Zimbabwe: And the circus goes on

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By Seewell Mashizha

JUST when I thought there could not possibly be anything else or anyone else coming, along comes this Nyoni fellow with a tall tale to tell. He was on ZTV prime time claiming to be the newest kid on the block that everyone must vote for. The name of his party: the Zimbabwe African Congratulation Party! I swear by my sweet life that I have absolutely no idea what the fellow means by that. But, as Nero said on Hard Talk, “the more the merrier.”

But even more fascinating was what Nyoni said about himself and about his grandfather. If he is to be believed, his grandfather was some kind of super hero who went to fight on the Russian front during the Second World War. He then went behind enemy lines and single-handedly subdued many Nazi soldiers.

Nyoni says he has always known since he was small that one day he would rule Zimbabwe. Asked about the strength of his party, he gave the impression that people are falling over themselves to join his party. When pressed further, Nyoni claimed that he has very close to a million followers! What did any of us do to deserve such a disaster?

Nyoni has a democratic right to daydream. It should soon be nomination time. It will be interesting to see if he makes it through nomination. I am reminded of a teen-aged boy who was barely literate and herded my father’s cattle. Whenever he got paid his wages he made sure to buy a lot of exercise books and ball point pens. He said he was writing a book to make him rich and famous one day.

All this because he happened to know someone in the neighbourhood who had made good with his books. This fellow is probably looking for a job and thinks there is a vacancy in the highest office of the land. You can sympathise with the dreamer regarding the rough terrain that he is likely going to have to traverse. And you can also sympathise with him and dreamy-eyed others who may need some counselling when it is all over in the next few weeks.

In 2010, after hitting his head against a brick wall several times and making no headway whatsoever as no one appeared willing to underwrite his project, Daniel Chingoma of the stalled helicopter project formed a party that he called the Zimbabwe Industrial and Technological Revolutionary (ZITER) Party. He has thrown his hat into the melee this year and swears that he is a serious presidential candidate in the 2018 elections. Regarding why he had formed a political party in 2010, Chingoma had this to say:

I formed that party for fun. I was merely testing the waters. I was not serious and, by the way, I never registered the party with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

Apparently, as of now, the only other member of Chingoma’s party is Edna, his wife. Chingoma says he is serious, this time around. It will be interesting to see if he really means to run for president this year.

In something that is perhaps more reflective of his artistic background than anything else Chingoma put up his posters in public conveniences because, as he said, everyone must go to the toilet sometime. Since Chingoma is also a musician when he feels like it, I cannot put it beyond him to have listened to and then tried to ape the avant garde comment by Bob Dylan in which he says even the president of the United States must stand naked sometime.

In Bob Dylan’s words, a President does have to stand naked at some point during the course of a day. But he can also be dressed down and be metaphorically naked in that sense. This is inevitable if, for instance, a president is foul-mouthed Donald Trump who incurred the wrath of all thinking Africans at home and in the diaspora, by denigrating the African continent with an almost unprintable word.

Trump is an off-the-cuff sort of person and is not known for reading and research. That is the only way to put into context his recent racist remarks against a whole African race and his obvious ignorance about Africa’s contributions to the world.

If he were different he would know that official Western-sanctioned history suppresses and demeans black history. And all that despite the fact that the feats of our people in the fields of medicine, architecture, invention, sport and the arts as well as the internet as we now know it, are far superior than most.

Regrettably, it is this very same Donald Trump that our aspiring president, Nelson Chamisa, is dying to be friends with. He wants that so desperately that he was willing to weave a lie about the promise of USD15 billion if he should be victorious in the coming elections. Strangely, Comrade Nero denied this on Hard Talk. His refutation was a lame and sorry denial because it was all recorded on video. Being the fundi that he is on ICT issues he ought to have known that there was no escaping his moment of indiscretion in Chinhoyi.

And the circus goes on. This guy from ZANU-PF called Terrence Mukupe who is otherwise a likeable fellow with a world of knowledge in finance-related issues, seems to have a propensity for alienating people, like someone who speaks with his foot in his mouth. Mukupe has had a couple of gruelling verbal duels with the ebullient Tendai Biti and in the last one he allowed Biti’s raw verbiage to get to him. The rest is now history though not necessarily water under the bridge yet.

To be fair to Mukupe, the Star FM presenters should have exercised some control over the utterances of Tendai Biti who called Mukupe a drunkard and a clown, something that brought out the innate vitriol in Mukupe who somewhat unexpectedly shot a barb at Biti with a not-so- veiled innuendo whose wider meaning might still come back to haunt him.

Not too long before the radio incident, Mukupe told a campaign meeting that the army would not allow Nelson Chamisa to assume office if he were to emerge victorious. This was in direct conflict with ED’s pledge for free, fair, transparent and credible elections. Simon Khaya Moyo had to disown Mukupe’s words as not representing government thinking and chastised him for his outburst.

As if that was not enough Mukupe said something that was indirectly critical of his Minister, Patrick Chinamasa. In his view only Bernard Chidzero was a proper Minister of Finance, the rest had no background in finance. One wonders if Mukupe really thinks that that matters. How then does one explain Mahathir Mohamad in Malaysia?

After Mukupe’s indiscretions, Resident Minister of Masvingo Province, Josiah Hungwe told villagers in his province that ED is a soldier and would shoot anyone who tries to “run away” from him. One is tempted to say ED’s people are letting him down by raising the spectre of violence when he himself is openly talking peace and peaceful elections.

In the aftermath of the MDC-T Chamisa faction’s primary elections reports indicate that over 80 complaints have been lodged by losing candidates. Remarks and comments by Elias Mudzuri corroborate allegations of vote-buying and rigging. Before Mudzuri was sent to Senate he expressed his disapproval of moves to have him compete against his juniors.

But perhaps the most sensitive situation for Chamisa’s faction at the moment is the disruptive competition between Charlton Hwende (Chamisa’s alleged business partner) and Shakespeare Mukoyi, the reputed commander of the ‘Vanguard’. According to Murisi Zwizwai, the Vanguard has fallen out of favour and has, in effect, been dismantled. Zwizwai says the Vanguard was set up, in the first place, to try checkmate the perceived ZANU-PF youth militia – an entity that has since gone into obsolescence.

Feeling discarded, Shakespeare Mukoyi has gone public on the activities of the organ he commanded. Mukoyi has come clean on the machinations and malevolent activities carried out by his group to prop up the takeover of the opposition party following the demise of Morgan Tsvangirai, the party’s founding president in February this year.

Mukoyi insists that there are underhand moves by top party officials to impose deputy national treasurer Charlton Hwende as MDC-T   Kuwadzana East constituency candidate when he himself had been given the constituency by Chamisa in appreciation of services rendered during the messy takeover of power.

“I feel betrayed that they say The Vanguard is bad, yet they are the ones who were behind the operations of The Vanguard,” Mukoyi recently said.

Meanwhile Chamisa recently participated in a road run with party youths to prove his fitness to be President of Zimbabwe. He went on to challenge 76-year old Emmerson Mnangagwa to prove his fitness on the run and invited the youths to a braais at State House after he achieves victory in the elections.

Things are getting “curiouser and curiouser.”