IN both journalism and intellectualism it is always important to observe the essence of issues and ideas, and to avoid focus on personalities, trivia, and myths. Academia breeds great minds, and great minds are pre-occupied with ideas, while small minds discuss people.
At the risk of engaging in the personality, trivia, and myths around the person of Jealousy Mawarire it is important for me to note that this friend and colleague of mine seems to have an unhealthy craving for prosaicism, and of course it becomes a matter of concern when one so fond of flaunting his journalistic and intellectual credentials tends to have an obsession with vacuousness and banality.
There are tonnes of factual and policy matters around which one can build a very strong case against Zanu PF and its leadership. This is a ruling party that is torrentially afflicted with infighting, a party thriving on purging as opposed to building, a party so dismal in implementation of policy, and a party that views its membership as a timber forest, where straight trees are cut down and the crooked ones are left standing. Above all this is a party presiding over the worst economy Zimbabwe has ever endured, and is apparently in no fire-fighting mood at all.
I am not exactly aware of what George Charamba’s so-called “latest column” was all about, and I am no big fan of disguised writers either, being one writer that has for years taken both credit and blame for what I write in my own name; but I did read a rather unadorned piece with jejune allegations over implied improper relations between Mawarire and the leader of the party Zim-PF, relations said to be “not of the scandalous type”, but alleged to be extra-professional anyway.
Well, the piece had no informative value, no intellectual relevance of any sort, no ethical identity in its content, and certainly next to nothing in terms analytical value. It was a follow up on what I believe must have been a series of vapid insult exchanges through the abuse of media space, and all the piece did was belittle Mawarire, make funny of him, disagreed with him that its author was George Charamba, and made riff-ruff references to the Holy Book, The Bible.
This thoughtlessness sadly defines the character of Jealousy Mawarire the writer, and even sadder the Christian practitioner.Advertisement
The citation of verses and evangelisation of a political argument between people portraying themselves as well-read intellectuals is frankly an insult to both the theological and the intellectual community. While it is true that there are wantonly reckless political activists that have repeatedly deified some political leaders in the country, particularly President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, it is a dangerous generalisation for Mawarire to state that President Robert Mugabe is “Zanu PF’s god.”
It is equally dangerous for the Christian faith to have dogmatic narcissists who brag in newspapers that they “have known God,” and they have “no need to worry.” More worrying is the condemnation of George Charamba’s “body and soul” by another mere mortal simply claiming spiritual purity by declaring unproven knowledge of God and self-proclaimed acceptance of Jesus Christ.
True, Mawarire could be a knower of God and an accepter of Jesus Christ, but that does not licence him to pronounce judgements on the status of other people’s bodies and souls, at least from the very Biblical perspective that Mawarire wishes to misuse as a tool in political analysis.
The abuse of Psalms 20:7 where David, or whoever wrote that psalm, urges readers to “trust in the Lord, not in chariots and horses,” was quite telling in terms of Mawarire’s depth in both spiritual and political affairs.
There is simply no evidence that supporters of President Robert Mugabe have by virtue of supporting the man, lost their trust in the Lord, if at all we consider for once that one’s politics has a bearing on their faith, or that all supporters of political parties have to have a “lord” they believe in.
It is Mawarire’s democratic right to place charges of misrule on the Head of State if he so wishes, like he has done on many occasions, but to charge that those that support President Robert Mugabe are doing so at the expense of finding peace with God is plainly unfounded, if not fallacious.
It does not sound right to argue that beneficiaries of corruption, patronage and the mega-looting of our day “can never walk the streets of Harare without worrying about reprisals.” In fact these people probably walk the streets of Harare more often than the majority of the public, and there is simply nothing the matter to suggest that they are worried.
Mawarire evangelises about how the thieves in our country have no peace, and even alleges that their wives may be betrothed to them, but they lie with other men – a shallow-minded contriving of a verse in the 28th chapter of the book of Deuteronomy.
Yes it is preposterous for anyone to declare that Mawarire’s is not at peace if Mawarire himself feels peaceful, but Mawarire is simply being delusional in imagining that he is fighting for the freedom of Zanu PF supporters, simply by diktat of him being part of Zim-PF.
Mawarire’s party is largely an offshoot of Zanu-PF, and the abundant truth about it is that it is simply a competing power force to the ruling party, a political competitor, not the moral supremacy of our politics, as Mawarire wishes to imply.
It would be much simpler for Mawarire to win the policy battle between BUILD and ZimAsset. Imagining to be fighting for the freedom of Charamba and others in Zanu PF is the child-play Zimbabweans can no longer afford to entertain after the “Zanu yaora, Mugabe must go” mantra of the Tsvangirai era.
It is hard to imagine what Mawarire thought he was doing comparing the financial position of his newly formed party to that of overpaid PSMAS board members of the Cuthbert Dube era, and it is also hard to understand how Zim–PF is “certainly managing by the grace of the Lord Jesus.”
Is this an exclusion of the same grace in other political parties, or just misplaced Christianising of Zim-PF? And to allege that the happiness in Zim-PF is found in the “bosom of Jesus Christ!” Umm.
While it is our shared wish as a nation that those looting our national asserts must indeed be troubled, in fact jailed; the supposition that the looters must be facing hardships accessing their stolen funds stashed somewhere in foreign lands is to me mere angry imagination from a man who should know better. Mawarire needs to provide readers with evidence on the effect of OFAC on the alleged foreign-stashed stolen funds. Are these allegations of a proven nature or are they simply speculations of a propaganda nature?
The status of our health care system is indeed exigent, and the fact that our elites find in visiting foreign hospitals a solution to the challenges we as a nation are facing is infuriating.
Instead of telling us how BUILD will address this scourge in our midst, Mawarire tells us that Mugabe’s people can activate sickness in their bodies whenever they are on foreign trips, that way enabling them to get to be treated abroad.
The satire is poor, the intention is laughable, and the timing of it all is pathetic. You do not fight personal battles with imaginary enemies using the sorry state of everyone’s health delivery system. That is trivialising a national tragedy, and that kind of artlessness is not good for someone so obsessed with the idea of becoming a star politician.
It is expected for the opposition to capitalise on such gaffes as what happened with the President reading a wrong speech, or down-shouting his own party through a tongue-slip slogan, and it is also expected that such downsides of an incumbent leader can be exaggerated by an aspiring opposition. However, Mawarire cannot buttress his argument that leaders in the ruling party know no peace simply because of these gaffes. It is just a simplistic extrapolation with no academic legs to stand on.
Mawarire is dead right in denouncing those Zanu PF leaders that have childishly claimed that the party is united and going strong, adamantly claiming there are no factions within the party.
To say there are factions in Zanu PF is in fact an understatement. The reality of the matter is that there is a vicious ownership war between the “stockholders” and the “stakeholders,” to borrow the lexicon of the military men; them being the side counting itself “stockholders” and custodians of the party. The military men are furious with takeover attempts from Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere’s group, variously known as G4O, Team Underwear, or Team Amai.
I have been a column writer for The Herald for almost ten years now, and there is not a single day I was either directed or forced to write anything I did not believe in, even at the time Jonathan Moyo says he was pushing for my ouster as a columnist.
Zanu PF is a party with an ideology and policies that are attractive to its supporters, and to assert that everyone who supports Zanu PF policies does so under duress and some kind of force is simply untrue, unproven, and preposterous.
Mawarire suggests that Webster Shamu is his reference for someone with an idea of how journalists can be forced to “write lies about situations they know the truth about.” I am sure Shamu knows too about the trauma of suspending elected leaders and replacing them with one’s factional cronies.
He is the one that perfected that deadly culture at Zanu PF, before Kasukuwere came in to popularise it in the most notorious of manners.
Mawarire might want to tell the nation for whose benefit Shamu performed the injustice of manipulating elections for the leadership of Zanu PF provincial structures.
Gracious God knows what Mawarire means when he says his political opponents in Zanu PF must “come to God and repent of their sins, and then join Zimbabwe People First.” And he says the reward is the “freedom and emancipation of their children’s children.”
Is this the kind of cheapness Zim-PF is going to allow in its marketing drive? Hopefully there will be millions of Zimbabweans flocking to this irresistible attraction of a party of godly and sinless people – like Mawarire himself, who has “known God.”
When someone from a party led by cadres of the liberation war heroes decides to write for the public, the expectation is that his views and opinions will carry the weight of the legacy of the liberation legacy.
Zim-PF is founded on people I personally consider to be mature veterans of both politics and war, much as I do not necessarily agree with their credo, ambitions, intentions, and ideological leanings. Teurai Ropa Nhongo is an indelible legend of our war history, and no amount of fallout with Zanu PF will take away that.
Zim-PF is not supposed to be a movement of excitable students and purposeless street activists like how the MDC started, and Mawarire must simply grow up from the days of UZ student politics.
The rants and pontificating over George Charamba’s alleged shortcomings as published by newzimbabwe.com are not helpful to the idea of selling Zim-PF, and the sooner Mawarire understands this the better.
We do not really care much what George Charamba thinks of his job, or what he thinks about one Pedzisayi Ruhanya, or one Tonderai Shonhe. For all we care as Zimbabweans, the quartet of Charamba, Mawarire, Ruhanya and Shonhe can go drown in the next ocean debating their academic relevance, and no single Zimbabwean will give a rat’s hind over such kind of nonsense.
This is not the first time Mawarire has abused newspaper space to vent at his personal adversaries. I hope editors will take heed, and avoid wasting readers’ time by publishing personal vendetta as academic opinion.
The only academic thing in Mawarire’s piece was his reminder to us that he is a Rhodes scholar, whatever that means.
Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!
REASON WAFAWAROVA is a political writer based in SYDNEY, Australia.