IT is said that, many a time ago, a reverred village shepherd fell ill, and hence could not render his service, which was so critical as to be sacrosanct in ancient animal rearing society. As ill fate would have it, all able men were either absent, unwell, or both. A young mischievous boy, the only alternative, was given the unenviable task of herding the village sheep.
Dreadfully, the task predestined the young boy, lacking obvious stamina with a potential daunting task of fending off any stalking beasts which had intentions of devouring the treasured livestock and pride of the community.
The elders, wisely mindful of this disequilibrium that pitted wild faunas against a pitiful boy, decided that it was best the sheep graze, and be herded in the hill just adjacent of the village. This was to allow the village inhabitants to intervene and fend off any beasts, should they approach the herd and the boy, because both were biologically lacking the necessary endowments to defend themselves.
The mischievous boy was given implicit instruction to scream at the first sign of a ‘wolf’, and the village would swarm the hill and defend the boy, and the herd. The little toddler, sensing an opportunity to prank the populace engaged in a series of intentional false alarms that left the entire village incensed.
It did happen, that, given his record of ‘lies’, when the wolf eventually came to sample the delights of the herd, and the boy, the community ignored the boy’s yells, and yelps for relief. The legend has it that the wolf devoured the boy, and the entire herd. This is a story that most resonate with well. Hardly any child goes through any education system, no matter how bad, and escapes the legend of the boy who cried wolf.
The moral of the story carries two stern messages. One, if you engrave lies, treachery, corruption and cunningness into your persona, you lose your credibility, and on the day that you have something of sense and value to say, people will not lend even their rabbit’s ear to you. In their eyes, you will be no more than a petty liar! That label will consume even your most sincere truths, and you will never enjoy the attentive attention, even of the most senile citizen.
Secondly and metaphorically, the legend of the boy who cried wolf has become the custom label for a person who, despite living with, and in abject peril, decides to scream ‘horror’ only at their immediate convenience.Advertisement
Following their expulsion from Zanu PF and, for some, government, Didymus Mutasa, Joice Mujuru, Rugare Gumbo, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Ray Kaukonde and many others have been quoted in various press and to varying degrees of scathe directed at, and very critical of Zanu PF, and Zimbabwe’s first citizen, Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
Ex-Vice President Joice Mujuru and company have issued apologies to the Zimbabwean people for 35 years of misrule, and aiding Zanu PF in its destructive regulation that has created unfathomable levels of unemployment, a vendor economy, dead industry and zero commerce.
Mujuru apologised for her part in perpetuating tyranny, corruption, running down of state enterprises and parastatals, and violent crack downs on civil society and dissenting voices. A crumbling education system, an unproductive and unremittent agricultural sector, very poor and treacherous road infrastructure, deplorable standards of living, and almost 10 million living in near destitution.
The atrocities don’t end there, and neither do the apologies. Didymus Mutasa expresses cunning innocence over his role in the Gukurahundi massacres that left a conservatively estimated 20,000 Ndebele people dead, murdered, maimed, and flung into mass graves. The list is near endless, yet insufficient, and lacking justice to the true gravity of the grave past Zimbabwe has been dragged through several years of bad governance, poor policy, and plain cruelty.
Zimbabweans live in utter fear of the next violent crackdown. Even my very mildly critical but objective reproach of Zanu PF attracts incredibly worrying yet credible and warranted warnings from those who care about my welfare. For, fear has become the centre pin of the Zimbabwean psyche because in Zimbabwe, freedom of speech often breeds captivity after speech.
The Daily News was shelled several years ago, and a ruthless crackdown saw the paper shut down. MDC offices too were strategically bombed, and set ablaze in the years between 2000 and 2002. Several activists simply disappeared, and some died. Itai Dzamara is just but the latest addition to a trend, a worrying one that is.
Zimbabwe’s only globally reputable and profitable company, Econet Wireless would be a mere pipe dream had Joice Mujuru had her way in the 1990’s. Strive Masiyiwa’s account of the torment, protracted assault, and resistance he faced from a then cold, calculating, and unsympathetic Mujuru led Ministry of Telecoms is a graphic description of Mujuru the Zanu PF warrior.
From the early 80’s, government ministers were involved in one corrupt binge after the other, with no consequence at all. Parastatals were run dry, and milked by greedy officials. Development funds and monies were channelled and used for personal businesses, while poor policies were generated at the speed of light.
In the year 2008, an unprecedented splurge of violence was unleashed at the Zimbabwean people for their choice to vote overwhelmingly for Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC. Today the actual number of fatalities and casualties remains largely unaccounted, amid reports of people having their hands, fingers, and arms chopped off by Zanu PF youth militia.
Certain sections of the country remain run by informal mafias with links to top ranked government officials. Taxi ranks, and bus stations are manned by ‘strong men’ who demand a non-government aligned tax/affiliation fee of $2 per trip. The mafias even have the audacity to assault police, and soldiers.
For Joice, it is especially damning because she was a government minister for all of the 34 years preceding her axing. In those 34 years she was at times the conspicuous enemy of progress. The econet saga is just but one of the mildest accusations; her husband’s hand in illegal forex dealers that were counterproductive to Gideon Gono’s efforts to delay the demise of the economy is another.
Temba Mliswa is categorically quoted as saying that General Solomon Mujuru pointed a gun at the ex-Governor, after he had launched operation sunrise, with the intention to cull forex dealers. An initiative that provided temporary respite to Zimbabweans but cost the Mujuru Empire a good revenue stream, at our obvious expense.
In 2012-2013, the media was awash with reports of Didymus Mutasa’s hand in the burning of a primary school going toddler in a hut. The baby’s crime was that he was the son of an MDC competitor.
After 35 years of active participation, preservation, and support of Zimbabwe’s never ending dark days, it is convenient at the very least, that the once comrades now notice Zanu PF’s badness, especially after a change in personal fortune.
The same group of purged officials were for such a long time the poster boys of Zanu PF’s tenets. They campaigned and endorsed the very ethos they are all of sudden so critical of. Ironically, it has only taken this insincere crew a 5-minute taste of their own medicine to realise just how bad Zanu PF is, or was.
With mafia monies gone, and the coldness of isolation outside the revolution, Mujuru et al are all of a sudden friends of the people, a people they exploited, tormented, and tortured. A people whose destinies they ruined, futures destroyed and livelihoods annihilated, at times without the consent and to the dismay of Mugabe. (See the disinformation campaign of 2008 when Mugabe was told all is well, while the purged officials unleashed hell on the people).
It would be purely naïve to believe that Joice Mujuru, or Didymus Mutasa were either held at gun point and forced to endorse the madness, or that for 35 years they were silently critical and disapproving of the reign of terror, corruption, and bad governance. If anything they were at the forefront.
Having, accumulated huge personal fortunes that amass into near billions, at the expense of the general people and the nation; and while accused of many gross human rights violations, and abuse of office, the Gamatox group is all of a sudden the vanguard of the people?
Surely after 35 years of systematic exploitation, cruel administration, and institutional deception, the Zimbabwean people cannot, and will not, lend even the proverbial rabbit’s ear to Mujuru, Mutasa, and Gumbo et al.
As noted earlier, even if what one has to say is credible, their own reputation will work against them. Mujuru and Mutasa are, to some, degree correct that Zanu PF has run down the country, albeit with their help. It is the plain truth, but their own reputations of treachery imply that no one will ever listen.
And in this case, the boy may even be the wolf personified, calling out the masses to the hill, so as to devour them, away from the protection of their huts and closed doors. Mujuru and Co are weevils Zimbabweans know all too well, and weevils they are not interested in.
The people will not run to the hill to save the mischievous boy. Lying, deception, and stealing are the first nature of the boy, there probably is no wolf, and the boy is playing the people for his own gratification. It is a matter of the boy crying wolf, again!
Maynard Manyowa is a political & social analyst. You can reach him for feedback via his website www.maynardmanyowa.com , email – firstname.lastname@example.org , on Twitter – @iAmKudaMaynard or by liking his FB page – Maynard Kudakwashe Manyowa