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Many loves Mugabe but hate Zanu-PF

22 Apr 2013 at 16:51hrs | Views
The world as we see it is the outcome of human decisions. Our systems of government, the legal doctrines that bind us to contract, the laws of economics and the ordered systems of education to which we dutifully subject ourselves are all creatures of the human imagination.

At first glance these systems seem infallible. Perhaps not infallible in the sense of being free of inadequacy -- we all accept that our current state is inadequate -- but we suffer a slavish and somewhat visceral commitment to the status quo.

Having lived in a world painted in a consistent shade, our imaginations have been blunted by the cowardly belief that the world is what it is and we must simply dance to its established melody. This is not so, the world is what we make it.

Allow me to illustrate.
A number of years ago I met an impressive 32-year-old economist from the Bahamas. She was lecturing at Cambridge. We quickly struck an anti-imperialist rapport and she agreed to join us for dinner later on in the week.

I made it clear that my motives in inviting her were selfish. I wanted her to educate me. At the core of my ignorance was a question on the identity of money and from whence its value came. She made good on her word and joined us a few days later.

I humbly explained my state of perplexity on the subject of currency and opened the floor to her imagining she would take me through complex economic principles and gently guide me toward a clearer understanding. She did not.

"Money is what we say it is. Money is what we agree it is. Money is the confidence that we have in ourselves and our commitment to upholding our own word."

Those were her specific words and they hit me quite hard. It would take an entire essay to interpret the depth of the message she communicated in those few words. Space prohibits so I will leave the reader to work his own imagination.

The dead speak
I am reminded of the late Steve Jobs. He was the man who refused to accept the world as he saw it. He believed computers were not what they could be and determined to paint his own alternative picture. It was a picture of the computing world as he saw it in his imagination.

That picture is now reality. Apple changed the face of consumer computing as we knew it and in the process spurred on the development of an entire industry. Tablets, smart phones and app stores are all the children of one man's imagination. The following quote from Steve Jobs perfectly captures the essence of what I am trying to communicate:

"When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money.

That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again."

Mugabe and the clever charlatans
I will never attack or criticise Robert Mugabe. To some, that makes me a servile bootlicker or one who has been paid to praise. Far from it, I have not received a dime from the man and would lose absolutely nothing if I turned my pen against him.

I support him because I believe in the Pan-Africanist vision and I am convinced that he is an authentic visionary, not a charlatan. It is this question of profiteering charlatans that has muddied so many revolutions.

Robert Mugabe, Herbert Chitepo, Joshua Nkomo and other founding fathers saw a different world in their imagination. They so believed in their vision that they were ready to die in pursuit of it. They were unwavering in their commitment and spent years in detention after refusing to renounce their desire for black emancipation. This willingness and readiness to die is an important characteristic. It is what distinguishes the authentic from the charlatan.

Death can be metaphorical

You need not bleed in the literal sense. Those who enjoy comfortable positions in industry can die if they truly believe in the cause. Death can be the forgoing of comfort in service to your nation.

Nigel Chanakira would make an excellent civil servant. His experience in management could bring an end to the unnecessary and easily solved chaos we find at places like the passport office. But he clearly does not want to die. He prefers the comfort of predictable commerce and chooses not to muddy himself with the politics of public office. Robert Mugabe will do it all, he will fix it all, we can just sit back and enjoy.

Robert Mugabe has done more than his fair share. He died. The man could have been a world-renowned advocate. He has a sharp mind, is impressive in speech and carries himself with great style. Nothing would have stood in his way. Instead, he chose the difficult and riskier path.

His child died whilst he was in captivity. He lost over a decade of his life in prison because he believed in something greater than the passing pleasures of material comfort. But something went wrong. Why is the revolution not perfect?

Not a trivial affair
Robert Mugabe and his comrades engineered and oversaw a change of dispensations. They organised a war, fought it and pressured the Rhodesians to the negotiating table. It is easy to run a successful business; competent managers are all you need. However, to overthrow a system of government, to dismantle a weaponised ideology of white supremacy is not an equally trivial affair.

I am being deliberately laboured to give you an understanding of how true greatness is ranked and hopefully help you grasp your own inadequacy.

Julius Nyerere, Robert Mugabe, Nelson Mandela and Kenneth Kaunda belong to a rare breed of men who fought for an imagination that was almost impossible to grasp. They were true believers in the doctrine of a world malleable to the unwavering decision of man.

The trivial poverty war
The greater challenge has been overcome but a quiet war remains. Every night across Africa, be it Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa or Kenya, millions of people go to bed hungry. We began by applauding the mind of Steve Jobs who changed the way we interact with computers.

I am not speaking of goals so grand. We spoke about revolutionaries who lost limbs and endured devilish tortures in pursuit of freedom. I am not asking for more blood. I am just talking about food.

I am not demanding we embark on ambitious nuclear projects. I am simply asking for food. We spoke about the world as it is and how this is subject to the power of human imagination and decision. Can we say that the African is so hopelessly unimaginative as to be unable to feed himself? It is certainly not a case of inherent inability. How has Strive Masiyiwa managed to build his Econet telecoms beast? The skills are among us. How has Chanakira managed to build the confidence necessary to sustain a bank? Competence is clearly not in short supply.

The problem is the Robert Mugabes of our generation have refused to die. There is no Julius Nyerere among us. Many of our best minds are held captive by the shallow lures of personal wealth. An example of the selfish spirit that has characterised our generation are the so-called breadbasket years. When Zimbabwe was at the height of its economic strength we had millions of poor peasants who thought bread and jam were a treat.

This miserable state of affairs is the reality in Kenya and even the supposedly developed South Africa. The poor lack food and none of our 'thinkers' seem to have much in the way of immediate ideas.

While the world sends rockets to outer space and embarks on ever more complex innovations, we are unable to give our people potatoes. Let's all come together and blame Robert Mugabe. Why can't he give us potatoes?

When charlatans prophesy
We are victims of charlatans who chant patriotic slogans ever so eloquently but whose hearts are far from true nationalism. They seek prestige and wealth. I am speaking of government officials. Robert Mugabe gives clear instructions on the thrust that Government must have and the direction it must follow.

These directions, in my view, have been faultless. The problem lies with the charlatans who have volunteered themselves as helpers. Equally at fault are those who have not volunteered. These are the lost Robert Mugabes of our generation. They have refused to die.

Living examples
Gideon Gono was involved in considerable quasi-fiscal activities. We were led to understand that these measures were of necessity to save the economy from complete rapture. President Robert Mugabe made it clear that it was important that we support agriculture. That was the instruction.

The Reserve Bank proceeded to acquire inputs to the value of hundreds of millions of dollars in hard currency, claiming to be mechanising the agricultural sector as directed by the President.

At the face of it, this was all well and good.

The question then comes from the people of Zimbabwe, where are those inputs? Robert Mugabe has given a clear and beneficial policy direction but a charlatan has cleverly hijacked a noble goal in pursuit of personal gain.

The Reserve Bank acquired, among an assortment of inputs, 15 000 tractors. Where are those tractors today? 12 000 completely vanished from the books. Millions of dollars were spent but rural folk are still struggling to find machinery to till their land.

A good policy was articulated and money was set aside but somewhere in the middle, a charlatan diluted the whole affair by injecting self-interest. The question is who got those tractors? Why were they not given to the DDF and leased out at affordable rates? What standard was used to determine who was a deserving recipient?

In Mugabe's name they prey
We are told that this information is private as it could prejudice the state or even the President himself. Nobody is credulous enough to believe an 80-something-year-old Robert Mugabe stole 12 000 tractors and is now being protected by loving guardians at the Reserve Bank.

The truth of it is that there is a cabal of charlatans who hijacked a noble policy and used the cover of sanctions busting to hide their trail. As more evidence comes to light, it will become clear that Gideon Gono used state resources to build a personal fiefdom and parallel power structures within government.

The tractors never reached the poor farmers who needed them the most. They were given to cronies who then vowed allegiance to the person who dished out these unrighteous generosities. This is why the Reserve Bank refuses to give us a list of who took these tractors.

My view of Gono is an ungenerous one and is a matter of public record. He is a small man whose large ambition exceeds his abilities and thus resorts to buying political influence. His actions served a selfish agenda and he cloaked this in the decency of noble government policy. But this is not about Gideon Gono. I make an example of him but he is certainly not alone.

I use this example in an effort to show that we have been cursed with greedy custodians who have hijacked the revolution. They feign a loyalty to the cause but this only to get their snouts near the state purse. Under the cover of night you find them prostrating themselves in the American embassy.

Their imagination is weak and limited to personal gain. They are not consumed by a desire to see a better Zimbabwe but devote the greater of their energies to petty personal ambition.

The charlatans will destroy us
The cryptic Nathaniel Manheru recently wrote of "mediocre yet enormously ambitious politicians" who dishonestly hide behind the President to give weight to and further their personal agendas. Their lips had been "turned red by raw lies," he said.

The people of Zimbabwe are not blind to all this. There is a growing displeasure with and within Zanu-PF because of the self-serving behaviour of these individuals. The only thing that saves the party from total decimation at the polls is the incurable fondness that the population continues to have for Robert Mugabe.

The ideological values of Zanu-PF are beyond contestation. You cannot argue with policies that are for the people. The only challenge that we face is that of the many charlatans among us.

May the real selfless leaders - those who are ready to die - please stand up?

Amai Jukwa is a loving mother of three. She respects Robert Mugabe, is amused by Tsvangirai and feels sorry for Mutambara.

Source - papers
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