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Dabengwa burial snub cannot erase his legacy

07 Jun 2019 at 07:26hrs | Views
Twitter: @MuckrakerZim

THE presidium was last week conspicuously absent at the burial of Zimbabwe's liberation war stalwart, the late Zipra intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa, at his Ntabazinduna rural home in Matabeleland North.

Despite being one of the most decorated architects of the Second Chimurenga — a bloody battle waged against the colonial rule of Southern Rhodesia's prime minister Ian Smith — President Emmerson Mnangagwa thought it wiser to snub his war colleague's send-off ceremony, for reasons best known to him.

Vice-President Kembo Mohadi appeared interested and concerned before Dabengwa's body arrived in the country, but he also couldn't spare his little "precious" time — probably figuring out how he could next time skillfully wield an axe against his critics — to pay the much-deserved last respects.

Instead, the ruling Zanu-PF chose to send a few ministers, who seemed more interested in pushing their political agenda as shown by Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa (the new Judith Makwanya, ZBC's late diplomatic correspondent) who, on the propaganda mouthpiece, preached about the orthodox Zanufication ideology, marred by pretense, of course, that Zimbabweans are united in spite of their political affiliations. Summarily, she said nothing meaningful, except appearing on screen like a stooge (whoever told her that posing for the cameras all the time she sees a journalist is fashionable, made her a big caricature!).

Mnangagwa, shedding crocodile tears, gave a glowing speech glorifying Dabengwa when he died, in what appears to be just another caricature of reality, considering that Dabengwa, who played a crucial role in setting this country free and founding of the new state, later on became a victim of an independent Zimbabwe when he was incarcerated and charged with fake treason.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba unconvincingly tried to justify his boss' failure to turn up for the burial or even attend the funeral, saying the president is only obliged to do so for those who are buried at the National Heroes Acre. But doesn't that contradict the meaning of a hero — does one only qualify to be accorded due respect if he or she accepts to be interred at the national shrine? Shouldn't it be the work and role one plays that earns him or her hero status?

In fact, some of those buried at the national shrine have played no significant role to deserve such an honour — think of Border "Green Bomber" Gezi and Elliot "Nora" Manyika! Weren't these comrades only rewarded for praising Zanu-PF and condoning the massacre of opposition activists?

The tainted and less important National Heroes Acre surely does not deserve to shelter the remains of principled fighters, who could not sacrifice principle for political expediency and heaping praises where it is underserved, while at the same time deliberately championing the subjugation of civil rights.

The truth, which Mnangagwa and his cronies in government are aware of, is that they have incessantly inflicted pain on the already suffering masses, hence their growing unpopularity. It would be a trying moment for the Zanu-PF bigwigs, who risked being booed, especially in the presence of MDC leader Nelson Chamisa.

His profile

Dabengwa's profile supersedes that of Mnangagwa (former personal assistant to former president Robert Mugabe during the liberation war), Mohadi (his junior in Zipra), making him more important in the history of Zimbabwe.

Dabengwa's crime, besides walking out on Zanu-PF, emanated from him sharing the same table with MDC-Alliance in the run-up to last year's general elections, which Mnangagwa controversially won.

That is what Zanu-PF detests to the core. If he had died shouting on top of his voice the void mantra that Zimbabwe is open for business; that Mnangagwa is Moses taking Zimbabweans to Canaan; that First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa is the modern-day virgin Mary caring for the sick; and that the November 2017 coup was the best gift ever to be received by wailing citizens and accepting to buried at the National Heroes Acre, up to now, state propaganda mouthpieces would be saturated by adverts portraying him as a real son of the soil. That is how a dishonest government, created by Mugabe and now being run by the current military-based regime, behaves.

While Chamisa was not on the list of speakers, it is Dabengwa's widow, Zodwa, who insisted that the unwanted be done. Indeed, Chamisa talked and those gathered listened; doesn't this tarnish the image of Zimbabwe's listening president?

Muckraker understands Mnangagwa's anger — he hasn't presided over a burial at the national shrine of a renowned hero in the form of Dabengwa. However, these dirty political tactics do not erase Dabengwa's everlasting legacy in the history of Zimbabwe as a hero — hamba kahle, qhawe lamaqhawe (go well hero of heroes) — may his soul rest in eternal peace.

Shame to the Zanu-PF charlatans.

TNF talks

The Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) was officially launched in Harare on Tuesday. Notably, government was stamping its authority, telling workers that stayaways and demonstrations are not the ideal to settle labour disputes.

In his speech, Mnangagwa said: "In the second republic, let us shun the culture of militancy, disharmony and demonstrations. We must develop greater understanding of each other's perspectives."

Previously, Labour minister Sekai Nzenza was quoted in the press as having said the TNF would disallow workers from demonstrating without exhausting all negotiation channels.

Discussing problems is not wrong, but tackling those challenges is a different issue. The new dispensation has been holding talks since coming into power, signing so-called lucrative deals, recording fiscal surplus, however, nothing of these much-talked about achievements have cascaded down to the ordinary masses.

While TNF was being launched, prices of goods were skyrocketing and salaries being eroded even further. Talks can only serve as ruinous dramatised skits, which will eventually develop into sorrowful soap operas, lasting for years, but without providing the necessary remedies for economic revival.

When Zanu-PF and the MDC entered into a Government of National Unity in 2009, it didn't require clueless gatherings, gobbling taxpayers' money hosting political actors' dialogues in luxurious hotels, nor stretching of jaws explaining how the economy would inevitably resurrect. It took pragmatism to initiate a turnaround. Workers felt relieved, their buying power improved and prices significantly dropped.

Mugabe only required the wisdom to realise that relentlessly unleashing terror on citizens would sink him further; hence he agreed to form an inclusive government with MDC's founding leader, the late Morgan Tsvangirai. The script reads the same even today.

While Mnangagwa is moving swiftly to silence dissent by saying there is no room for demonstrations (a constitutional right after all, unless TNF is rewriting the supreme law of the land), he is shockingly mum on what is on the table to curtail rampant corruption, the surging prices and the currency instability.

Workers are only demanding payment of their salaries in United States dollars after realising that the RTGS$ is fast becoming another form of tissue paper.

Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF living on borrowed time

Some businesses have already shunned the local currency in favour of the US dollar. Even President Emmerson Mnangagwa himself doesn't use the worthless RTGS$ to hire his private jets. Government unfortunately spends more energy exorcising imaginary ghosts, forgetting that politics of the stomach define what a good economy is.

A dosage of cheap talks, promises, fiction and dance-drama will never work. They can, at best, make Mnangagwa Zimbabwe's Nicolas Maduro, sitting on top of a simmering volcano of discontent. He faces potential uprising from disgruntled, desperate and angry citizens. Muckraker believes without ensuring mealie-meal, bread, sugar, cooking oil, salt, among other basic needs, are affordable to the majority, Zanu-PF is plotting a coup against itself.

This paper reported last week that government was busy buying weapons to thwart anticipated mass protests. This is happening in country where load-shedding has reached alarming levels, service delivery in residential areas is pathetic, patients are dying in hospitals due to lack of drugs, roads are death traps and meaningful industrial production is zero.

Wouldn't it be wise to channel those millions of dollars spent on fortifying Mnangagwa's power towards food aid for drought-stricken communities, clear debt arrears and resuscitate the dying economy?

Why does Mnangagwa live in fear if he knows his government is performing well? Coercion, as a form of governance, will automatically lead to resistance and Mnangagwa should know this well, after riding on the masses to ascend to power via a military coup that toppled one of the world's longest serving despots, Mugabe.

Without clear policies to contain mass anger resulting from economic pains, Zimbabwe is sliding into another Sudan, Venezuela or Algeria. It's only a matter of time!

Source - the independent
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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