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Sexed Tsvangirai: The day WOZA could not arise!

10 Dec 2011 at 15:38hrs | Views
What has the American ambassador to do with a Zimbabwean Prime Minister who gets deserved societal flak for promiscuous misbehavior? Which part of the Geneva Convention, or of our bilateral  agreement with the US government, empowers this messenger of white America to intervene in what in effect is a parochial, internal or in-house debate by a people weighing the social misconduct of one of their own, misconduct of a man who would be a king?

What impact is this intrusion supposed to have on us, on our society as it measures its own moral standards against ever-changing mores? Is the envoy hoping to bully and browbeat us all out of that that debate? Is he out to remind and even warn us that the man we mistook for a Zimbabwean, for one of our own and with an ambitious drive for national leadership, is in fact America's ward, indeed immunised against scrutiny by the American Embassy and the American Ambassador?

That Ray's interpretation of his own diplomatic assignment here covers and protects one Morgan Tsvangirai? Or is Ray's point greater, heavier, namely that our moral values are out of place in the scheme of national governance and leadership selection?

That we are moral prigs who can't even assess leadership on our own, by our own yardstick, that our moral sensibilities are a drawback on development, which is why America has to intervene? Or much worse, is that the depth of US intrusion in our affairs? That it has deepened beyond sanctions right through to our bedrooms? Ray's entry is very fraught.

When a bedding matter goes so bad
The other day I had a heart-to-heart conversation with one MDC-T official on this whole matter. While he agreed with me that the Prime Minister and his Office had indeed mishandled this whole matter which should have been left to the Prime Minister's family, he was adamant that the Prime Minister's sexual misadventures would not cost the Prime Minister a dime politically.

Zimbabweans knew what issues mattered when it came to choosing a leader, added this minister-official, swearing by his dear mother that both the Prime Minister and his party would ride the storm, all to emerge unscathed, brand and all. I hope the said official has been following this one matter which has grabbed national and, if Charles Ray is anything to go by, international attention.

I hope he today recognises especially, that it is the Prime Minister and his officials - both in Government and in his Party - who have turned what otherwise would have been a bedding matter into a shrilling political bad. They read security and bureaucratic intrusion in the whole affair, in the process lifting a matter of mere broken undergarments, of madarikanhumbi, into a matter politically important enough to break the ballot.

The bad, the bawdy
Next, the Prime Minister and his staff charged Zanu-PF of conspiracy, something Zanu-PF relished and seized upon to take and transport the whole matter into Parliament, thereby giving us excellent political laughter, all at the expense of the bashful Prime Minister of course. I am told it extended to Cabinet even.

And we all know the role of corrosive humour in Zimbabwean politics. Today MDC-T is known as the party of knickers, with its punchline, "chinja maitiro, maitiro chinja" being vulgarised through a fatal insertion of an "s" on the "t" on "maitiro". The result is bawdy, and bawdiness is what drives political humour.

With astute packaging, Zanu-PF could go far, very far making that slogan vulgar and unserviceable.

Caesar's fawning holiness
To all that add the backdrop of the church, itself an important plank to MDC-T's overall branding strategy. Here is one party which does not hesitate to wrap itself up in thick layers of the Holy Bible, tucking itself somewhere in the holiest middle, well ensconced between the book of Genesis in the beginning, and the book of Zvakazarurwa (Revelations) in the end. It is a party so keen to drape itself in holiness, a found gushing holiness at every pore, even founding an ecclesiastical wing called Christian Alliance, all to complement its main, youth and women wings. Yes, prayer peppers all its proceedings, all to studiously cultivate an image of an impeccable political foil to the "ungodly" Zanu-PF.

That way the pulpit has been turned into a pulling pit of unrighteous politics, so powerfully beguiling by its pretensions to, and superabundant symbols and rituals of holiness. Now by his conduct, the Prime Minister has invited an acid test to that claim and pretension and, regrettably the MDC-T's religious credentials have been exposed to be merely political: a bald way of reaching and mobilising the church in its mad pursuit for secular power.

It has been exposed as a Caesar fawning holiness, indeed a Caesar rendering unto God what are Caesar's. And since the MDC-T placed righteousness onto the plank of electability to political office, it surely cannot be a CIO plot to invoke the same criterion to measure an ambitious politician's daily conduct. How fare thee Mister Prime Minister? How fare thee the MDC-T brand? The measure is yours, Sir!

The day WOZA could not arise!
Then there is the whole vocal lobby for Women and Aids. It preaches against sexual abuse, exploitation and victimisation. It preaches abstinence as the first line, condomising as the second line for men and women of frailties, of fallen heritage.

Against the Prime Minister's conduct, both crimes appear to have been infringed, and as one hoped, to spurts of sharp anger from both lobbies.

Highly politicised, very well funded and always sharp tongued, the whole industry born out of gender violence movement and the aids scourge, today cannot utter a single word, however short or inadequate.

Its tongue is firmly tied, docking and mooring its usually restless mind/mouth into quiescent silence.

The indefatigable WOZA's feet are sore, numb and heavy. WOZA cannot demonstrate; its women will not arise! Musasa is quiet, like the eerie night of the graveyard. WAG, so wont to wagging its tail and tongue, today stirs no more, decidedly lifeless.

The whole discourse on sexuality as a domain for gender dominance, gender exploitation and gender violence today goes to the deep sleep and snore of the drunken.

Not because its agitating proponents have slid into some coma, but simply because a right sin attaches to a wrong sinner, attaches to the preacher-man responsible for redeeming souls!

Mubvuwi akazara, akasimira bhande! Njuga yabata mugwandi, as Amai Mujuru fondly says. Translated loosely, the lots have convicted the caster! How now to push the women and aids agenda to benefit the causeless MDC-T, how now to push against a sin which must damn Zanu-PF, but which is now owned by the MDC-T leader, a sin for which the Prime Minister's conduct is the prime symbol, that is the tongue-tying question.

How about an HIV test, Mister?
And the good professor, Jonathan Moyo, has rubbed it in: why not get the PM to publicly undergo an HIV test, both as a show of leadership in the national fight against Aids, and as an assurance to the Nation that the blood that courses through the veins of the man who would be king is not overloaded virally. This opens up a whole new front against Aids, and against a man who would be king.

After all, if health status is itself a basis for impeaching and dropping a sitting President, then surely that implies a health criterion to Presidency itself, does it not? A disqualifier is surely an implied qualifier! And hey, let us not forget the MDC-T has been pushing hard on this matter, hoping the issue of health can be pushed into a disabling eligibility criterion for a specific President.

They have visualised it as a disabling eligibility criterion for Presidency. We should help them broaden it to mean that, for better, for worse, for all situations.

That puts a new layer to the already existing straitjacket of liberation, does it not! Like Macbeth, the man now says, "Thane of Health (Cawdor)? This is a hurdle I must overleap, or else stumble!" Let us wait and see. But before then, Mister Prime Minister, we are going into the festive season, itself the season of bloody, road-related injuries requiring transfusions.

We need blood of all classes, including your own. How about an afternoon at the Blood Transfusion Service, all for a small donation of clean blood? Or have you done so already?

In court with Chief Negomo
Then in comes Chief Negomo, zvikonzi and his summons enacting a sub-plot steeped in politically fraught legal parody. The good chief wants the Prime Minister to appear before his court to answer charges of infringing a sensitive traditional custom, to answer charges of defiling the land. To a modern man, all this sounds frivolous and even comical, as do all sub-plots. Yet woe betide all those who miss the mordant relationship between a sub-plot and its main plot.

Skilful playwrights always invest deeper meaning in sub-plots, all of it skillfully disguised as seemingly playful ribaldry.

The Prime Minister has been toppled from the lofty national pedestal down to humble structures and processes of rustic or village governance, presided over by a youthful chief. I will deal with the full implication of that both to the sub-plot and to the main plot of national politics. But first, the village.

The silent power of the village
The world of the village presents a peculiar milieu, all with its full rules and conventions, sensitivities and abominations, fears and hopes. Unscientific, customary but powerful and obediently fulfilled, these unwritten rules and sensibilities, do govern, silently when all is well, vicious and by way of public spectacle once traduced and infringed upon.

Trembling upon them is analogous to flinging a chunk of stout beacon in a mosque, on a Friday. This appears to be the Prime Minister's crime, which is why all the elders of the village, not the CIO Mister Prime Minister, are up in arms.

The start of a bad omen
Let's recreate the ecology of this unexpected intervention seemingly from below in the whole saga. We are in December, the months of flashes of blinding lightning, roaring and clapping thunder and pouring rains. It is the month of blossoming tender shoots whence emerges food that feeds the land.

December, the month of pouring, green and verdurous hope. But more than a week into December, the rains remain trapped in the celestial dome, home to gods and guardians of this land.

They have failed, or appear to be failing. Every morning, one looks for signs of a sky anguishing for beginnings of a downpour, one finds none. Both heavens and earth seem dry, drier than the bone of the vlei.

So many communal questions
And Chief Negomo's land, traditionally well-watered, by December usually priding itself for fat, round pumpkins, dark green, lusty stalks promising stout cobs, big and erectile, Negomo's land famed for groundnuts bigger than eyes of a mangoose in full dilation, groundnuts whose plants by now should have been in full yellow by way of blooming magungwe, that land is still dry, bare and arid.

The chorus, communal question is why this blistering sun? Is the Earth offended? Are its Guardians angry? Is the Land defiled? Have thegods turned their backs on Negomo's children? After all offerings were made, in time too. On that starry night of mid-October, the night of offerings to the rain gods, the drums pounded and throbbed the night; happy, cracked feet of all sizes and ages, stomped the ground sore. Voices unleashed hoarse melodies of drunken pleas to gods of mercy and rain. The whole village performed until hweva, the star heralding dawn, was up. Before dawn, when the whole ceremony hit its crescendo, the spirits came from on high. They joined the mukwerera dance ceremony. And through their homwe or pockets - mouthpieces in modern parlance - they spoke loud, very clearly, promising Negomo's children yet another fat season.

And the gods took beery sips
And at dawn, the whole village gave its back on the shady cluster of giant michakata trees, itself the setting for the ceremony. Beneath this holy cluster, frothing pots of the traditional rukweza brew, were left, bubbles forming around dirty necks of these pots, in due course bursting to gentle, intoxicating whispers. The whole place carried the scent of the beery offerings. Through these beery whispers, the chain of gods, presumably arranged by totem and age, are said to petition one another hierarchically, all the time committing to higher tiers the rich offerings from the children wanting and wishing for good rains. Since that ceremony, elder confirmed the elderly women of the village, all of them no longer able to "meet" men because of age, went back to collect the pots, finding all of them empty-dry.

The gods had accepted the offerings, had stealthily descended from the lofty skies for confirmatory sips, in the process complimenting the village's harridans, mbonga in Shona, for a good brew, sumptuous enough to soften and open the hearts of even the most hard-hearted, the most offended from their league. Had the gods been unhappy, the old women of the village would have brought back pots still full of their beer. Happily the gods had partaken of the beer, in large, long draughts too!

And down came the small rains...
Before long, in the same month of October, nyenze, the cicadas, sang glorious, sang in full throttle, against a fierce, crackling sun. Winding wisps of blue smoke soon showed up against the azure horizon. Mavivi. Negomo's villages were preparing for a good season, all hopeful. Indeed, before the close of October, followed by the entry of the forbidding months of the goats, the month of November, small rains fell, telling the village to step up preparations, indeed to seed the expectant, fecund earth, emitting the peculiar smell of a Land in full heat, ready to mate. All promised and looked well.

The great abomination
Today Negomo's land has been shunned by the rains, stunted by inexplicable drought. It is dry and bare, with tender shoots threatened by the searing heat. Unusually, November has been dry, very dry. So, too, has December, now entering its second week without the gods dropping their usual tears. The bottoms of granaries are beginning to show, only holding barely enough up to the next harvest. The community is anxious. The community is whispering, asking many questions for which answers are hardly forthcoming. And some of its whispers are gossipy, incriminating? Has the chief not heard?

His zvikonzi must clean his eardrums. He shall land us in hunger, this young Chief. Since when has Negomo chieftaincy fallen on such a little boy, a boy whose nose bridge exudes the milk of youthfulness? And where are elders of his clan? It's the Karimatsenga Tembo family, did you not hear what they did? They accepted roora in the month of goats. Such a month? Ahh, that is an abomination! Don't they know the ways of the land. This earth speaks. It refuses. See now how the skies look! Not a single cloud! Now, how will we feed the children? Did you hear? The husband is that---. Ah, ah, ah, mother of children, that's not spoken. Don't court trouble. A-ah what trouble when we are faced with a curse, when we face hunger created by people who know the ways of the land? NdiTsvangirai! Kwake hazviko? KuBohera kwaanobva handiti ndiko kwakaroorwa Meredina, daughter of my other brother from my father's second wife. I took her to Buhera, to offer her to her new family. I know Buhera. Besides, this Tsvangirai comes from the line of the Nerutanga chieftaincy, hushe hwevaDanga. Is not his totem Fish? Manje?

"Legally foolish"
This is the thorny cosmos into which the Prime Minister has wedded, barefoot and seemingly armed with the recklessness of a bull in a china shop. He has been summoned by a chief to account his abominable actions. His response has been to dismiss the summoning as "awkward" and "legally foolish". Yarns of conspiracies have again been knitted by his officials. "The incompetent handlers have failed to advise the chiefs as to the extent of his jurisdiction. They failed to advise him who his subjects are and who his superiors are in this country." They go further: "Through his wanton and ill-advised behavior, Chief Negomo has fallen foul of the clear provisions of the Global Political Agreement which provides that that the traditional leaders must be apolitical...."

Chiefs versus the GPA
Who drafts such responses for the Prime Minister? How does a sane person read the chief's actions, actions from an institution generations old, against some three-year political agreement whose present status in the country is clearly contemptible and execrated? An agreement that dangles loose, tattered and torn, in the process exposing Zimbabwe's warty hinds? You want to use that to challenge actions from an age-old institution of chiefs? Secondly, you cannot miss the contempt which the Prime Minister is made to show against the institution of chiefs. It is an institution which he has provoked through his sexual misbehavior, aggravated by a culturally insensitive conduct against which we still cannot paste a name, a description.

The issue of jurisdiction
Much worse, in the eyes of the Prime Minister, the chief has overreached. He cannot summon his superiors to his village court! That gives new meaning to jurisdiction, does it not? That jurisdiction is a matter of a respondent's status, not of the nature of the offence committed and place of its commission? Is the Prime Minister making a narrow point against a specific chief, or is he evolving a philosophy that guides his exercise of power always and at any level? Just now, the Prime Minister merely wields fumes of power, never real power itself. Yet that is enough to intoxicate him. He has repudiated customary law and all its institutions of justice as laid out in our laws. But it's a repudiation which is calculated to chill the whole legal framework, is it not? Which judicial office or rung would not see the Office of the Prime Minister or of the President as its superiors? Is this a repudiation of the philosophy of separation of powers? I hope we all begin to see how the sub-plot by way of this legal parody feeds into the main act. Clearly the Prime Minister has been provoked into revealing his sub-conscious. And it's frightful.

When belief is a material force
Culturally, the man has renounced the institution of chieftaincy and all it stands for. He has delinked himself from the guardians of the land, something which builds on his party's anti-land reform stance and agenda. Much worse, it bolsters his party's hostility to agriculture in general, which is why up to the time of writing this piece, no produce has been paid for to capacitate farmers, indeed no wheat price has been announced.

The drought might be looming. Whether true or false, the rural people now have something with which to explain any likely disaster to befall them this season. The land is defiled and its guardians have slapped it with a crippling curse. Tsvangirai is that curse. Implausible, is it not? Yet real to rural minds. Come to think of it, in 1896 it was the drought and rinder-pest. These mishaps, however you interpret them, were potent enough to cause and sustain a whole war of resistance. And the Negomos were not by-standers in that war. Add to what Tsvangirai has done the whole issue to gays and their so-called rights. And now the fact of pulling down the holy tree of which Ambuya Chagwe was hanged. It is Tsvangirai's Council, is it not? Soon he shall realize that belief is a material force. Let someone whisper that to the Prime Minister. Let him also know that Chief Negomo's actions are not about the law, the courts and culture only. They are about Tsvangirai and his humility and lack of it, once he wields power.

With the little power he wields presently, he has shown he is only too conscious of it, and will not hesitate to wield it to deal with a gnat. He stands for the proverbial king who governs with his right hand romancing the hilt and scabbard.

Ray, Tom's Uncle!
Back to Charles Ray, that blunderous black envoy of mighty, white America. He tells us how to judge Tsvangairai. He says we must judge Tsvangirai not by his sex-scapades, but his performance in public office. His public power has nothing to do with his sex life, he seems to intimate. Who is he to tell us how to judge, what to do? What gives him the standing? He must go and hang on a banana tree, if that symbolizes and resembles anything in the whole saga he has plunged himself into, uninvited. He has not told White America - his employer race - that same message, which is why his fellow black, a Presidential aspirant called Cain, has had to drop out of the race, all on account of his sex errands. Only in advanced, Calvinistic America, is reckless sex politically indictable? Surely his advice to us must go to guide the society which accords him voting rights, indeed must go towards helping an embattled fellow black politician? Or is he an Uncle Tom, helplessly wedded to white interests at home, white hegemony abroad? We reject him.

Power's aphrodisiac
His intervention confirms the relationship of puppetry between Tsvangirai, his MDC-T and white America. And that relationship infantilizes Tsvangirai who must be rescued all the time by Uncle Sam through its deployed Uncle Tom. Only a few months back, Ray attacked our history, urging us to turn our backs on it. Today, he tells us the private life of leaders does not matter. Why is it that all Wikileaks leaks reports on President Mugabe related to his private life? If private life has no bearing on the exercise of power, why does America invest so much in gathering facts around it? I hope the silly, intrusive ambassador has read the torrent of reaction from angry Zimbabweans, responding to his unsolicited advice after a wonderful afternoon of a golf match with the embattled Prime Minister. I hope, too, that teaches him that affinities developed on the golf course often translate to coarse politics for an intrusive ambassador. Whichever way, Manheru is happy that the American ambassador has made what MDC-T officials simplistically viewed as an a-political matter turn into full-blown politics. Sex and sexuality, power's best aphrodisiac.


Source - zimpapers
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