By Nomazulu Thata
Is it even possible to make such comparisons between Madam Thokozani Khupe and Donald Trump regarding the shenanigans of the two politicians’ elections defeat? Yes, it is possible; this is a global village whose stories are caught on social media with great exuberating and excitement.
On NewZimbabwe.com social media there was an article about: “Like him or not; Trump changed the world and how it ticks.” In the same vein, Khupe became a symbol of a powerful female in Zimbabwe’s political landscape; it does not matter how she got there for argument’s sake? By hook and crook, Khupe was the most powerful woman politician in Zimbabwe.
Now how did it happen that both her and Trump lost crucial elections so dismally? How was their reaction to defeat? What does absolute political power mean to them? Whose political interests are they representing; virtuous politics? It is curiously interesting to realise that Thokozani Khupe and Donald Trump were in politics for personal reasons and never to serve the populace. This may be a simple judgement but how do we comprehend Donald Trump, upon losing an election, before the election counting was even completed, realising that he was losing, decided to declare himself the winner from those swing states.
Again, as a candidate, he was not supposed to declare himself a winner: he did it because he was the President of the USA. On the other hand, when Khupe realised that she was losing elections at the EOC, a privilege granted to her through connections, she attempted but failed to call off the elections as well as impose a suspension decision on Douglas Mwonzora from the MDC-T party. Wow, Wow! Bravado!
On a woman’s perspective, it remains a wish that she should have done better: she should have realised and recognised her position as acting President of the MDC-T to give a shining example of female service and never that of a patriarchal politician.
Khupe should have exercised uprightness and upheld those democratic principles upon which the original MDC was founded. A pig was given pearls and did not know how to value them. The term is biblical: “never give pearls before swine!” Thoko should have known that early, never to play in the gallery of the ruling party Zanu PF, it did not matter how deep and bitter her differences were with Chamisa’s MDC-Alliance, political maturity was found wanting.
THIS WAS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY, A MISSED OPPORTUNITY! Khupe was going to teach Chamisa democratic values of the MDC. She was supposed to have called all members of the multiple MDCs (one cannot even count them now) splinter parties to take part in an EOC and subject themselves to a free and fair democratic process, even risking her loss in the process.
To me, that is mature politics. If she had done that, she was going to prevail as the noble politician in a brutal patriarchal terrain of Zimbabwean politics.
I will still insist that her doctorate degree failed her dismally. An academic should have displayed her elevated and informed acumen in taking the MDC-T to a much higher level and leave a mark that will be hard to erase. Instead, she kicked and screamed and the moment she realised she was losing the leadership struggle, she threw in the towel and dismally attempted to blow the whole election process to a full stop.
In German we say: “wenn der Hund nicht beschießen, hätte auch der Haufen nicht gegeben. Thokozani Khupe should have realised that she is not the best politician in the land: She instead, should have paved a safe landing for herself. How is she going to be remembered as a founding member of MDC, a party of excellence? She should have earned a decent political ending of her career as an opposition politician. That exit we all witnessed was untidy, there was no decency, no respect.
Khupe is not a young woman anymore to subject herself to such rumblings and hot discussions at the glare of the social media cameras. We Africans have not learnt that we can quit politics gracefully with our dignity intact. Politics is a temporary civil service and not a life-long, by hook and crook remain relevant in the scheme of things.
Does Khupe realise the damage of working so closely with Zanu PF, a woman coming from Matabeleland? To look away, to ignore the murderous history of Mnangagwa who called her tribal nation ticks and cockroaches defeats all normal senses and humble minds. Her personal spokesperson Khaliphani Phugheni repeatedly calls Mnangagwa “His Excellency.” Sure, how low should one go to boot-lick a murderous Head of State for their personal bread and butter on their tables.
As we speak right now there are heavy rains in Matabeleland that are exposing shallow graves of 35 years. How did it pay them and for how long because politics shifts at every corner, unpredictable series and sequencies; Zero permanent friends but permanent interest? Only this week, Mnangagwa congratulated Mwonzora for winning the MDC-T presidency. Sooner or later, Khupe would be done and dusted in the Zimbabwean political landscape with an untidy exit.
We await other fireworks the coming days after those we saw. When Khupe realised that her lawyer Professor Madhuku is recognising the electoral results from the independent body that executed the event, she immediately conceded defeat and jumped to accept the deputy status offered to her.
Can politics be so brazenly disingenuous right on our eyes without shame? Khupe lacks good advice; she lacks someone who will tell her the truth about her failed politics. Khupe, time is up, leave politics and save the little decency and respect left on your sleeve. Politics is not everything, it is temporary service. We have a shining example of Advocate Jessie Majome who did not want her name messed about and around politics. She quit politics overnight, her dignity and respect intact. She is now in the service of a non-political institution. Kudos to her.
How will Khupe and Mwonzora coordinate and work together after that fracas we saw on social media at the EOC in Harare? Khupe should not cling to power: surely you are going to lose your position as leader of the opposition party in parliament.
We saw all this coming. Ruthlessly you recalled bona fide members of parliament from the MDC-Alliance who worked so hard to get themselves elected in the 2018 general elections. This is how dirty politics can be. Just when you thought you have the powerful whip to thrash MDC-Alliance Chamisa and his members of parliament to line, instead, the very whip has been snatched away from your hand and is about to be used on you and Khaliphani Phugheni, I can see this coming.
You will automatically lose the opposition leadership in parliament because you are no longer the opposition President in the MDC-T party. My advice, in the process do not lose your pride and dignity and self-respect for the sake of politics This is surely your political endgame; it should be your turning point, a rude awakening: please throw in the towel for the others to take over. Politics is a game and you have played it. Let the generations in waiting take over from where you left. We are all dispensable, expendable, disposable Thokozani.
Painful still, Khupe is not a likable politician in her homeland in Matabeleland. This is because of her clandestine dealings with president Mnangagwa. How blind can you be not to realise that your own home constituency dislikes you and you continue with “Zanu” politics below the pale.
Her spokesperson did not assist her either: Phugheni speculated with the taking over of MDC-T leadership from Madam Khupe hence his deceit, false and calculated obedience, and loyalty to her: a snake in the green grass no less. There was a video that circulated openly saying that he was going to take over leadership of MDC-T from Madam Khupe. Phugheni apologised to Senator Mwonzora for uttering falsehood about him citing that video as evidence. This is opposition MDC politics for you!
Let me come back to Trump’s failure to concede defeat from Joe Biden: what does this mean to nations in the third world especially the African continent full of despots and criminals masquerading as leaders of the second Millennium.
President Mnangagwa is watching what is going on in Washington, the cradle of civilisation and democracy. Come 2023, who is going to tell president Mnangagwa that he is not conforming to democratic rules if Trump’s USA is trumping up everything that means democracy and about democracy in the heart of American civilisation and the most powerful nation in the world.
President Trump has failed us deeply and it will take a century to eradicate the damage that he has done globally. America does not have the moral high ground anymore to school “smaller” nations about democracy. President-Elect Biden will take overpower from Trump on the 20th of January 2021 but what we are saying is that the damage Trump has done to America and the world is huge and should never be underestimated. It has far deep reaching consequences globally. These despotic tendencies of Trump will adversely have negative impact on Africa especially. Very few African leaders will relinquish power if defeated in democratic elections: Trump as the example of a leader who refused to concede defeat in a free and fair elections.
Listening to the comments on American social media regarding Trump’s refusal to concede defeat, Trump is a symptom of what was brewing in America in the past 40 years. There is a visible shift of democratic values and principles in America to the ones of the elite: the deep state: whatever that means; democrats and republicans equally. On the other hand, Khupe is a symptom of selfish opposition politics in Zimbabwe.
Advocate Chamisa refused to go to congress in 2018 with opponent contenders, he went to congress unchallenged; it was a coronation. Presidency was thrust upon him as head of his MDC-Alliance. Richard Morgen Tsvangirai went to congress without challengers too. So, Khupe wanted to do the same but did not manage, hence the unending fracas in the party from the time of the supreme court ruling right up until the 27th December 2020 EOC congress.
We await the Biden’s inauguration and hope the world will trust America’s democracy once more and be the example of what is democracy and about democratic values and principles in a dynamic and exponentially growing global processes: social, political, and economic. We hope Biden will bring sanity in American politics as we indeed hope Mwonzora will bring sanity in opposition politics in Zimbabwe.
His opposition to Zanu PF must be visible and not cosmetic. Is his MDC-T a government in waiting? We shall be looking at anything and everything about his leadership. We shall be alert; we do not want under-hand cooperation with despotic Zanu. Mwonzora please clean up the opposition and we have something to look up to.