vote for which they waged a brutal and bloody war.
The unpatriotic lot are those who have looted from this country and have ensured this country that we all love becomes a pariah State in the global community.
Patriotism: When the prey trails the hunter
Patriotism generally refers to a stoic love for one’s country, even though our colleagues often mistake it as meaning the love for Zanu PF.
In their warped understanding, anyone who is not Zanu PF is not patriotic and yet our unstinting quest to have democracy, stability, transparency and development in this land of our birth is a clear testament to our patriotism.
Zanu PF has introduced what it calls the Patriot Bill to criminalise its political rivals by laying trumped-up charges of purported unpatriotic acts. Yet evidence shows that those who kill their fellow nationals for their political affiliation, those who have looted the country’s vast resources and have made this country a pariah State should be held liable under this proposed Act.
And yet Zanu PF and the government which are guilty of all these dastardly and unpatriotic acts now want to hold CCC leaders responsible for the very crime for which they are the real transgressors.
They have negatively put Zimbabwe on the headlines of the world’s media in spangled banner colours. They have pauperised everyone including our hard-working civil servants, in the process making this our beloved nation a laughing stock. These are heinous acts of unpatriotism for which they now want to charge those who have politically sought to right things in our country.
Indeed, the prey has now become the hunter.
In the first place, you cannot legislate patriotism, just as you can’t legislate love. Patriotism is something that ought to be naturally ingrained in the citizens; a common creed and a deep feeling of loyalty to one’s country that envelopes all of us when we stand before our national flag or when we sing our national anthem — Blessed be the land of Zimbabwe.
I have my own favourite line in that anthem, the line where we
say ”Navatungamiri vave nenduramo” as we exhort for a clean, open, transparent and prudent national political leadership.
The Zanu PF leadership has consistently fallen short of this exhortation by dint of a litany of unpatriotic acts, some of which have been mentioned above. If we are to be true and loyal to the meaning of patriotism, we have to agree that it is Zanu PF that has shown hatred and aversion to all things Zimbabwean, including even utilising our own schools and hospitals.
They are the guilty party under the proposed Patriot Bill. But then the prey is now trailing the hunter. It is the guilty party now seeking to accuse others of not being patriotic.
This week, this article seeks to run through a few examples that show that it is none other than Zanu PF and its leadership that has committed despicable unpatriotic acts in this country.
Abrogating patriotism: The charge sheet
One cannot claim to be patriotic when they murder fellow citizens. A government that murders its own people cannot be deemed to be patriotic. For you cannot love a country when you hate and kill its citizens. It is Zanu PF which butchered people in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces during the Gukurahundi genocide, with ED being the key enforcer.
In 2008, the army murdered people with ED as the Defence minister (or was it Offence?).
The murder and unreported violence during the coup in 2017, the August 1, 2018 and January 2019 murders of innocent people by State security agents could certainly not have been orchestrated by a patriotic government that loves the country and its people.
I am not even talking about the murder of Nyasha Zhambe and Mboneni Ncube. Or even the massive deaths in our poorly equipped hospitals while the chefs unpatriotically resort to foreign medical assistance.
Now who should be held liable under the Patriot Act?
They have looted this country dry. The same country that they purport to love so much. Various scandals orchestrated by the Zanu PF elite have cost this country a lot of money. The Willowgate scandal, Zesagate, the VIP Housing scandal, the NocZim sandal were all driven and led by an unpatriotic Zanu PF elite that must now face sanction under the Patriot Act.
Frederick Shava, the Willowgate criminal who got pardoned for his unpatriotic act of corruption which also violated the Zanu PF Leadership Code, is the diplomatic and global face of our beloved country. Is it an act of patriotism to embarrass Zimbabwe by giving it the global face of a known criminal?
Just who should be charged under the proposed Patriotic Act for appointing to Cabinet unpatriotic criminals that were pardoned under dubious circumstances?
Emmerson Mnangagwa was leading the Command Agriculture Programme when over US$3 billion dollars was looted. A Parliament oversight committee and the Auditor-General discovered there were no receipts or paper trail in the government-led farm inputs scheme. Those who loot the country’s money and resources cannot purport to love it and must be prosecuted under this proposed Act. The unpatriotic charlatans must face justice.
Looting the country’s resources is a heinous act of unpatriotism.
Those who hate indigenous Zimbabweans, but love people of foreign extraction cannot claim to be patriots. Mnangagwa displaced the Shangaan people of Chilonga from their ancestral land so that his white friend Neville Coetzee could grow lucerne grass for his cattle. Today, he wants to make the charge that others are not patriotic. And yet its him who hates his fellow nationals with a passion.
Xenophobia, defined as the hatred of foreigners, is bad and we have all criticised South Africa for what is happening in that country where only Africans are being targeted on their own continent. Yet Mnangagwa suffers from a rare but worse condition, one that I would call indiginophobia. An unreasonable hatred of indigenous things including the indigenous people of this land.
And the Chilonga case is an example in this regard. You can’t claim to be patriotic when you love white foreigners at the expense of the indigenous sons and daughters of this land.
Now who should face justice under the proposed Patriot Act?
These are the same people who looted our diamonds and pauperized all of us. Now we have nothing to show for our diamond wealth. Mugabe publicly admitted that US$15 billion worth of the country’s diamond proceeds was looted from Marange. Now the unpatriotic looters who stole the country’s wealth want to deem others unpatriotic.
Putting the country into shame and disrepute must be an act of unpatriotism. Mnangagwa is named in a UN report as the lead figure in the looting of the DRC diamonds. He used the country’s military to loot diamonds for himself and his cronies. I doubt if the country benefited at all.
But the narrative out there is that Zimbabwe looted the diamonds. Putting the country’s brand and reputation into the mud is a gross act of unpatriotism. Now who should be answering questions under the proposed Patriot Act?
Fidelity Printers and Gold Refiners is a strategic Sate entity. Privatising such an entity is not only unpatriotic but is a high act of treason. Yet the ED government has placed Fidelity into private hands with a view to loot the country’s gold.
It is criminal, treasonous and a gross act of unpatriotism to do what has been done to Fidelity Printers.
What has been done to this strategic national entity is certainly not in fidelity to all the known tenets of patriotism.
When the bird snatches the catapult
In recent years, the phrase Shiri yabvuta rekeni has been developed in Shona colloquialism. The phrase literally means the bird has snatched the catapult. The catapult is a weapon used to shoot down birds with pebbles.
The English equivalent to this phrase is: The hunter has become the hunted or the prey is now trailing the hunter, the sub-title to this piece.
In the same logic, Zanu PF, the biggest transgressor so wont to many unpatriotic acts some of them mentioned in this piece, is proposing to come up with a law that is set to target its political opponents for a crime for which they are the sole culprits.
It is indeed ironic that the same unpatriotic lot that has stolen big time from this country, that has shamed this country and made it a pariah, the same lot that has made Zimbabweans a despised lot even in neighbouring South Africa, would see it fit to brand others unpatriotic.
This is the lot that has chosen to look East and not into their own country that they purport to love.
They are the elite that have sent their children for education abroad, where they seek medical services themselves while the rest of us patriotically get medical help from our ill-equipped clinics in Domboshava, Honde Valley, Dombodema and Beitbridge.
Now the prey is trailing the hunter. The hare has snatched the knobkerrie and Zanu PF is targeting others for the crime of unpatriotism for which it holds unchallenged monopoly.
Cruel, cruel fate!