“MORGAN Tsvangirai has stepped down in an attempt to persuade Robert Mugabe, who is reportedly uneasy about the MDC leader’s western links, to leave power. This move has been hailed by many who see it as having the potential to stop the human carnage that is taking place in Zimbabwe. In a televised address last night, Mugabe laid down a three-month timetable for his exit.”
Would such a story not be the most heroic event since Nelson Mandela, would such a story not overshadow the election of Barack Obama as US President?
With all the problems in our country, we are confronted by a question that won’t go away: where do we go next? How do we deal with the impasse, while faced with those who say the problem is caused by imperialists on one hand, and those who swear that it’s all Mugabe’s doing on the other? People who will never agree?
Well, first, we need to see why these people choose to make ideologies out of our suffering.
Ideology is normalising, especially the dogmatic Left or Right, mainstream or otherwise. It creates codes through which we become limited in the way we see the world. Be it a civic society based -ism or mass based -ism. It is limited because fixated thinking assumes a particular nature of things, be it economic, historical, intellectual, class or analytical. The time must come when new understanding, new knowledge and innovation is ‘freed’ from the shackles of the wisdom of the yesteryear.
And of course our true freedom will not come when we all sing the same song either against Mugabe or George Bush, but when we all accept the existence of a multiplicity of realities, and are willing to incorporate those realities that occur to others into our thinking. When cynicism will stop being the manner in which we view new ideas. When we refuse anything that takes away our individuality and thrives on universalising everyone. We know that universalising us and treating us all as having one brain, is the greatest evil about ideology, whatever name it comes by.
The old Left told us to free ourselves from the ruling class but did not tell us how we would be free from it or its working class. In Zimbabwe, our people trusted the liberation movements to free them from colonisation but forgot to ask, how they would free themselves from them.
Similarly, the so-called new heroes, both in the opposition and the civic society, are attempting to lead the way from Mugabe dictatorial grip but are very silent and sometimes very violent towards questions relating to the danger of them going the same way as the current ruling class.
While we have all enlisted into the struggle against Mugabe, we however, demand that the new leadership must meet the highest possible level of both scrutiny and face a higher bar of ethics and standards of leadership. We say, yes, we agree and we trust you, but with our eyes wide open. We thus continue to ask question about how we will free ourselves from them. We cringe, therefore, when we see the ‘ideologising’ of the removal of Mugabe, in the same way we react to Mugabe’s chilling ‘ideologising’ of his iron fist rule.
Some in the opposition have transformed the agenda of the people of Zimbabwe to a narrow aim: the removal of Mugabe, when the agenda must be to build a better country. Of course there is no telling that achieving such a broad objective has the removal of Mugabe as a priority. The danger with such a personalised scope is that it creates another demagogue in the person who leads to the removal of Mugabe.
Demagoguery belongs to the Stone Age society because today’s wars are won through technology and not Goliath personalities. The fact that the leaders of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have allowed themselves to be lured by the tempting agenda of the road to demagoguery must cast huge doubts on the nature of their democratic credentials and aspirations.
The real danger of this is found in society already. As I speak there are many very innocent Zimbabweans who have become so consumed with surrogacy to an extent that even suggesting that their leadership has gone wrong is considered an unforgivable crime! I understand their position, because it is definitely not ‘thou wilful ignorance’, it a result of the immorality of the politics of cults.
The precedents that are juxtapositioned with cults are pathetic to say the least. We are very used to the common stories of some cult leaders who have led both themselves and their people into death. The forms of death that they cast upon followers, who are ‘often drugged’ by the power of their leaders, are usually despicable.
Recently, a Russian cult leader led his people to a very cold remote area to die there because the world was about to end. It took well-equipped authorities days of searching and travelling to find those who were still alive in the most inhabitable area of Russia near the North Pole. Even then, they fought for their rights to die there instead of coming to face the coming Armageddon as told by their leader. And, now, six months on, Armageddon is still coming.
These cult followers’ rationale mirrors that of Mugabe’s supporters, albeit the religion is politics and the Armageddon is the re-colonisation of Zimbabwe by Tony Blair or some other selected ‘imperialist’. Mugabe, who is the great prophet of his church, compels his followers to press on, faithfully and prevent re-colonisation.
However, these supporters have failed in following through the ideology of their leader. They have failed to relate their actions to Mugabe’s claims of standing in defence of the people. Because these claims necessarily assume that, he and his supporters would make every right decision to protect not just the land but also the people from being killed by Western powers, who would use the economy to fight their war.
If, Mugabe was genuine about being the people’s protector, he would realise the inevitability of him losing a war waged on the economy, and step aside as a measure to avoid economic genocide from taking place in Zimbabwe.
Yet, on the other hand, some in the opposition have made removing Mugabe an ideology. In doing so, they have chosen to completely disregard the human cost that any form of sanction and economic gerrymandering would have on innocent Zimbabweans. People who have had no political view or never supported either Mugabe or Tsvangirai.
In fact, at a rally in 2003, Tsvangirai famously told his supporters that if they were hungry then, that was just the beginning. He told them that if they were to avert further hunger, they had to stand fast behind him and help him remove Mugabe. In retrospect, yes he was right because comparing the state of the economy then and now one finds prophecy in this great man’s words.
My only problem with this approach is the immorality that underpins the prophecy. The insensitivity, to an inhuman level, of Tsvangirai not to realise that the people of Zimbabwe listened, that they have fought for him and that if Mugabe is not giving in, it time to scale down the suffering. Life is not a zero-sum game where if he were to make the decision to save lives, over a fair and safe deal, he would be the loser. He would in fact be the winner!
I am sure there will be those who see my call for saving lives instead of political careers as a cowardly act, as an attempt to steal victory for Mugabe through the backdoor. However, it is only through cynicism that we can see the possibility of Mugabe snatching a win from anyone this late in his life and career.
Mugabe is beyond victory. The best that can happen to him is to give the guillotine a miss. He is at the end of his life and political career. Thus, if it is truly this man that we are fighting, then the life that he potentially has ahead of him is not worth the millions of lives that are now scattered across the face of the earth and those dying in Zimbabwe.
As a result, every Zimbabwean must realise that, when this man is gone we will remain, but with many of our close friends and relatives dead, with nothing but graves to rule on. We will mourn and when the hysteria is over, we shall have the memories and the pain.
The calls for war and ‘inaction-until-hunger-gets-to-kill-Mugabe-himself for us’ theories are as dangerous as the ideologies on both sides. It is clear that these calls emanate more from the anger and desire to see Mugabe humiliated than they are enthused by the real life conditions of the people in Zimbabwe. The conditions of those whose political views we will never know as they kept them close to their hearts, and took down with them, to their graves – killed by hunger or political violence. Those who wished to see a better day, a day that remained so far from them as the sun. Yet today, Tsvangirai and his well-fed supporters continue to refuse to take a step backwards and consider the Global Political Agreement as the best alternative to war and the status quo.
It has become clear to me that Zimbabwe’s only other solution, which may be successful in excluding Mugabe from the future of our country, would be for both Mugabe and Tsvangirai to step aside and allow a caretaker government to take charge.
Tsvangirai, taking the moral high ground, should now consider excluding himself from the leadership quest and force Mugabe into doing the same. I am prepared today to ask Tsvangirai to step aside if that would ensure that Mugabe steps aside, thus getting rid of our eternal enemy.
Unless we learnt nothing from Mao’s Long March, it is foolhardy to lead people in a struggle where only a fraction gets to the end of the march or until they start roasting each other for food. Many will say why ask Morgan to step down instead of Robert? Answer: he is the sane one in the two belligerents!