ZIMBABWE – In declaring his membership to the yet-to-be-launched People First party, Jealousy Mawarire proudly and eloquently articulated the perceived excellence of the project’s leader-in-hiding, Dr Joice Mujuru.
He wrote telling us that he and millions more Zimbabweans are the proud supporters of the “People First project,” for the good reason that Dr Mujuru so happens to be of a “motherly and moderate political inclination.”
To the generality of Zimbabweans Jealousy Mawarire is the famous or notorious man who precipitated the July 2013 general elections, depending on one’s political standing.
To this column’s readers Mawarire is the “qualified journalist” from Rhodes University who once lambasted this writer for daring to say that nothing between the legs of a Tswana man had grown any longer than its normal size, because Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa had declared so.
This was after The Sunday Mail reported that some visiting man’s manhood had been “miraculously lengthened” by the declarations of the clergyman; among other alleged miracles, mainly of a bizarre nature.
Mawarire defended the reported organ-enlargement miracle with a scathing counter-article in the same The Sunday Mail, challenging me to bring over my own manhood to the Prophet’s church for a challenge miracle if I dared.
While the bidding for moderate politics in Zimbabwe is well documented in terms of its bidders and their intentions, the motherly element of politics has not really featured much in our discourse in the past, until lately of course, if the reported recent events at the burial of Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu are anything to go by. But that is a matter for another day.
We have heard in the past that Zanu-PF has, or is it had, a moderate faction to its politics, as well as another group the opposition MDC formations calls “hardliners.” It is the moderates that Morgan Tsvangirai has said his party is prepared to work with, and it is the moderates that Western embassies have publicly said they want to engage.
We are told the hardliners are responsible for our dire predicament economically, them being the chief-annoyance to the benevolent West.
It was the so-called moderates within Zanu-PF that campaigned against party leader President Mugabe in 2008, leading to Tsvangirai’s first round electoral lead. It was the moderates that opposed the holding of the 2013 harmonised elections within Zanu-PF itself, eventually carried out through the outcome of Jealousy Mawarire’s landmark Constitutional Court case.
Nathaniel Manheru writes that Dr Mujuru was opposed to the 2013 election, and he asserts that it is ironic that Mawarire iconises her as the only viable leader for a future Zimbabwe; the same Mawarire who fought tooth and nail to drag the whole nation to an election in the name of the respect for “his right to be governed.”
It is unlikely Mai Mujuru admires Mawarire much for his adventurous efforts.
Reports around the People First project are that the shadowy outfit has some of its aspiring members in talks with the opposition, and if these reports were true, the only glaring explanation for this strange marriage would be this fanciful idea of converging around moderate politics.
But what are moderate politics? Moderating what? For what purpose are such politics, and to achieve what? President Mugabe is currently identified by his government’s two main policies, that is land reforms and the indigenisation and economic empowerment drive.
Both policies have been labelled “unsound” and “hardline” in the West, and indeed the land reform policy has cost Zimbabwe so dearly in international relations, with the ruinous illegal sanctions wrecking havoc on the economy.
Mawarire hopes that the suffering of Zimbabweans will be healed by the contents of BUILD, (some obscure economic blueprint curiously carrying Mai Mujuru’s signature).
The blueprint will translate into impressive multitudes of supporters, and Mawarire says any analyst who fails to notice this glaring eventuality suffers from “numerical prognoses (that) are always devoid of basic logical reasoning.”
This means that the motherly and moderate politics of Mai Mujuru are a matter of elementary reasoning and logic, and no sane person should ever miss this dawning reality.
Let us borrow a bit from Jealousy Mawarire’s idea of “basic logical reasoning.” Mai Mujuru was expelled from ZANU-PF alongside a few others, and many others sidelined on account of being accomplices to the former VP’s alleged mischief.
Among these are 153 “very senior ZANU-PF party officials,” including “35 out of 40” from Masvingo’s Provincial Executive Committee (PEC), Mawarire tells us.
Also included in the list are nine out of 10 former provincial chairpersons. According to Mawarire this means Mai Mujuru commands 87,5 percent of ZANU-PF’s support in Masvingo, and enjoys more support than ZANU-PF in nine of the 10 provinces in the country. Absolutely impressive!
Delusion, just like reality also brings happiness. Mawarire reckons that the number of people purged from ZANU-PF on allegations of being part of the Mujuru conspiracy in itself means that the former VP has enough following to win the presidency of the country in 2018. Frankly this argument does not even rise to the level of nonsense.
The fact that a ruling party can afford to summarily purge 153 top officials, and the generality of its supporters just continues with their lives totally unstirred means that the purged top leadership had nothing to do with grass root support in the first place.
Is it not a fact that Mai Mujuru’s allies were more a product of leadership politicking and imposition than they were a choice of the people for whom they purported to stand?
ZANU-PF, just like any other political party in Zimbabwe can wake up and announce that it has fired another 200 people from its Central Committee tomorrow, and nothing the matter will happen to the number of people who will turn up and vote for the party should we have an election the following week.
It is the institution of the party that has the people, not the officials in leadership, most of whom have neither clout nor merit to make the grade in the country’s political market anyway. This explains why many MPs cannot explain how they won the vote in their own constituencies in 2013. Manheru once wrote about this.
Dydimus Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo, Mai Mujuru, Jabulani Sibanda, Temba Mliswa have a combined grass root support base as good as that of anyone else in Zimbabwe’s public domain, mine included.
Whatever these people ever achieved politically was 100 percent owed to the institution of ZANU-PF, not to any measure of character appeal.
Stripped of ZANU-PF there is hardly any difference between Mai Mujuru and Welshman Ncube in terms of political numerical value, and the same goes for most, if not all the leaders across the divide.
President Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai are the two centre powers of the top two parties in Zimbabwe, and as things stand they are the only two politicians that have managed to make a meaningful impact on the national vote.
Offshoots from both Zanu-PF and the Tsvangirai-led MDC have fared woefully in past elections, and many of these trialists have just vanished into oblivion thereafter. The list includes Edgar Tekere, Magaret Dongo, Simba Makoni, Welshman Ncube, Arthur Mutambara, and heading the same way are people like Elton Mangoma and Tendai Biti.
There is nothing to suggest that Mai Mujuru will be any different, even after summoning all the motherly and moderate politics in her chest, if indeed she has any.
There is no single party in Zimbabwe whose top leadership is a product of the will, vote and ratification of grass roots support. It is always a top-level game totally divorced from the involvement of the common man.
In the run up to the 2013 general election Zanu-PF carried primary elections across the country with Webster Shamu as the presiding officer. In Mudzi the Zanu-PF Commissar barred Jonathan Samkange from contesting, arguing that he was not Zanu-PF enough. He needed to prove 25 years membership, or some such crazy criterion.
In Bikita West, my very own home constituency, Munyaradzi Kereke beat Elias Musakwa in the primary elections convincingly, and the 35 out of 40 PEC members Mawarire writes about went on to unilaterally reverse the election result, telling the losing candidate to proceed and file his papers with ZEC as the ruling party’s candidate. The reason given was simply “because we have said so.” The party’s Politburo ratified the move.
Kereke defied the reversal and filed his papers as a “parallel candidate,” before the Commissar reportedly used Dr Mujuru’s influence to have Kereke “expelling himself” for “defying the party.” This was according to the then Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration, Dydimus Mutasa, now sidelined alongside Dr Mujuru.
The election came, and Munyaradzi Kereke larruped both the MDC candidate and Elias Musakwa, winning the MP ticket for our constituency as an independent candidate quite emphatically.
He probably proved the people first philosophy more than any blueprint can ever do.
Jonathan Samkange survived the Shamu restrictions by winning the Mudzi constituency as an independent as well, beating another Mujuru-backed candidate with a convincing margin, only to be readmitted into Zanu-PF with the seat in the bag.
It is hard to understand how a group of people with the audacity to ignore the result of a democratically held primary election can wake up one day to form a party bearing the name “People First” without making fools of themselves.
But more importantly, the fact that not too many people among Zanu-PF supporters seem to be angry over the misfortunes of the purged leadership is evident enough to prove that there is not that much care about the fate of the doomed leadership at the grassroots levels.
Zanu-PF spits its malcontents with no sign of regard for any public backlash, and this is because the party is certain there won’t be any.
Nathaniel Manheru wrote a lot about the puerility of Mawarire’s contrived logic that says whoever did not turn up to vote in 2013 was too angry with both President Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, and was therefore agonisingly waiting for the era of ‘motherly and moderate’ politics — potentially fulfilled by the magnified but undeclared intentions of Mai Mujuru.
I cannot write that the People First project is a dream facing futility without risking being labelled a “hallucinating analyst,” or “a propagandist at Zimpapers,” if not a “successionist;” all terms used by Jealousy Mawarire to describe anyone who may dare to see the apparent darkness surrounding the idea of the People First project — a fear controlled initiative so scared of daylight political challenges.
At the height of the media exposures of the corruption scandals of 2013 there was something disturbing that was attributed to Dr Mujuru. Various media published a recorded audio clip, and in it she was castigating the media for exposing corrupt officials in parastatals. She said the revelations were a threat to our national security, whatever she meant by that.
She also said “Zvemazimari akabiwa izvi hazvina basa,” literally meaning, “The huge sums of money that were stolen do not matter at all.”
No public officials with the faintest idea of what people first means will ever utter such words in public, and this is why it is not easy to believe Mawarire’s hypothesis that the people of Zimbabwe will flock to someone who believes stealing of public money does not matter.
There is virtually nothing motherly or moderate about condoning corruption, and it was absolutely unnecessary for Jealousy Mawarire to dramatise his affiliation to this non-existent party, much as it is his right to praise any blueprint of his choice.
It is good for the project that the “qualified journalist” has now joined the shying proponents of People First. I used to think that all journalists were qualified, like lawyers.
Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!