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Chamisa: When the Goliath Complex Afflicts

19 Mar 2022 at 06:38hrs | Views
My early days in primary school were dominated by the story of Goliath, the giant of Philistine.

Goliath's name was onomatopoeic; this sonorous name heavily suggested physical hugeness afflicted by minute intellect. In his figure, size overruled intellect.

Child-man of Zimbabwe Politics

Literature names such a character child-man: a grown up but with the mental facility of a mere child.

The characteristic hubris and flaw of such stock characters is prizing physical ardour over intellect.

In today's scientific parlance, a Goliath is a huge body without a chip.

Literature is replete with such vainglorious giants. Invariably, their foil and nemesis take the form and shape of easy-to-disdain midgets, but precocious in mind.

Real man-child, their  quintessentially small built belies their strength of mind which makes up for their diminutive stature.

The poet who hated fops

Across centuries, writers have enjoyed the tussle between huge body and small intellect.

Often, they use this as a vehicle for scathing satire against the vain and pompous.  Alexander Pope, whose waspish pen dominated 18th Century England, was one such poet who hated and ridiculed ponderous size.

In his view such giant characters were always foppish, fawning polish, taste and intellect, yet wielding none of the above. Pope's Age was one of Reasons where thinking was highly prized, dullness a butt of written indignation.

He penned The Dunciad, a satirical poem on dullness which he saw wending its way to high places through royal patronage. Pope's anger arose from bitterness: he had been snubbed by the British royal couple of his day, after a long spell of regal patronage.

That didn't go down well with him, inspiring him to lampoon the British king and Queen through this long, bitter poem, arguably the best to emerge from his age.

That the royal couple had dropped him for the company of mere dunces, suggested decay, imbecility and tastelessness in the Land of Albion.

Age of literary anger

Then you also had Jonathan Swift, a contemporary of Alexander Pope in the Augustan Age. Jonathan Swift penned Gulliver's Travels.

In colonial Rhodesia, we were raised on the staple of Gulliver's Travels, which was a must-read in our school days. The never-never land in which Swift set Gulliver's Travels was inhabited by two human types who were polar opposites: little men he called Lilliputians; and giants he called Brobdingnakgians.

In naming both, he made savage use of onomatopoeia to suggest overweening smallness on the one hand, and unwieldy hugeness on the other.

He had little love for either, and savaged politicians of his day he visualised as afflicted both by ugliness and littleness of mind. Pope and Swift defined the 18th Century as an age of literary anger.

Bantui the giant African

Not to be outdone, Africa gave the world its own version of the same emotion. Ayi Kwei Armah, the Ghanaian writer, dramatised this same body/mind tragic mismatch by creating Goliath's alter ego. Armah sonorously named him Bantui. So huge and unwieldy was Bantui's body that a physical abuse to his body needed days to reach and register on his small mind.

You hit Bantui today, the pain would need several days to reach his brains. When it eventually did, several days later Bantui would leap in incandescent fury to mete out vengeance against the offender who by then would have long forgotten that he once abused him.

And as he pulled his huge, physical weight against the offender, Bantui would hurl epithets, all in present tense! In his minute brain, time past and time present fused into one endless continuum.

Chidzero's Matigimu

Here at home, our late Bernard Chidzero – may his dear soul rest in eternal peace – named Goliath's equivalent Matigimu. An epitome of slothful greed, Matigimu did nothing to match both his bodily size or his advanced age.

His useless life was wasted dodging brooms that swept the home clean. He would never leave the kitchen where food was cooked, and women's domain.

Hence Chidzero's title, Nzvengamutsvairo! This good-for-nothing-giant's antipode was some little character called Chorosi.

As per tradition, Chorosi was an archetypal man-child; an embodiment of precocity. The Shona people have a saying: musoro usina njere idambudziko kumuviri. Roughly translated, this means an empty head is a curse and affliction to a ponderous body.

Zimbabwe's superfluous by-elections

Zimbabwe votes on 26th March.

That means we are in the last stretch and sector of campaigning for by-elections inflicted on our Nation largely by a feuding opposition, and minimally by God's incontestable decision.

By number and geography, these by-elections are more or less general elections in miniature.

A microcosm of 2023, possibly explaining why all contestants are dead set on victory, at whatever cost. Including forfeiting decency in politics.

We have had a few instances of poll-related violence, sadly attesting to our violent cast, and our propensity to think "fighting" for office is literal terms, never as a mere figure of speech.

We have heard claims and counter-claims of vote manipulation, reminding us we imagine and practise politics as "dirty", again literally. Judging by the boomerang which has just stunned and numbed Chamisa's Pachedu, there are no saints when it comes to attempts at rigging.

His man, Gomba, stares a jail term after registering a throng of voters against fictitious addresses.

Elections played to overseas notice

Dirty money, too, has already found its way into our body-politic, again suggesting our propensity to play the drum of other peoples — faraway peoples unrelated to us whether by totem or by complexion – whose interests we are keen to traffic for few pieces of silver.

The beautiful ones may never be born. Abductions continue to be faked, in the lewdly hope of catching the notice of doting and distracted West.

The trial of Mamombe and Chimbiri have resumed on a despairing note, underscoring the opposition's propensity to trade victim-hood in overseas political markets.

We play our elections to overseas notice, never to meet domestic demands for democracy.

When it comes to our politics, nothing changes; rather, growth stunts with every plebiscite.

Unfazed President, Zanu-PF

Perhaps as a mark of confidence, the President and ZANU-PF calmly interlards campaigning with State duties, including meeting fixtures which take the President abroad, beyond the theatre of by-elections.

In a matter of days — crucial days — in this season of campaigning, he has been to Kenya, to the United Arab Emirates and, only two days ago, to Zambia where he joined other leaders in burying Zambia's fourth President, Rupiah Banda.

The President, it seems, has little to worry in respect of the pending by-elections, and preparations for them.

Attacking the umpire

Already, there is enough feedback which assures him.

When the opposition starts savaging the umpire — ZEC — that conveys much more than boyish pugilism.

It suggests a campaign programme which isn't going so well.

With little forethought, Chamisa bragged he had his own people embedded in ZEC.

That is very good news: he shall not complain when results are read, possibly granting us an uncontested poll, the first time ever. He has denied himself the benefit of innocence; or any pretensions to being more sinned against than sinning. This we shall recall for his benefit, on the eve of his defeat.

Negative electoral balance sheet

Two, when an opposition which should be maximising on campaign time, wilfully taunts and provokes the Police in order to court banning on grounds of law and order, you then know the opposition is already drawing up and preparing us for a negative electoral balance sheet.

Above all — or let me say much worse — when an opposition busses and recycles the same supporters, venue after venue, in an ever widening electoral gyre, then rest assured it has chosen to consume its own propaganda, diligently.

I had a chuckle after Chamisa's Bulawayo rally when his propaganda team, led by the inept but coquettish Fadzai Mahere, vainly sought to play some cheap propaganda mind game with readers on Twitter. The team replicated two frames of same pictures, replicated them a thousand times over.

Except they forgot to crop out two images: one of a woman who had dyed her kinky hair blonde; another of one of their supporter buried to eyelids by a verandah hat. These two outed the propaganda lie, to guffaws of laughter from all of us!

What's in a name?

Chamisa's campaign drags on a limp, thanks to stupid, thoughtless decision he made as a child-man of forty-something years.

Thanks, too, to his confusing twitter vociferousness with the field of political play. After his buffeting by the wily and legalistic Mwonzora, Chamisa of necessity abandoned the MDC camp: hostel, oops, headquarters, name, colour, gesture and supporters, including a handful in leadership.

In remarkable solipsism, his fawning minions hailed his forced yellowed makeover to CCC – Copy, Copy and Copy – as a stroke of political genius. For a while, they all jumped wild – literally – like a child-man just newly renamed Goliath. In their thinking, the new name was the politics, the contest, the vote and, ultimately, the victory!

Where angst leads to tribal schisms

But as is always true with all things miasmic, the yellow party was soon over. Looking over his first shoulder, Chamisa caught worrisome sight of Biti whose eyes are bloodshot with envy and ambition, laced with undisguised scorn.

Turning to his other shoulder, he saw an unpleasant tribal putsch loading, one re-uniting two inveterate enemies: Welshman Ncube and Thokozani Khupe. But both also his rivals, now reconciled and united, brewing mischief against him.

Mischief born out of angst. Common fear has reunited old foes: Ncube and Khupe. The former a fear of being sidelined in the yet-to-be announced hierarchy of old-new CCC; the latter fear of simply being permanently irrelevant after dalliance with Zanu-PF, followed by a leadership loss to Mwonzora. Khupe is finished, drained to the marrow, as Tabitha Khumalo avers. She is now an albatross, a dead weight politically.

That Chamisa prevaricated in slamming the door on her, shows how drowning Chamisa won't hesitate to clutch at a serpent.

Of course hovering about Khupe and Ncube is our Professor Jonathan Moyo who also doubles up as redeemer of Ndebele bloc vote, and Chamisa's ideologue.

He easily roused deeper fears in both Khupe and Ncube, forcing both to put aside their inveterate enmity. Wily and calculating as ever, Professor Moyo suffers Chamisa and his yellow thing as some usable vehicle to several other objectives, all of them his. Chamisa is acutely aware of this, and is forever wary and worried. Except he can't divest himself of Prof Moyo.

If only Zanu-PF can do Chamisa this one favour

How has this mosaic of frets played out in the current by-elections, and potentially in the big one in 2023? Well, simply by exposing several fault lines in Chamisa's yellow thing. I should have mentioned the physically muscular Job Sikhala, and his feeble intellect.

Rumbustious at mouth and nothing more, he remains a festering worry for Chamisa who sleeps with only one eye. Much worse, he fears combinations.

Such as has just happened between Khupe and Ncube, both hand-held by Professor Jonathan Moyo.

Chamisa dreads a Biti-Sikhala combination, and will do all he can to pre-empt it. Including ceding Harare East to Zanu-PF's Mavis Gumbo, so Biti's hand and claim is severely weakened.

Biti is aware of this, but is in a bit of a bind. Stopping to be Chamisa's tandem at all Star Rallies, invites worse fate.

Playing dutiful tandem eats into his campaign time for Harare East. Either way, he stands to lose.

Ega ega hake mukomana

On the eve of these superfluous by-elections, Chamisa did the extraordinary and breathtaking politically.

He dissolved everything, everyone, including his slim chances of making an impression in these by-elections.

His logic and argument was as simple as it was deadly to himself: CCC is a new party; as a new party, it only has a founder and no one, nothing else!

That founder is himself, and as founder, he shall not be contested! Ngaapinde hake mukomana! So all but him was dissolved, including self-confidence within the hierarchy he stitched together at the rigged Gweru congress, which hierarchy is now past it's sale-by date.

Chamisa's harping on the newness of CCC is nothing more than an internal memo made loud. The message is internal to CCC so no leadership illusions encrust.

Stretching the solitary Rambo

To what end? Simply that of paralysing his campaign in the current by-elections. CCC can only do one rally per day; two rallies per weekend.

And this at a time when Zanu-PF is breathing heavily above and behind it. Where Zanu-PF deploys its President, the two Vice Presidents, and its National Chairman, and several aspiring candidates to different meetings, venues and regions across the country, Chamisa Chimwe Chimwe does one only, pulling a whole retinue of his deputies he ardently mistrusts, deputies he will not allow to convene and address individual rallies.

The loss is double: the reach of the party is severely curtailed in a season of several by-elections, all set in geographically dispersed areas. Secondly, those in Chamisa's hierarchy develop acute angst, anger and frustration even.

Acutely so Biti who faces a by-election in Harare East while being hamstrung from an independent campaign by his boss' fears and suspicions.

Perverse satisfaction of a Goliath

Where does all this leave Chamisa? Perversely happy, driven by the satisfaction of a Goliath pleased that the fate of his side resides in his ponderous size. Rambo-like, Chamisa believes in his vast physical power to carry his whole party, to neutralise little David's sling, to single-handedly deliver victory to his side.

He is afflicted by the Goliath complex in an era of modern warfare.

Except he is being practical under the circumstances. He faces a set of opponents he cannot engage serially, one at a time. Overarching is Zanu-PF, for him completely indigestible. Then comes Mwonzora, his bitter rival from a divided past.

By-elections Mwonzora does not need

I see Chamisa's minions habitually cannot assign significance to Mwonzora. Which is why they wrongly measure him by the threat he poses to them in these superfluous by-elections. They have been harping on alleged poor turnout at his rallies, creating an impression his fate hangs by the by-elections. I beg to differ. T for him, the by-elections are very small and insignificant.

Mwonzora's future in Zimbabwe politics has long orbited out of MDC, whether as presently configured or renamed.

He has skilfully re-defined a new role and purpose for himself in national affairs, a role exceeding by-elections or even the ballot.

He has won already, won against Chamisa. All he needs in these by-election is for Chamisa to hit the nadir. About that let little be said for now.

Hark, who knocks on ED's door

Third factor is inside CCC itself: by way of those Chamisa thinks are with him, even behind him.

Those he thinks he can manipulate or chew, one-by-one, a little at a time, until he is rid of all irritants in CCC.

Every inch a virulent growl from the deep of his insides, this is an internal force which daily brews Chamisa's comeuppance, in the process driving him inch by inch towards ED and Zanu-PF. This Third Force which Khupe and Ncube almost ruined through hasty action, for now feigns powerlessness, even pretending loyalty as it troops behind Chamisa at his one-foolish-rally-at-a time, as mute by-standers.

Except Mahere, they have all been gagged as Goliath indulges in his drama of physical prowess. They know Zanu-PF is stretching him on the ground, stretching him thinnest.

They know his solitary, one-man war against the experienced Zanu-PF will soon come to an abrupt screech, with no one to mop his bleeding brow. They are waiting for that Goliath moment, when the slug strikes home, prostrating the political child-man.

Only after Chamisa's disastrous showing will the real drama begin. Hark, who knocks on ED's door? I am only a village donkey so given to loud braying.

Source - The Herald
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