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Tendai Biti - Please mourn privately!

13 Jan 2014 at 17:54hrs | Views

Yesterday Tendai Biti, Secretary-General of MDC-T, wrote an article in which he purported to pose a question. He asked: What is wrong with Zimbabwe?

For starters, that is no question at all. Thankfully, despite the rather misplaced industry of his article, Biti did not even purport to answer his non-question. How could anyone ever purport to pose a question of that nature about Zimbabwe in the first place? It's a tautological irrelevance! Beyond what it is â€" a mournful soliloquy â€" no one needs an article like that.

In the article Biti presents a raft of examples, supposedly false, to show how everything is wrong about Zimbabwe. The problem is that the examples he gives, and many others he doesn't, are all true, rather than false, and indicative of the true nature of Zimbabwe. In a rather ironic, if predictable way, therefore, given Biti's MDC-T pedigree, the article is a parody of itself, simultaneously mocking the truth and celebrating falsehood. As Zanu-PF, MDC-T are fidgety visitors to truth, and right.

Zimbabwe is a lie, and, unsurprisingly, from it such articles can come. Biti doesn't intend to lie, but does. After Gukurahundi, Biti can't pretend not to know the truth. He was on the wrong side of it, or ambivalent to it, when the Ndebele people, unarmed, stood up for it and defended it against Gukurahundi. Selective memory, and re-ordered truths, are the story of Zimbabwe. Biti's article betrays that. And in Zimbabwe, you fit in in opposites, and quite comfortably too â€" a Gukurahundist now and a democrat later, and back again in reverse order.

We only need to peep through MDC-T's door to see this lie. It is the biggest falsehood of the 'democratization' and 'change' agenda, of which Biti is its chief executive, that lies and chest-beating are the sole domain of Zanu-PF. MDC-T, in particular, has miniaturized everybody and everything and relegated everybody and everything to unknowing minnows in the face of this all-knowing  combine harvester called MDC-T harvesting 'democracy'. And as MDC-T grew inversely in relation to its electoral chances over the years, it bloated in tribal constipation to this Zanu-PF clone it is today.

And how could MDC-T condemn Mugabe for clinging to power, when its scandal-riddled leader, and a perennial loser at the polls, won't do the decent thing? But there again, it's not just Mugabe and Tsvangirai afflicted with Zimbabwelitis. A few years ago there was a fossil figure at EMCOZ, who if memory is correct, expired in post. Then there is Peter Chingoka, Lovemore Madhuku - now Job Sikala - and various permutations of them. This expanding list of Zimbabwe's self-made dynasties and carved fiefdoms belong to and speak to the bigger lie Zimbabwe is.

Gukurahundi was about mutilating truth, shaming decency, and elevating lies to the status of celebrated truth. We saw MDC-T true character at the 2005 split, in the abuse they heaped on Welshman Ncube, Gibson Sibanda and others, and in 2008, in their treatment of the Ndebele, when they erroneously thought they were now the party of government and distributor of patronage and cronyism. MDC-T have never opposed Gukurahundi on principle, but like Zanu-PF, have always embraced its political instrumentality. Indeed, at the height of their hubris, MDC-T even colluded with Zanu-PF to 'bury' Gukurahundi behind the facia of the so-called Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Act.   

So, if Biti needed to pose a question during his tantrum, it should be: What is Zimbabwe? Not his non-question!

Biti would have answered that question by saying that Zimbabwe is a lie.

He would then have acknowledged that it was his party's lie to itself and to the people of today's Zimbabwe, against all advice freely given and against objective truth, that made them sleep-walk itself into a phony referendum and a rehearsed election. And that it was his party's lie to itself and the people of present-day that made them go to bed with Zanu-PF in 2008, again, against all free advice and against objective truth. Having sanitized Zanu-PF for four years and recovered it from sure death, it was their lie to themselves and to the people of present-day Zimbabwe that they pretended not to know the outcome of the elections. After Biti and Morgan Tsvangirai, and many others, including, surprisingly, David Coltart and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, loaded Mugabe variously with fulsome praises, Biti can't turn around and not know what is wrong about today's Zimbabwe.

As a lawyer, and writing truthfully, Biti would know that the only true guarantor for truth is a constitutional order, not a constitutional document such as he and his party colluded to deliver, and that a constitutional order is premised on free public consent, and not privatized 'deals' of public power.

As a lawyer, and writing truthfully, Biti would know that it is Zimbabwe's false constitutional foundation that has always made Zimbabwe this enemy of the truth and decency, and this sand castle built by a holidaying family at a beach.

Biti would both historicize Zimbabwe and place it correctly in contemporary and constitutional and political thought. He would acknowledge Zimbabwe's faulted origins, and its accompanying treachery, and see the death of truth at that source. He would see Zanu-PF's treachery, in its formation and in its behaviour at the conclusion of the Lancaster House Agreement. He would understand Gukurahundi more fully.

Biti would see Zanu-PF as the party, not of liberation, but of stasis and reaction. He would see the instrumentality of Zanu-PF up to and until 1998. And he would understand why with the coming into being of a Conservative government, formally called a Coalition government in the UK, his party's political fortunes have waned and that of Mugabe and Zanu-PF have grown. He would understand Mugabe's invitation today for Zapu to 'rejoin' Zanu-PF.

But Biti would in the same vein understand the instrumentality of his own party, MDC-T, at the precise point of 1999, and why for over 14 years now, hi party's word has been sacrosanct and superior to everyone else despite his party's limited resources? The MDC-T gospel, in fact? He would understand why his own party's behaviour towards Welshman Ncube and others who stood by and defended the original 'ideals' of MDC, has no substantive difference to the behaviour of Mugabe and Zanu-PF to Joshua Nkomo and Zapu in the1980s.

And in seeking to align himself with truth this time, Biti would ask why it is that the drums of Ndebele independence have grown louder and stronger with every assertion of Zimbabwe as a 'unitary' State?

Why in fact calling the Ndebele Zimbabweans is like a hot meat pie chewed straight from the oven?

All these points and questions would make Biti understand why it is that a truth killed by Gukurahundi in Matebeleland and the Midlands in the 1980s can no longer be found elsewhere even in Mashonaland in 2014? Why, if one accepts Biti's sobbing for an exiled truth, he can't even find truth even in the private sphere? In fact, why he and his party have not only not listened to truth but despised it until 31 July 2013?

Lies in the public sphere, once started, can't be segmentalized to enemies only, it takes its own life and consumes everybody like a wild fire. Biti must mourn his part and his party's part in advancing the cause of lies and over-self-importance, and killing truth.

Perhaps until Mr Biti begins asking the truthful questions and begins hungering for the truth, he should confine his mournful reminisces about the recent elections to the private domain.

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