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Zimbabwe: No more running with the hares and hunting with the wolves

28/12/2017 00:00:00
by Seewell Mashizha

THE importance of the feel-good factor cannot be underestimated. It has the capacity to set people on paths that demand the best of them and subsequently reward them with optimism and self-gratification. Driven thus, people exert themselves even beyond specified parameters. Zimbabwe has been on just such a path for some time now since the advent of operation restore legacy.

That Zimbabwe had become a kind of theatre of the absurd is undeniable. We had a situation in which the former first lady, obsessed with a burning ambition to be the next President was abusing her imagined authority, left, right and centre. That power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely is a given.

Grace Mugabe, the former first lady, was daily becoming more and more intoxicated by the exuberance of her usurped power. Having successfully insinuated herself into ZANU-PF party slogans and accorded herself a status above the party vice presidents, she began to position herself for ultimate triumph at the envisaged special congress that was to have been held before the year was out.

She became so daring and bold that she even condoned corruption in public. Lo and behold, at the so-called interface rallies she publicly exonerated Jonathan Moyo, the former Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, of any wrong-doing regardless of the fact that he ought to have been put to his defence over the irregularities at ZIMDEF and the manner in which he accessed that organisation’s funds for hazy purposes.

As it turned out, both Moyo and Gandawa, his deputy, were culpable. In the end something had to give, as indeed it did when the ZDF moved in to straighten the convolutions. What followed thereafter is now in the public domain. Ironically, the special congress formalized the arrest of the ambitions of the Gang of Four to which she belonged.

Following the ascendance of Emmerson Mnangagwa to the office of President, there are encouraging signs of positive change on the ground. He has stressed the need for a new work ethic and made it clear that there will be no sacred cows where corruption is concerned as well as where the discharge of one’s responsibilities is concerned. This stance can and should easily become a national mantra.

Opposition parties, while being possible governments-in-waiting, should not preoccupy themselves only with gaining power. As ED has said, the country belongs to everyone regardless of political affiliation. It is, therefore, the bounden duty of everyone to play their part with honesty and diligence. Scoring cheap points will not necessarily translate into votes. When the time comes, the electorate will know which side its bread is buttered and there will be a price to pay for those perceived as having run with the hares and hunted with the wolves. The mood in the country is a clear signal that there is no longer any room for proxy politics and equivocation.


Newsday, one of Zimbabwe’s dailies, recently reported that there was no consensus within opposition ranks regarding the aim and content of the visit to Washington by Tendai Biti, Nelson Chamisa and two political activists, Dewa Mavhinga and Peter Godwin. Newsday reported Obert Gutu, the MDC-T publicity man, as having said that the party wanted all kinds of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe lifted to give the country a fresh start after years of economic collapse blamed on former President Robert Mugabe’s policies.

Gutu was even more emphatic on his Facebook page where he wrote:

All forms of sanctions that were imposed against Zimbabwe must be IMMEDIATELY removed!!!

Furthermore, Gutu told The Southern Eye:

That is our party position. The MDC-T is against and does not believe in any forms of sanctions, and we are saying they must be lifted.

Reporting on the same trip the Daily News cited the representatives of the MDC-Alliance who went on a trip to Washington to lobby the American Congress as having described the current Zimbabwean administration as having come out of a coup. The Daily News states clearly without equivocation that Biti, Chamisa, Mavhinga and Peter Godwin urged Washington to keep its Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act in place until there were notable changes in Zimbabwe.

This can only be read to mean that the quartet wanted ZDERA in place until the opposition had ascended to power. By the same token, the understanding has to be that elections can only be deemed to have free and fair if the MDC- Alliance wins. This, of course is hypocritical.

No amount of damage control or spin-doctoring by Chamisa or anyone else can change the purpose and import of their Washington foray. The now out-of-sorts Jonathan Moyo, wailing as expected, from the all-too-familiar cold of a self-inflicted political wilderness, was under no illusion regarding the objectives of the MDC-Alliance trip.

Chamisa’s lame response was that the trip was being misinterpreted or words to that effect. In a joint statement issued on their return, Chamisa and Biti made an attempt to sanitize their trip by describing it as having been their patriotic duty to ensure that Zimbabwe got back into business again, particularly by bringing back African and international confidence through running what they called a truly credible election in 2018. There is no prize for guessing the desired result of such an election. In their characteristic bombast Biti and Chamisa said:

During this trip, we met business and political people in Africa and beyond. We made presentations to various bodies, including the US Foreign Relations Committee, exhorting them to assist this country in its return to legitimacy which is the only way we can unlock the political and economic handcuffs currently arresting the nation.

Erudite as this might sound, the two men didn’t fool anyone, not even members of their own political circles. Their hope of course is that the electorate will not wise up to their shenanigans. One can only wish them joy in the self-willed delusion.

What is baffling is how Nelson Chamisa, reputedly a sharp brain has this propensity of involving himself in activities that cannot possibly endear him to the electorate. But perhaps we should not wonder too much about that. This man of God is probably driven by motives that are not necessarily charitable. His first major victory in court as an advocate was on behalf of capital. In July 2015 the country’s Supreme Court made a ruling allowing the arbitrary termination of employment contracts. Consequent upon this ruling some 700 jobs were lost inside a week. This prompted workers, through their unions, to seek protection by appealing for the country’s Presidential Powers to be invoked.

One would imagine that Chamisa would have seen the contradiction and the conflict of interest in him as a top official of the MDC-T whose traditional base is the workers fighting against workers’ interests for whatever reason. And now in another miscalculation, Chamisa is part of a lobby begging for the maintenance of economic sanctions against Zimbabwe knowing full well that such an action hurts and marginalizes the rank and file of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has a law against domestic violence, a law that took no less than a decade to make and finally pass. The Act is quite comprehensive and among other things, in Part 1, Sub-sections  1(c) and 1 (d) of Section 3, the act states:

For the purposes of this Act, domestic violence means any unlawful act, omission or behaviour which results in death or the direct infliction of physical, sexual or mental injury to any complainant by a respondent and includes the following—
(a) physical abuse;
(b) sexual abuse;
(c) emotional, verbal and psychological abuse;
` (d) economic abuse;
The recently-appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Lieutenant-General, Dr. Sibusiso B Moyo in response to what he saw as the Washington sanctions trip decried the myopia that made the gentlemen in question expected to see overturned in two weeks things that had accumulated over 37 years.

Observing that sanctions hurt the common people more than it did the elite, Moyo said Zimbabweans should advance their political goals without inviting punitive measures by strangers on fellow citizens. And there lies the rub! This is what the learned MDC-Alliance gentlemen are doing – inviting punitive measures against Zimbabweans.

I believe that a case can be made against them and their political grouping for perpetrating domestic violence against the nation through actions that in effect constitute mass domestic violence in that they cause emotional, verbal and psychological as well as economic abuse. ZANU-PF can exploit this avenue and further educate the electorate to see that they are being whipped into line through subtle domestic violence.

Political contestation in the current dispensation is likely to be fierce and disabling in some cases. It cannot be business as usual. The opposition parties should be seen to be standing with the people and not be seen to be complicit in deepening the pain, deprivation and dismay of the masses.

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