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Will the next ZANU PF leader call Mnangagwa a 'dimwit'?

29 Jun 2023 at 13:05hrs | Views
The ruling ZANU PF is always full of drama, which never ceases to amaze, if not bemuse.

So, after current President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa's monumental failure to resuscitate the country's economy, his party has reverted to its usual tactics of searching for those to blame.

Of course, it is never ZANU PF's fault - as this would be expecting too much for a political elite that does not know the meaning of the term 'taking responsibility'.

It is no longer anything worth writing about - considering that we, the people of Zimbabwe, have been subjected to this blame-game for the past 43 years.

Ever since ZANU PF came to power at independence in 1980, there has never been any shortage of supposed 'saboteurs'.

There have been endless reasons conveniently employed in order to explain why the country's economy is always choking and teetering on the brink of collapse.

However, I am not going to bore anyone delving into all these excuses - as they are now all too familiar to the general citizens - whether one actually believes these yarns, or is wise enough to dismiss them with the contempt they deserve.

What got me writing, though, was the latest in this long string of those the ruling establishment has picked as scapegoats.

Yesterday, I was listening to the ZANU PF spokesperson, Christopher Mutsvangwa - in an otherwise uninspiring interview with the state broadcaster.

Amidst the usual fanciful claims of Zimbabwe's economy on the rebound and performing exceptionally well - he elected to, of course, lay some of the blame for the undeniable challenges being faced by millions of Zimbabweans, on the ousted former president Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

As a matter of fact, in typical colorful Mutsvangwa fashion, he described the Mugabe regime as 'dimwits', who did not know what they were doing.


When I heard that, my mouth fell wide open!

I am just glad that I was alone at that moment, otherwise my family would have thought I had seen a ghost!

Immediately, I recalled Mutsvangwa being the Zimbabwe ambassador to China during the Mugabe era.

Whilst the rest of us were busy holding this administration to account - as we are still doing today with Mnangagwa - I remember quite well the likes of Mutsvangwa defending this government with unparalleled zeal and determination.

In fact, on his usual forays back home from Beijing - at the height of Mugabe's so-called 'Look East Policy' - Mutsvangwa would fervently defend the ruinous nonsensical economic policies of the time.

In addition, he would also make the same grandiose promises as he still does today - of impending phenomenal economic growth and prosperity for the people of Zimbabwe.

In his usual bombastic manner, he talked big about the trillions of US dollars in the Chinese government foreign currency reserves, and how the billion plus population was a guaranteed market for Zimbabwean products.

This was upped to new heights when he set his sights on the Norton parliamentary seat - whereby he made all sorts of absurd and ridiculous pledges of how the Mugabe government was bringing never-seen-before development in the area.

In a nutshell, Mutsvangwa was assuring Zimbabweans of economic development and wealth beyond their wildest dreams!

On the other hand, there were people as myself and many others, who called out Mugabe and his regime for the gross mismanagement of the economy and rampant corruption within the corridors of power.

We also questioned the logic behind such policies as the 'indigenization program', where - regardless how much foreign entities injected into their investments in Zimbabwe - locals would be entitled to 51 percent, whilst the investor only getting 49 percent.

It was quite obvious that this ill-conceived legislation would discourage foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country - leading to massive de-industrialization, loss of jobs and unemployment.

Did we not warn that the indifference towards the unadulterated looting taking place at such state-owned enterprises as ZISCOSTEEL would destroy these companies?

Even a presidential commission of inquiry established that high-level corruption and mismanagement were the major factors behind the company's viability challenges.

Yet, not only was this issue never taken seriously, but even the commission's full report was never made public - let alone, bringing the implicated top officials to book.

Needles to say, the parastatal folded and closed its doors in 2008 - leaving thousands of employees and their families without any means of livelihood - whilst, at the same time, destroying other downstream industries.

Of course, a similar fate, or at least nearly, befell other state enterprises, as NRZ (National Railways of Zimbabwe), Air Zimbabwe, Hwange Coal Company, and ZESA (Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority).

I could go on and on, but the point here is - where was Mutsvangwa in all this?

Instead of singing the praises and glory of Mugabe, should he not have joined us in questioning the president and demanding accountability?

If anything, just as today, he (Mutsvangwa) and his comrades in the ruling establishment, elected to condemn, label and vilify us as 'sellouts and unpatriotic'.

Only when they had fallen out with each other, at the beginning of 2017, did he begin to criticize and castigate Mugabe.

This was at the height of factional fighting within ZANU PF - whereby Mutsvangwa, and others suspected of supporting Mnangagwa, were expelled.

Well, that was a bit too late - since only a few months later, Mugabe had been toppled from power in a military coup d'état - which ushered in Mnangagwa as the new president.

Therefore, it is quite disingenuous for Mutsvangwa to place the blame for Zimbabwe's economic crisis solely on Mugabe's administration - whilst separating himself, as if he was not a part and parcel of this ruinous regime.

His few months in the wilderness in 2017 can never qualify him as not having been part of the problem.

It becomes extremely bizarre when he then decides to refer to them as 'dimwits' - unless, of course, he is also including himself!

We can go further by including the current president, Mnangagwa - as he was Mugabe's deputy.

In other words, quite a sizeable number of those still influential in Zimbabwe today - under the so-called 'Second Republic' - were part of Mugabe's regime, in one form or another.

Nonetheless, what I find rather disturbing in all this is the fact that Mutsvangwa chose to wait until Mugabe was out of power to finally come out in the open with his thoughts.

We are not fools!

We all know that Mutsvangwa, and others trying to distance themselves from Mugabe, are merely trying to find someone to blame, as per norm, for their own abysmal failures in reviving the comatose economy.

After ousting Mugabe, more as a result of factional power struggles than anything else - they made a myriad of dreamy promises to the people of Zimbabwe - most of which have not been fulfilled.

However, when Mutsvangwa and his ilk were enjoying the good life under Mugabe, they never saw anything to complain about - even when it was abundantly clear that his policies were turning the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans into a nightmare.

Not only did they remain silent, they actually supported and defended Mugabe - just because their own lives were on top of the world - and they were not about to risk it all by castigating their own benefactor and paymaster.

Here are my final questions.

How do we know if all those in Mnangagwa's government today, who are keeping quiet and even defending him - in the face of unimaginable poverty and suffering afflicting millions - genuinely support him?

In fact, how can we be certain even Mutsvangwa is sincere in his rabid defense of Mnangagwa?

Did he not do the same with Mugabe?

Are they waiting for a new leader, who replaces Mnangagwa, for them to finally openly criticize his undeniably flawed policies?

After Mnangagwa has gone, is that when they will openly talk about the Gold Mafia, as well as other sordid scandals, of which we are not aware?

Will that be when the new ZANU PF leadership tell us exactly why the exchange rate is flying through the roof - as cartels linked to the ruling elite are permitted to benefit from the huge disparities between the official and parallel market rates?

Whilst, at the same time, the government is printing unsustainably huge amounts of the local currency - which they flood the 'black market', in order to buy as much US dollars as possible to fund ZANU PF campaign programs.

Should we expect the new leadership, possibly including Mutsvangwa himself, to come out labeling Mnangagwa and his regime as 'dimwits'?

Only time will tell.

However, it is very painful that we have those in the echelons of power who prefer turning a blind eye to our suffering, simply because they are feasting on the gravy train.

They will only speak out when the leader they served is no longer in office.

Is that what these people mean by 'patriotism' - keeping silent, as well as defending and supporting, even when a leader is clearly destroying the country?

In all this, those of us with the courage and are principled enough to tell truth to power, are called all sorts of dastardly names.

● Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email:, or visit website:

Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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