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Dreams of Mujuru's second death, division and invasion

14 Nov 2011 at 07:11hrs | Views
Late former Zimbabwe National Army, General Solomon Mujuru
Far more interesting than political clashes in Chitungwiza last Sunday were many other unwritten factors which really matter  to a good understanding of the state we are in.

I do not want to appear like I condone political violence. Or that I have no sympathies for those who got bashed in the process. But I don't come from that school where gore and weeping wounds, not hard, inconvenient facts guide responses, indeed trigger maudlin sentimentality.

Blood and split bones are dramatic manifestations of violence; they are not its causes or explanation. The fact that you have a weeping wound, however deep, should never be used to grant you innocence and the pity you don't deserve. Or to get us to pass over hard questions you must  answer urgently, even if that means from your hospital bed, between injections or worse, from your grave.

We have related to violence like cinema goers whose sympathies are apportioned on the basis of who the stronger side is, never on the basis of who cast the first stone, however small. Losing an encounter you provoked does not render you innocent, or pity-deserving.

That you are a junior party in Government, or a late comer to Government does not make you an unconditional candidate for sympathies. It makes you both guilty and foolhardy.

Neither of the two, or both in combination, are edifying qualities.

Forever victims, villains
More starkly, your victim status yesterday or the day before, does not immunise you for an eternal future full of transgressions, your transgressions at that.

The media must move away from this shabby habit of exculpating parties merely on the basis that they were victims of violence last Thursday, last week, last month, last year, last decade. Each situation must yield its own villains, its own victims. Similarly, the behaviour of our Police Force, however adequate or inadequate in the eyes of which ever jaundiced beholder, does not itself become the subject matter in a situation where political violence is the issue. You mean we provoke violence so as to judge police reaction?

You indulge in violence because you think the police must come to your rescue when you get thumped? And when they don't, they are to blame for the violence? When the reaction of the Police is judged not adequate, how does that make one party in the inclusive Government culpable?

Is Home Affairs not that one Ministry which stands out as unique by dint of its co-management by two political parties, and, ironically enough parties which are to blame for the Sunday violence? Or is that other Minister weeping victim-hood telling us she is effete as a co-manager, in which case the MDC-T must replace her with someone more effective?

Comically, this week saw both husband and wife crying. Zvino ainyaradza mumwe ndiani munzanga yaMakone?

Scrapping pus, reaching the wound
Then you have a whole media culture that shies away from asking these very basic questions. We must learn from doctors.

They do not cut around a suppurating wound for fear of pus, smell and all. No. They cut through the pass, scrub the dirt, clean the wound and then administer the healing concoction. You wail, you crease, you toss, you turn, you belch from all openings but the doctor's healing hand will move in determinedly, ignoring all your discomforts and protests, however fervent.

To reach the wound, you must scrap pus. This is what we fail to do in Zimbabwe, which is why we have never cured the disease that afflicts our body politic.

An election of images
Let me tell it like it is. As I write, the MDC-T has created a whole operation whose sole mission and purpose is to engineer and capture images of violence - any violence - whose mission is to capture death - any death - in order to build a case for a Libya-style intervention. Lots of sophisticated audio-visual equipment has come into the country for that purpose. Zimbabwe's politics are about to enter a heavily mediased phase, something this column hinted at more than two years ago.

I do not need to remind you that the last three wars we have witnessed since the turn of the century have been provoked by interests, sold and justified through and by the media.

It does strip that much vaunted institution of its democratic claims, does it not? How does an institution which claims to stand for civil liberties become itself a means for war?

The world in a grain of sand
Let me add to the matter. Before year end, the Prime Minister will visit Morocco, before winding up in the US. It sounds innocuous, does it not? Yet it is not. You want to read that visit together with visits made early on by him to countries like Gabon, Nigeria and Ivory Coast. Of course do not leave out his recent trip to the US, and his call on the Secretary General of the UN. Except for Ivory Coast, all these countries he visited are in the UN Security Council, with Morocco as the latest entrant.

Interestingly, Morocco is not a member of the AU, having opted out of the AU over Western Sahara. It thus is not bound by AU decisions, even though it is read internationally as representing Africa.

In any case, there is very little point in expecting Morocco to represent the AU when countries like Nigeria, South Africa and Gabon which are AU members - leading ones too - still flouted the AU position when it came to Libya. In the case of Nigeria, flouted the AU position and values over Ivory Coast too.

Jean Ping, the Gabonese man perched at the helm of the AU was there when Sarkozy and company met in Europe over prostate Libya. He did not feel restrained by the decisions of the very AU at whose helm he sits.

Why blame Morocco? Or expect it to be AU in sensibility when the AU itself cannot be that, indeed cannot abide by its own decisions?

From Rhodesia to Zimbabwe
And apart from not being a member of the AU, Morocco has more compelling reasons to act against African interests, Zimbabwean ones especially. Apart from Algeria, Zimbabwe is the only other African country which has given Polisario Front of Western Sahara solid backing, to great Moroccan chagrin. Even well before our Independence, Morocco worked with the Rhodesians against the two liberation movements.

On the eve of Independence, it went on to support Bishop Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa - now late - against the Patriotic Front. It did more. It became the conduit for American electoral support to the internal settlement group, led of course by Muzorewa. America is no stranger to meddling in Zimbabwean politics, all against majority interests. Morocco has been a willing hand in this meddlesome policy. Let that be known.

Speaking to Morocco's Amadeus
With the advent of the British and American-funded MDC, Morocco continued to play the same infamous role, only this time by adopting MDC-T where it used to have UANC which is now as defunct as its owner is dead.

In Morocco, there is some phony organisation called Amadeus Institute. It masquerades as a think tank on social and economic matters. In reality, it is a front for western-backed intrusive politics on the continent, politics which use Rabat as both a launch pad and a cat's paw. Founded in 2008 and associated with the Government of Morocco, specifically its foreign ministry and minister, it introduces itself as seized with the purpose of "external co-operation management".

You have to be the see-no-evil type to think this is about making love and friendships abroad! This is the vehicle through which Morocco interacts with Morgan Tsvangirai and his party, indeed the vehicle for meddling in Zimbabwe's electoral politics.

Morocco has funded the MDC-T both as a country and as a protégé state of Europe and America doing the bidding of both. Today there is an extra string on Morocco's bow.

She will be in the UN Security Council when Zimbabwe goes to the polls, something that gives a clue to our Prime Minister's itinerary. Think of Libya, think of UN in the 21st century. Like the much vaunted media, the UN goes to war as in Ivory Coast, or subcontracts wars to imperial states as in Libya. Zimbabwe beware!

On the global road again
The MDC-T has restored its machinery for global campaigning. The likes of Dhewa Mavhinga and Grace Kwinjeh are about to be redeployed to do exactly what they were doing before 2007/8. Kwinjeh will leave Rwanda for the new posting, if she has not done so already.

As we move towards elections, this dimension of the MDC-T will become more crucial, more visible. I should not waste time. Or equivocate because of sensitivities. The MDC-T, as inspired by its backers, has three main scenarios through which it hopes to turn the tables against Zanu-PF in the next poll. The sad thing is that none of the three scenarios relates to or relies on the party's internal effort, resources or support. In all the three, the exogenous is crucial, itself a clear indication that on the ground, MDC-T can no longer rely on numbers, on the ballot.

Wishing Mugabe dead
Foremost in its three scenarios is the President's long-wished incapacitation related to both "illness" and old age. Incapacitation is in fact a euphemism. The party prays and hopes for President Mugabe's demise, by whatever cause. In reality, this is the hope of the British and the Americans, and because of that, it has become the hope of the MDC-T. Mugabe must not be well enough to run in the next poll. Better still, he must not be around. Such is the sinister wish of MDC-T, as told by its handlers. Today when the MDC-T is looking at grabbing power, it trains its eyes not on the ballot box, but on the President's breath and pulse.

That is what democratic change has come to mean for them. Far more critical to it than holding rallies and doing mobilisation work is deploying newsmen and newswomen to watch how the President has woken up, how he breathes, how he walks, how he talks, how he thinks and how he presides over state functions.

It is also to keep a meticulous tab on when and how often he goes to Singapore, or to the Medical Chambers. Singapore, that financial centre of the world, to them trims down to one city-state hospital for an ailing Zimbabwean President. And in all these activities and travels, the belief is the President is going, inexorably.

The first ones to let you down . . .
I do not need to tell you that every American ambassador who deploys to Zimbabwe obsesses about the health of the President, as indeed does all European envoys.

The latest act in that endeavour was when the British establishment dispatched the Anglican Archbishop, hoping with God's grace, his view on how much longer the President has to live, would be infallible, and thus more dependable that dispatches from envoys.

Needless to say the assessment from the holy man was not so musical to this whole macabre industry which thinks the President is lingering far too long.

You would think these embassies and the MDC-T are in the business of making coffins, of burying the dead. You recall an undertaker who used to ply his death business from the kopje area in the late eighties and nineties? His punch-line was: "We are the last ones to let you down!" Except with these would-be undertakers of Robert Mugabe, their punchline would rather be: "We are the first ones to let you down!"

When democrats count on God's hand
I want to take this matter a little further. The scenario is that the President is either incapacitated or dies one day soon, in office. The constitutional process kicks in.

Zanu-PF which has to quickly find a successor either breaks into warring shards, or produces a candidate who is either too unknown or too unprepared to rival Tsvangirai who then romps to victory. Such is the thinking in the MDC-T, clearly bizarre, clearly so full of many imponderables which these guys have no time for. In the first place it is predicated on the eternal wellness or immortality of Tsvangirai.

I hope this is well founded. Secondly, it rests on the willingness of God and his hand. Again, I hope those in the MDC-T have met with a flash, thunder and revelation of divinity!

Papering over the cracks
Thirdly, it is a scenario which rests on the feigned cohesion within MDC-T. If you know a little about the goings-on in that organisation, you find such hopes quite astounding.

How many of us know that Tsvangirai himself got to know about violence in Chitungwiza when he was somewhere between Marondera and Harare, on his way from a golf match in Leopard Rock? Why was Chitungwiza not a priority for him? Why was Biti in the forefront of defending those who had been clobbered for provoking clashes?

Was Biti representing his party or his faction which had planned to use the Chitungwiza rally as a show of force for a rival side within the MDC-T, led of course by the Prime Minister himself? Who does not know that the battles of the Bulawayo Congress continue to blaze, undiminished? Who does not know that as matters stand, Biti has the provinces? Who does not know that relationships are being built by all factions, across parties? Above all, who does not know that the Tsvangirai side shed crocodile tears over the collapsed Chitungwiza rally; that unlike in Matabeleland North, Tsvangirai did not attempt to be in the situation, in the thick of things? Anyway, why was the media mum about more deadly clashes which pitted MDC-T youths groups against each other, which clashes Zanu-PF youths took full advantage of?

When nature abhors a vacuum
Fourthly and lastly, the scenario also suffers from the fallacy of thinking MDC-T is the only player in the politics of a Zimbabwe a day after Robert Mugabe. The fallacy that a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe is all for MDC taking! About this, let very little be said without taking away from its fraught-ness. My nature study teacher always emphasised that nature abhors a vacuum!

Praying for the Bulawayo scenario
The second scenario which the MDC-T dreams about is one in which God fails them, as he is sure to, and Robert Mugabe proceeds to elections, fit, sound and vigorously stabbing.

One senior MDC-T official, in a supposedly secretive brief with foreigners in South Africa, confessed this was one scenario he feared most. "We pray daily for the President's demise so that this scenario does not come to pass," he said, eyes supplicating the heavens. If you are a good watcher of Zimbabwe politics, you will notice that the MDC-T's news agents - all of them funded by the Americans - have been frantically trying to deal with this eventuality which seems more and more likely. The second scenario focuses on destabilising Zanu-PF ahead of, during and after, its Annual Conference in Bulawayo which has now been upgraded to a Congress in all but name. Bulawayo will see the Party deciding on its candidate for Presidency. Those behind the MDC-T are hoping that this decision becomes an entangled skein, so entangled and so bitter that the Party emerges mortally split, ahead of the 2012 polls. The hope is that such a split would reproduce 2007/8 scenario where a Mavambo emerges, kicking the ball into the wild, as the parlance goes.

Fomenting a second death
Two issues have been identified as triggers, with the third one just beginning to emerge. The sad demise of the war hero and first commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, General Solomon Mujuru, is supposed to be the key factor in entangling Bulawayo.

To this day the riddle of the late General's death has not been resolved, ironically with those who accused the late General of all sorts of misdeeds, today crusading for truth on this one matter. Of course it is not about the dead General; it is about opportunities which this tragedy provides for destabilising Zanu-PF.

When age ain't a number
The second factor is to focus on the President's age in the hope that ambitious elements will emerge from within Zanu-PF, to challenge the candidature of the President on that basis.

You do not have to be a rocket scientist to extract evidence of this in the current reportage. All sorts of conspiracies are being kneaded to suggest disaffection with the President's candidature, to suggest there is deep belief in his party he is past sale date and must be replaced by a more youthful alternative. Even little squabbles of party officials are given this wide-ranging resonance which finally connects to the President's candidature.

Spoiling the empowerment programme
The third factor of this scenario was meant to emerge from the traditional view of Matabeleland as a sidelined region. The hope was to use the Zimplats community empowerment breakthrough to suggest that only good things happen in Mashonaland, to be specific in the President's home province.

It is a pretext for a divisive lobby struggling for credence. But it is sure to be killed by the next such empowerment event which will be away from the President's home province, if that was ever a factor in the first empowerment instance. By starting with Zimplats, Zanu-PF did the right thing.

It targeted the biggest boy in the industry. The little ones can only fall in line, a factor not lost to the MDC-T. Tsvangirai's attempts at associating Kasukuwere with the mayhem in Chitungwiza is his own way of extending a favour to those who stand to be affected by the empowerment programme which the Minister is championing. He is hoping Kasukuwere can be indicted finally, or that he will begin to too busily fight such allegations to focus on his empowerment programme.

The wonders of chegumi
The MDC-T knows that the community empowerment scheme is an electoral killer punch, which is why it has turned its focus away from the ballot. The 10 percent community share ownership scheme, what I term "chegumi", is sure to galvanise community support for Zanu-PF, while showing the poor are Zanu-PF's targets. It does not take much imagination to see how this puts paid to MDC-T excuses for opposing the empowerment programme through false charges of corruption or sidelining the poor.

And if you consider that mining, specifically diamonds, and agriculture, specifically tobacco, have been the sole carriers of this economy, it becomes clear that both by actual performance in Government, and by way of policies, Zanu-PF has been the carrier of the State, even under conditions of inclusivity. MDC-T was not part of the campaign for the sale of Zimbabwe diamonds. It opposed Zimbabwe's certification, in the process siding with the country's enemies.

To this day, it still regrets the KPCS decision, with Eddie Cross verbalizing that regret. Much worse, diamond revenues have more than tripled what white miners acting on behalf of multinationals, have been able to remit to the Fiscus. Biti has refused to support farmers, with Zanu-PF moving in to fill the void created by a reluctant government.

It is hard to fathom how a man who kills the golden goose still hopes for the golden egg. MDC-T is not part of the agricultural miracle. And in both crucial sectors, it has been on the wrong side of history. That is most worrisome to the MDC-T, which is why its power-grabbing scenarios all revolve on its installation by external contingencies.

Responsibility to betray
The third scenario incorporates elements broached in the opening paragraphs, and much of what takes place between now and election day. Simply put, the MDC-T is hoping for a second Ivory Coast, or a second Libya. Both scenarios require proof of violence and undemocratic conduct so the UN notion of "responsibility to protect" kicks in.

Both require mobilisation of western opinions and willingness to intervene militarily. Both require the UN Security Council which must both legitimise and trigger intrusion.

With this scenario in mind, it is not difficult to read why MDC-T in fact needs the violence it provokes, indeed badly needs the victim status it craves for. Much worse, that violence, no matter how inter-party it may be, must indict the State, never mind that the State in question partly belongs to the complaining MDC-T. For purposes of legitimising intervention, Zimbabwe should become a one-party state! I hope the media unit created by the MDC-T ahead of the polls, and the global campaign I have alluded to, are beginning to fall into place, as indeed should Tsvangirai's seemingly chaotic itinerary.

This scenario needs a UN Secretary General, needs some show of supportive African vote in the Security Council, needs a former colonial power ready to intervene, alongside the imperial US. To say so is not to try and cause panic and despondency in the country. It is to equip everyone ahead of the danger that lies ahead.

A few sobering facts
But there are sobering facts stubbornly thrusting themselves from the ground. Russia and China have to be willing to play ball on this one. Or at the very least to be indifferent. The two are highly unlikely to be, both for bilateral reasons and on account of the lessons of Libya, fears over Iran and Syria.

Little is known about how China was such a crucial player over KPCS, in the process getting the US to back off. Its interests will not vanish because UK and US want war against the people of Zimbabwe, a war legitimised by Tsvangirai's MDC-T.  The Russians are developing their interests, and will soon be a factor in the national market. Demographically, Zimbabwe has a sizeable white population for whom the prospects of a racialised war, which is what such a conflict will be, will be an engulfing disaster. About this, let me not say more.

Zvinozibga neZanu
The MDC-T leadership will be inside Zimbabwe, indeed may not find it easy to escape or find a second Benghazi here. The war will visit us all, with its ugly consequences.

Maybe that is one time when we will all realize we are Zimbabweans, and that outsiders cannot be friends, cannot save us. Zimbabwe remains as heavily wooded as in the years of liberation struggle. It has not become a desert like Libya, with small settlements dotted along the coastline.

In war terms, we are a different kettle of fish. Similarly, those who fought in that war of liberation, while numerically diminished and old, remain in place to be a formidable resource in circumstances of national resistance. They also have a political framework by way of the Party. Lastly, this is Southern Africa, a region of acute colonial pains, fresh revolutions and embittered dreams awaiting fulfillment.

A throwback to colonial rule invites spontaneous reaction. Besides, the spirit of internationalism is real, a living tissue. Zimbabwe and her struggles has been important, too important for Africa to be left to perish. I thought I could help the Prime Minister and his party take these hard facts to heart, lest they dream bald, lest they build suicidal scenarios without realising it.

The scenario of war is one which will likely eat up all current contenders, leaving and passing on power to a brave new generation. The old war ditty plays in my mind, its words stark and foreboding: "Hona zvombo, tinazvo/Nemabara, tinawo/Ko rubatsiro ticharuwanepiko/ Zvinozibga neZanu!"


Nathaniel Manheru contributes for Zimpapers and can be contacted at

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