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Lupane East By-election: A deceptive delineation of the narrow, gorged and mountainous pathway to democracy in Zimbabwe

11 Aug 2019 at 10:19hrs | Views
The recently held parliamentary and council by-elections in Lupane East, Ward 23 Nkayi South and Ward 22 Bubi constituencies respectively, on the 3rd of August 2019, and many others before, are a deceptive delineation of the narrow, gorged and mountainous pathway to democracy which Zimbabweans are feebly travelling along, dating back to the invasion of Mashonaland and Matabeleland in 1890 and 1893 respectively. The by-elections are the microcosm of the broader abusive political world of the country featuring the dual carriageway of fear, brutality and peacetime violence. Ironically, these by-elections are occurring in an electoral environment that is purblindly portrayed as peaceful yet they are a sad tale of a scoundrel who maliciously pierces your empty intestines with a blunt spear and then deceptively sources medicine for your ‘timeous recovery'. This is the wretched nature of political hypocrisy and a skewed depiction of the real picture of Zimbabwe politics of survival in the face of coercion, misery and social suffering.

The results of the by-elections in the traditional stronghold of Matabeleland seem to be taken out of context by those who are madly celebrating them. However, to progressive individuals, these results are nothing worth singing about and dancing to. Rather, they are the disconsolate and melancholic tale of ceaseless social suffering and the exacerbated social and economic decay that is currently bedeveling the country. The fearfulness and helplessness of the preyed-upon, disaffected and fatigued electorate should never mislead anybody into believing that they voluntarily voted for ZANU PF. Coupled with that is the possible hand of Beelzebub that could have donated some hellish ballots. In the same vein, singing and clapping in the background could be the dilapidating self-centredness by the opposition political parties that are obtrusively out in full force to strangle each other to death as competition to settle personal scores reaches alarming levels, thereby force-marching their potential voters into the dark and smelly armpits of apathy and dissociation. Resultantly, the rule of the few coercively prevails over that of the many.

To the injudicious and near-sighted, ZANU PF is the darling of the rural common herd. Far from the truth! Does a rascal seen forcefully molesting the innocent girl qualify to be her choice of suitor? Our elders say that even the angels of Beelzebub do not necessarily love him. Instead, it is his red forks and cruelly long spoons he uses for roasting tender human flesh that they depend on for their survival which keeps them fettered to the monster with agonizingly short ropes. Genuine love and association are defined even by the choice and freedom to dissociate. Sadly, the people of Lupane East are not completely free to dissociate with ZANU PF. It is a known secret.

I remember as a young boy during the gukurahundi atrocities of the 1980s when a red-eyed  Fifth Brigade soldier ‘asked' the  biggest fish from my historic catch from the then drying dam in my rural village in Matabeleland. I helplessly yielded to his "request" not because I wanted to, but because I had to see the next sunrise. That is the torturous parallel tale of the people of Lupane East, Nkayi South, Bubi and the generality of Zimbabwe. Their story is the maliciously cruel case of voter apathy, starvation, intimidation and fear that are immersed in subtle deception.

The by-elections unequivocally broadcast the constricted, shrunken and lean democratic space not only in Lupane East but in the whole country. In Zimbabwe, forty years after independence, it is unbelievably still taboo to express one's political choice and affiliation free of fear and intimidation. The whole affair is a matter of life and death if you are thought to be sympathetic and aligned to the opposition. You have to be recklessly brave to openly choose to belong to the opposition even if you stay in the generally thought to be safe places like towns. The unwritten political rule is that you align yourself with ZANU PF and live, or lean on the opposition and soon knock on the entrances of the caves of your skeletal ancestors.

In that regard, how does an exposed old rural woman or man stand for his or her personal choice in the form of an opposition political party? In these rural areas the fear of reprisals is so thick that even a married couple cannot freely discuss politics even in the confines of their bedroom. The fear of the an imaginary character peeping through the window or eavesdropping, tames all intent to take the risk. That is the scarred and injurious Zimbabwe political environment we live in.  

ZANU PF propaganda mouthpiece, the ZBC was as loud as a hollow gong in sprucing the images of its candidates. This portrayed very well the kwashiorkor and deficiency of balanced media in the country. What an indelible mark of primitive and Early Stone Age politics! It truly confirms the gorged, narrow and hilly political pathway we are sheepishly travelling along en route to elusive democracy.

More so, the Lupane East by-election results are marked by the unlevel and bumpy playing ground as evidenced by the alleged blatant abuse of State resources by ZANU PF. The conflation of party and State by the so-called ruling party in Zimbabwe is nauseating, to say the least. Government resources have been dishonestly turned into party resources. Unfortunately, over many years of abuse, the citizenry seems to have finally lost track and awareness of the original roles of Social Welfare, among other government departments. In that vein, the distribution of food aid to the needy rural folk has now become the brutal weapon of abuse, baited reward or punishment during and after electoral seasons. Sadly and annoyingly, the provision of food handouts like cups of rice that are intensified during campaigns, are responsible for fuelling the anti-development dependency syndrome. The alleged provision of medical supplies to health institutions in Lupane (as alluded to by ZESN) was clearly a vote-buying mechanism meant to propel the performance of ZANU PF in the election. In that context, the vulnerable rural dwellers defencelessly remain exposed and with no weaponry to leverage on in face of the whirlwind onslaught by the unfairly advantaged ZANU PF.

The existence of violence during peace times in Zimbabwe is another problem. People fear the recurrence of historical incidents of violence as they go to the polls in present times. Covert threats of the return of gukurahundi and related violent acts hits the nerve in Matabeleland. The old and now weak survivors of the 1980s genocide will do anything to keep ZANU PF in power, not because they want to, but as payment of the bill just to breathe one more time. Coupled with that is the abuse of traditional leaders who are forced to act as political decoys of ZANU PF. It is this originally Mugabe concept that has further annihilated the scanty democracy that could be thought to be present in Zimbabwe. How is the feigned democratic  dance to the so-called new dispensation militaristic dance going? What a spit in the face for those who wilfully and enthusiastically marched in November 2017 in the hope of a new dawn that never was. The soaring levels of social suffering and economic decay in Zimbabwe are more than enough evidence of peace time violence which has kept the citizenry captive and horribly frightened to the bone. Obviously, no sane person could expect people living in abject poverty to sing, dance and praise the very party and authors of their demise.

Further, the current animal-fight-club contest by the far-out opposition political parties is also the blame-worthy culprit. The loose and disjointed opposition is a dilapidating wound to the limpy walk to freedom.  Veteran and prospective opposition voters are  disaffected and disenfranchised by the opposition groupings that are despairingly disunited and lacking even a single grain of unanimity. These loosened and unfastened political parties and their supporters immaturely expend their energies on throttling and chocking each other to death instead of uniting against the abusive monster in the house. The venomous social media utterances by one seemingly yet-to-ripe vice president of an opposition political party, comes into mind. Kingly robes do not necessarily come with moral intelligence, our elders say. It quite sad how some opposition party leaders are now shamelessly riding on a limping discourse that sounds exactly as though it were manufactured and copyrighted at Jongwe House. Such behaviour is a nak*d vulgarity to the fight for freedom and democracy. As they sup with the devil, one hopes they have the long spoon for the diabolic braai.

The heightened negative sentiment by opposition leaders against each other, in a bid to outsmart each other has confused the electorate and sadly left ZANU PF deceptively appearing innocent. It is the case of two drowning swimmers who "cling together and chock their art", as the legendary Shakespeare ably put it.

Accusations and counter-accusations of tribalism have also seen a dejected and disaffected electorate shun the opposition. The opposition should be mindful that Bulawayo, as the microcosm of the larger world of Matabeleland, has a telling effect on the political thermometers of the region and should be unfailingly treated with great care. Arguably, if the alleged tribal slates in the opposition remain undismantled until 2023, the electorate is likely to unleash a terminating blow in response as that seems to be the only arsenal at their disposal. Married to alleged tribalism are the energy-draining splits in the MDC that have agonizingly weakened the party and tamed even some its veteran die-hard members, thereby breeding a hopeless and nomadic electorate that can pick on any Jack or Jill on the ballot paper. One fervently hopes that the opposition can selflessly introspect and discard personality and tribal fist fights,  for the good of the suffering masses who are sorely yearning for democracy and better living conditions.

It is noteworthy that all ordinary  Zimbabweans, including ZANU PF members, need to be freed from the oppressive shackles of poverty, deprivation and dictatorship. Even the predators themselves are obviously fear-stricken of the masses and are illicitly hungry for freedom as well. In that regard, any attempt by anyone, to try to positively portray the Lupane East by-election results and many others in favour of ZANU PF is failingly  attempting to paint the wind. The results are just the Lucifer-sourced reward of borrowed peace and foodcrumbs for the much-sought survival of the rural voting victims. Any squirrel song and dance for the results is overtly a misguided and deceptive delineation of the narrow, crooked and hilly political pathway leading to democracy which has annoyingly remained elusive in Zimbabwe.

Those who can, let them hear!

Nhlanhla Moses writes in his capacity as an ordinary rural citizen and can be contacted on:

WhatsApp: +27733862303

Source - Nhlanhla Moses
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