WINSTON Churchill observed correctly that political lies can run across half the globe naked before the truth puts on its clothes to join the race. Politically-motivated falsehoods have no respect for cover and common decency.
I was shocked senseless when l attended a book discussion at the University of Botswana, where Peter Godwin’s The Last Days of Robert Mugabe was being debated. A man who proudly described himself as an “MCD-T insider” and “an intellectual” told the gathering that “it has been established that Welshman Ncube will do anything to keep Zanu PF in power.”
It is then that l realised that the naked, politically-motivated lies that are floating about the name and person of Welshman Ncube must not escape probity. It is also helpful to notice that the naked lies themselves are not the real enemy of the truth, the true enemies of the truth are the many unquestioning believers who swallow without chewing these political lies, and receive them as given wisdom.
This article is not a defence of Welshman Ncube. While Ncube’s responses to the naked lies are slowly getting dressed to join the race, mine is a direct and democratic confrontation to the climate of hatred and falsehoods created by MDC-T information mandarins around politicians like Ncube that they fear and hate.
Ncube’s “play-it-clean” approach to politics in an environment infested with MDC-T and Zanu PF ruffians suffers a severe paralysis. Confronting the dirty tricks of Zanu PF and MDC-T is no white collar business but a monumental, dare-devil come-down-to-the-mud affair!
It appears that the rusty cliché about politics being “a dirty game” assumes some fresh truth each day. When suicidal Alqaeda Jihadists plane-bombed the American Twin Towers, killing a multitude of innocent civilians, George Bush remarked that “the world is very dangerous place” before he threatened to “smoke them out “wherever they are, the terrorists!”
What George Bush, for political reasons, did not tell humanity is that Osama bin Laden and Ayman El-Zawahiri, the two loathed Alqaeda masterminds, are both CIA trainees. Never mind also that George Bush senior is remembered as a family associate and consultant to the Bin Laden family in the rich business of making roads and mining for oil.
That painful American paradox and political duplicity where the left hand trains and arms terrorists, and then with the right hand they declare a global war on terror and bomb half of the world to “smoke them out”, is cinematic of the unhygienic nature of politics.
In the dirty game of politics, politicians and their organisations cause problems by night and during the day, they pretend to solve them and expect money from donors, votes from the public and thanks from humanity for the trouble. They indicate right and turn left, while speaking in forked tongues and dissembling vocabulary. The very line between liberators and enslavers has become too thin if it still exists at all, and that makes up the old dirty game.
The question and major concern of this article is how does a goat and cattle herder from Silobela, armed with village morality, wisdom and sense of communal justice and decency, equipped with knowledge of the law, and given to choosing the truth and fairness, just how does Welshman Ncube survive the vicissitudes and falsehoods that punctuate the Zimbabwean political playing field?
I propose a dinner between Welshman Ncube and Niccollo Machiavelli, the ancient Florentine statesman. I will be back to this point later, now to the naked falsehoods.
The naked falsehood that Ncube is a Zanu PF apologist, defender and loyalist tells us a lot about the calibre of his accusers and the entertaining quality of their thinking. Morgan Tsvangirai, the president of MDC-T, in his own words recently told South African journalist David Smith that “Mugabe is my hero”, and that he only differs with “the violence that Mugabe started in the past ten years” -- which excludes the Gukurahundi genocide, Mugabe’s capital crime against humanity and his worst offence on record. We know of course that Tsvangirai started finding fault with Mugabe well after he had packed in his guns in Matabeleland.
Not only that, but Tsvangirai dismissed those who want Mugabe tried for crimes against humanity of unnecessarily being “retributive.” Tsvangirai added that Mugabe must do his best to rescue “his legacy” so that he is not remembered in bad light when he is gone. If this is not a defence of Zanu PF and a glorification of Mugabe, then what is?
Roy Bennett, now a senior MDC-T stalwart, who is now being lionised as a fierce Zanu PF opponent and angelised as an innocent victim of Mugabe’s brutality, is actually Pachedu, the same former Rhodesian forces cadre who joined Zanu PF and only left in 1999 after a dispute over primary election results when he wanted to represent Zanu PF in parliament. So Roy Bennett only left Zanu PF over a primary election grievance, not any ideological difference or opposition to Zanuism.
The example of Morgan Tsvangirai and Roy Bennett shows beyond doubt that the cream of MDC-T leaders are actually aggrieved Zanu PF cadres and not meaningful revolutionaries. The painful irony is that these Zanu PF dropouts are the ones whose communicators and mandarins are accusing Ncube of being Zanu, when from his days of herding goats in Silobela up to lecturing law and serving clients at advocates’ chambers in Harare never joined PF. The records are available and the facts speak for themselves.
Tsvangirai moves around the world collecting dirty money and awards for ‘courage’ in fighting Zanu PF, while Bennet addresses the French in Paris describing “the crisis in Zimbabwe.” Like George Bush and his silence on the relationship between America and Alqaeda, Tsvangirai and Bennett will not tell the world about how they helped build and support Zanu PF even as Mugabe killed in Matabeleland. The world is indeed “a very dangerous place” for the unthinking.
There is no doubt that Welshman Ncube is a politician of mascular intellectual abilities and robust communication skills. An avid consumer of classic literatures and a writer of pulsating impact, Ncube is no push over. Part of the picturesque legal vocabulary that decorates the grammar and expression of many lawyers and students of law today in Zimbabwe is part of Ncubes’ flowery intellectual furniture, especially the extracts from legal and academic debates he used to hold with colleagues at the University of Zimbabwe.
He has been accused of being “aloof” and sometimes “bookish” and “too intellectual” in approach. As those who fear him in MDC-T throw mud and other dirt at him and his person, Ncube chooses to look aside. The trouble is that a political lie, however naked, when frequently repeated without being challenged tends to gain belief as Goebbels observed.
The signature of a volatile temper and impatience is scribbled along the forehead in fierce furrows, yet the man remains of a calm and collected demeanour – armed with the disposition of a charm warrior who is a disarming negotiator.
His biggest political weakness is the silence in the face of false accusations. When the truth is not told in politics and elsewhere, naked lies and myths tend to take its place. Ncube’s truth about himself and what he is up to is taking too long in the dressing room while naked lies are flying about uncontested. Smart in mind and body, he chooses to ignore lies which unfortunately gain belief among the gullible.
Far from being “bookish” I think what makes Ncube appear “aloof” and removed is the ZAPU and Joshua Nkomo philosophy of “playing it clean” and “by the rules,” which in politics amounts to the biblical “turning the other cheek”. While in religion if you turn the other cheek you may earn some salvation, in politics you get punched on the nose.
While the real sellouts of Zimbabwe, who are raising millions of United States dollars on the false promise that they will deliver land back to the colonialists, collect awards for courage and masquerade as heroes, genuine fighters for democracy like Ncube and others have naked lies and dirty labels heaped upon them.
Because of their silence, it becomes a challenge to excavate and rescue the truth from below the massive debris of falsehoods that have been constructed. It is indeed true that it is trees that bear fruits that suffer stoning.
Niccollo Machiavelli’s political classic The Prince is a political treatise that is treated like a political adult movie, circulated with care and sometimes with shame, yet it remains the most candid description of power politics. What Ncube and other believers in political cleanplay have yet to observe is that in politics, the truth alone is not enough.
Also playing it by the rules when your opponents are resorting to Machiavellian force and fraud is not helpful. The MDC-T split, which was caused by Tsvangirai’s violation of the MDC-T constitution, is now ironically being blamed on Ncube with the Americans recommending that he needs to be “pushed out” which is coded intelligence parlance for “eliminated.”
What Ncube needs to add to his many political and intellectual credentials and recommendations is a “devil ingredient” without which one may not win against dirty players in Zanu PF and MDC-T in their enduring service to the interests of colonialists. I propose a dinner between Welshman Ncube and Niccollo Machiavelli, with short spoons!