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Zimbabwe opposition and lost opportunities

29 Apr 2019 at 06:48hrs | Views
Election 2018 was largely considered a landmark event for the different meanings and opportunities that were attached to it, particularly for the new faces in the presidential race, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa.

For Nelson Chamisa, this was an opportunity to attain the long failed goal of regime change in Zimbabwe. It was an opportunity similar to what Election 2008 was for Morgan Tsvangirai.  

While Tsvangirai was hoping to capitalise on "Mission Vindictiveness" against "lawless land grabbers," who had just "mushroomed" on the "productive farms," with no plan or skill to run the farms, his successor saw 2018 as an opportunity to promise a miraculous donor- funded economic turnaround programme for the country.

Tsvangirai was promising a "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" that would bring "justice" to the land reform programme, and he was at the time inspired by Western-imposed tribunals like the one that sentenced Gaddafi to death.  

He said those who violated the right of the former farmers would equally be tried and brought to justice under his government.  

Chamisa was more careful with antagonising the land reform programme, and he focused more on promising to fixing the cash crisis in the country "within 14 days," when he was not promising bullet trains, village airports, spaghetti roads and first world lifestyle for Zimbabweans. For the Zimbabwean opposition, elections are no more about securing a governing term so as to offer alternative governing policies than they are about annihilating and vindictively getting rid of Zanu-PF from the political face of the country.

There is this inexplicable resolve that says if Zanu-PF were ever to lose an election, the party must demise once and for all in the aftermath of the loss. This is how an average opposition supporter sees the role of elections in our country.  

The only explanation to this is the polarity in our politics. Many in Zanu-PF also want to see the total demise of the MDC in all its forms.  We hear of money that has been set aside to start the compensation of ousted white commercial famers, and we are aware that the commitment to compensate these famers for developments made on the farms over the years is a constitutional provided matter.  We hear we have a clause obliging us to compensate the ousted farmers.  

From a social justice point of view, developments on stolen property is as illegal as the act of stealing the property itself, and it will be very hard for Zimbabweans to place the compensation of ousted white commercial farmers on the country's priority list, especially when our hospitals have been reduced to palliative waiting rooms where our patients are admitted to join the death queue.  

We have no medicines to cure some of the most basic ailments that under normal circumstances should be easily curable, and we simply cannot afford to spare a penny to compensate someone who some time ago developed a farm he had inherited from the colonial legacy of dispossession.

What we propose is such farmers should be compensated by the colonial legacy itself, and we know that the country that colonised us can easily mobilise financial resources to compensate those white farmers that fell victims to the social justice that brought our land back in the hands of the rightful owners.  

Opportunism is always a thorn-bush in every revolution and in 2008, we had Simba Makoni capitalising on the challenges the revolution was facing to spring up a renegade surprise on Zanu-PF. He totally believed the opinions of half drunk cheerleaders who told him that he had the charismatic face of a president, the super intelligence of a political messiah, and the charm of a political genius.  

Makoni fell for it, and whatever myth of brilliance was once upon him was totally squandered by this tomfoolery.  Makoni quickly forgot about fallen stalwarts like Edgar Tekere and Enoch Dumbutshena, and he blindly believed what Solomon Mujuru and Ibbo Mandaza were telling him.

Makoni had been part of the revolution and he had seen first experience the effects of the economic strangulation as executed by the strategic isolation of Zimbabwe through the sanctions regime mobilised by Britain on behalf of a few whites dispossessed of the stolen farms they had occupied for about 100 years.

For expediency, Makoni somersaulted dramatically and joined the West in saying the economic sanctions imposed on our country had no part at all in the economic decline we were facing.  Makoni said the sanctions were only travel bans on a few politicians, and nothing else.

This was despite the fact that as Finance Minister he had publicly admitted that the sanctions were the reasons Zimbabwe could not access credit lines to global lending institutions.

So, Makoni tried to play Mr Fix It, promising Zimbabweans that he was the only one who could turn around the country's economy, and saying Morgan Tsvangirai was far too tainted to fix the situation, let alone to be voted for by rural voters.  

Nelson Chamisa is yet another Mr Fix It politician who claims to be the only one with the keys to our economic recovery.  

The simplistic thinking in Makoni's head was that he could easily steal urban voters from the MDC by his mere looks, and from Zanu-PF rural support by his mere association with the liberation struggle and the revolution.  

Just like Nelson Chamisa seems to be doing today, Makoni became a victim of delusions of grandeur. He believed the mirror far too much, and he was also easily flattered by all manner of voices, including intoxicated ones.  

Ibbo Mandaza would pass on his thoughts as public opinion to Makoni, as he also did last year when he maintained the electoral invincibility of Nelson Chamisa.  Of course, Ibbo Mandaza packages his political preferences and opinions in this velvety pack of objective intellectualism, so he hosts talk shows to make everything look like intellectual complexities.

It works well with simpletons.  He said at the time "everyone" knew Simba Makoni was the "only one" who could lead our country.  He hyped to high heavens about Makoni's looks, eloquence and charisma, something he also repeated about Nelson Chamisa when the latter was running for presidency last year.  

While Makoni was humbled to an 8% vote, Nelson Chamisa put up a commendable run, amassing over 2 million votes where almost 5 million voters had participated in the election.

The 41-year old politician goes around telling people he is the country's president, and that his party is the governing party.  He has serious issues related to mental coping mechanisms, and it does not look like he will come out of the denial that he plunged into in August last year any time soon.

We saw Makoni rehearsing to put up the face of an eloquent and heroic president in 2008, and last year Chamisa publicly told us he was rehearsing on how to live at the State House, even practising inspecting the Guard of Honour each morning.

Some people around Nelson Chamisa told him to keep talking to the crowds like that, and they told him he was as brilliant as Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr all put together.  

This is to a man who does not even understanding the meaning of national symbol on a flag — something primary school kids treat as common sense.  For others, elections are about self-interests.

These are the politicians who see in elections an opportunity to amass wealth by way of abuse of political office.  It would appear like Zimbabwe has an abundance of these criminals and fraudsters if the level of corruption in the public and private sectors is to be used as an arbiter.  

We are plagued with career politicians who are unemployable in any other profession. This is often a result of a lack of any professional qualification or business acumen, and also a result of a lack of professional character and conduct.  

Essentially our political field has become a huge refugee camp for people escaping the challenges of intellectualism and professionalism — lazy people who are completely useless in the market of ideas.  We also have those who are purely driven by the ambition to make a name for themselves; and these will do nothing once they believe they have had enough publicity.  For the masses of Zimbabwe, elections are about defending the revolution and the country's sovereignty.  

They are about safeguarding the gains and progress achieved after independence. Elections are about finding a way forward with the revolution. They are about choosing honest leadership to steer Zimbabwe to ultimate prosperity, happiness and to a just society. Elections are about fighting corruption, about fighting treachery, about making the agrarian reform a success — they are about reviving the production sector, and they are all about creating jobs for our people.  

Yet for some of our voters elections have been about anything that can take away sanctions. They have been about anything that can bring back the favour of Westerners. With an angry West we cannot have a happy Zimbabwe; so the reasoning goes. Some believe anything that can reduce the economic hardships will do.

To some of them even a settler government is acceptable, for as long as there will be aid and some form of jobs in the cities.  We do not eat sovereignty, they say. We want food. We want jobs. We want aid. We want to be happy!  For people like this, elections are about any form of change.

What happens after the change will have to be faced as it comes.  These are the surrendered souls who have neither knowledge nor pride in what is supposed to be their heritage. President Mnangagwa wants to re-engage our erstwhile antagonists, and he does not seem too keen to be on the warpath with the West. Fair and good.  

He took over the leadership of our revolution from Robert Mugabe, and he has to maintain the principles of the revolution while making peace with those progressive enough to allow us to pursue our own aspirations while we work hand in hand for mutual benefits they may be looking at in our country.  

In an interview in 1971, during his visit to Chile, Fidel Castro said the following regarding the Chilean revolution: "We believe that, in a revolutionary process, each separate thing cannot be analysed separately. Every problem has to be analysed from the standpoint of the whole process . . ."

Zimbabwe's financial crisis cannot be analysed separately. The brain drain cannot be analysed separately, the price hikes of commodities cannot be analysed separately, the economic hardships cannot be analysed separately, and the unemployment cannot be analysed separately.  These are the sequels of the terrains through which a revolution has to pass. They make up the trail and trace of any successful revolution.  

These challenges make up the scars and history of the successes ahead. To this end they should therefore be analysed from the standpoint of the entire revolution.  It is not the sole responsibility of President Mnangagwa or of the Zanu-PF leadership to take care of the revolution.  The agrarian revolution is a baby of the masses and as a matter of fundamental strategy; the masses have to take care of this revolution.  

This dispensation presents any opportunity for the defence of the revolution, and this baby called the agrarian revolution cries loud and endless for protection from its mother.

The mother of this revolution is the peasantry of Zimbabwe - it is the masses settled on our land. The masses will have to nurse the baby, take care of it, keep it from getting sick, from being contaminated and from being killed.  There are those who stand against imperialism for the sole purpose of identifying with the revolution, while they actually stand for individualistic and selfish interests.

Those who by day shout out their voices against imperialism and yet by night they corruptly sabotage the land reform programme by looting resources meant to sustain this revolution.  We have those who take advantage of the suffering of the masses to profiteer in business. These are the "financial terrorists" that VP Chiwenga was talking about — the enemies of the people.  

Those who exacerbate the suffering of our people by calling for more sanctions against Zimbabwe are the enemies of the people.  Those who promise imperialists that they will reverse people-driven policies for the benefit of foreign capital are the enemies of the people. We cannot develop ourselves by compromising ourselves for the benefit of those who seek to exploit us.  

For Zimbabwe, the national programme is the agrarian revolution, the objective is production to self-sufficiency levels and for export. The defined goals include earning, through agriculture, enough foreign currency to invest in manufacturing, extraction and service industries. To achieve this, the masses must unite with the workers and with other forces from the social set-up of the country.  

There must be goodwill from the youth, the intellectuals, the petty bourgeoisie and the industrialists. There is no question about it - the revolutionary strategy must make tactics subordinate to the attainment of the fundamental objective, which in essence is the total liberation of the people of Zimbabwe from all forms of poverty. Zimbabwe can always draw strength from the masses in Cuba.

For more than 50 years, Cuba has remained focused on defeating the enemy and prospering the Cuban people, with an unthinking bully for a neighbour.  We are our own liberators and it is time we unite as a people to focus on one single national project that will develop this country into a regional economic super power in Africa.  

This time is not about individuals offering brilliant solutions for Zimbabwe. It is about the people finding a collective solution to the problems bedevilling the country.  We must bury our political differences and put Zimbabwe ahead of political interests and preferences.  

Zimbabwe, we are one and together we will overcome.  

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Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in Sydney, Australia.

Source - chronicle
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