Latest News Editor's Choice


Opinion / Columnist

Mthwakazi - When you don't know who your friend is, your enemy is better!

22 Aug 2016 at 19:39hrs | Views
You replied sis'Thata (Link). Again, I thank you.

For reasons of brevity, let me delve straight into exactly the question my views are attempting to answer in respect of the Mthwakazi Zanu-PF 'coalition' I am speaking about. And this is the essential question:

Can it ever be the case that peace can be a continuation of a political struggle by other means?

I would be grateful if you (and our readers out there) could try and keep this question at the forefront of your minds as you read on.

Oops! can't go over the bar!

In high jump, when you discover you can't clear the bar when at the point you need to spring yourself up, you abort the effort. You don't go and collide with the bar. Either you go under it or you brake the run and kill off the attempted jump. By either of these two actions (inactions), you are not necessarily saying you have given up the jumping completely, you are merely saying you will have another or other, better goes.

But there are always in-built third, fourth, fifth alternatives available in this jump example, only most people don't exercise them. You could – for example – carry off the bar angrily, attack the officials, put the bar to a lower level you can clear (even if other competitors have set the new higher standard), or place a springy platform before the bar to assist your leap this time … The alternatives are potentially limitless. But are they alternatives at all?

Power as the medium of exchange in politics
Let us bring all this back to Mthwakazi.

I know I have defined politics separately in my last article, but here I want to define it in terms of what it is in essence and in terms of the rules by which politics is played.

Politics is basically trade in power. If I am right – and believe I am – then there is no rule against maximising your chances of getting political power, outside criminal activities of course? So you could say politics is by definition a game of NO rules. If there are any, they are frameworks only. But politics isn't a rule-less game in this latter realpolitik sense; it is so by its very nature.

Politics – or real politics – is not what you and me always see. Real politics are the behind-the-scenes unseen activities only 'legitimized' by the externals (voters such as you and me). As they say, politics is a game, but of frameworks rather than rules. Politics is not a moral or moralistic crusade – even as it is often couched in such language - such as we have allowed it to be as to us as uMthwakazi. Politics is about situating political power – State power – somewhere; with someone. And in a world organized as States, wanting State power is everything! At least fail, but want it (power)!

It's worth giving an example about politics from the world's most powerful democracy and the world's only superpower. Last year (or there about) Ken Mufuka wrote in the Financial Gazette about how Ronald Reagan sent William Casey with bags of money to bribe voters during the 1980 elections, which Reagan went on to 'win' against Jimmy Carter. After Reagan 'won' the elections he went on to appoint William Casey the director of the CIA. Do you really need me to say that this move totally killed any potential criminal charges against William Casey – even against Ronald Reagan – for electoral fraud?

In more recent times, people have opinions about how George W Bush won the presidency against Al Gore (who had won the majority popular vote). Was the Supreme Court decision which gave George W Bush the victory a judicial or political decision? Bear in mind the Supreme Court then was dominated by appointees of George W Bush's father, George H Bush, and that Jeb Bush - George W Bush's younger brother - was the Governor of Florida, the State where the 'controversial' votes (recall the pregnant chards and dimpled ballots?) on which the Supreme Court adjudicated emanated from. It was Florida and the US Supreme Court that gave George W Bush the US presidency against Al Gore.

Such things are only the rare cases of politics that come out, otherwise the rest of it is played this way unnoticed, unseen or hidden – to varying degrees. If Gwede Mantashe's comments after the recent Hung Councils are any measure, it is welcome that the ANC in South Africa are now finally waking up to their naivety about democracy as this egalitarian figment.
 
Until as uMthwakazi we begin to know, understand, and ACCEPT politics as such a game, not as a political church (in which we suffuse political with moral issues), we will need to wait as weeping victims in the political naughty corner for a very, very long time! To return to our jump example above, is it a crashing failure or a retaken restart for uMthwakazi now?

Deconstructing Zimbabwe's permanent rulers and Zimbabwe's permanently ruled
Through Gukurahundi, Mugabe and Zanu-PF redefined the body politic in 1980 into a majority (Shona rulers) and minority (the ruled Mthwakazi) through the 'simple' formula of tribe. By this 'simple' divide-and-rule, a state of permanent access or permanent exclusion from State power was created for Mthwakazi and the Shona, to be repeated by election after election after election.

So how do you as uMthwakazi come out this enforced inferiority or exclusion in a world which says you can ONLY change this through the ballot box?

You basically have two options. First, you can go to war (which isn't a ballot box). Secondly, you can play politics. There is nothing in between. Political moaning and complaining – such as uMthwakazi has been doing and some people want uMthwakazi to continue to do – is only a comfortable escapism getting no one anywhere, in my view.

If uMthwakazi wants to play politics – and I understand you sis' Thata as saying this – uMthwakazi must know what it is she wants.

For me – which is the reason for my views – the real political issue for Mthwakazi is to 'remove' herself as an 'enemy' of Zanu-PF, the ruling party. UMthwakazi needs to kill this divide-and-rule tactic. If Zanu-PF positioned uMthwakazi as an enemy of the Shona (State) in order to divide the vote against it among the Shona, it makes sense for uMthwakazi to want to remove herself as such a political lever in Zanu's hands facilitating that divide-and-rule. As long as uMthwakazi is anti-Zanu-PF alone as a block – as is clearly the case now, Zanu-PF is guaranteed victory on the cheap based on a divided opposition vote (Mthwakazi and some Shonas will vote either way). The thing is, the 'opposition' simply does not have the ability to carry the rural vote to propel it to office, the largest and Zanu-PF's power-base, so the battleground is in the cities, but not for power, but for MP positions. And which 'opposition' anyway in the first place?

It is not necessarily the case that Zanu-PF is now suddenly politically attractive to Mthwakazi – and it need not be the case – it is enough that what stands for 'opposition' is this deplorable lot that makes Zanu-PF a far attractive option to Mthwakazi than itself (that is, the 'opposition').

As presently constructed Zimbabwe is a labyrinth of political levers and strings, of which the dominant and most politically lethal across the board is uMthwakazi, which Zanu-PF is manipulating for its sole benefit and to the detriment of uMthwakazi. Only uMthwakazi can temper and breach this lethal lever and level things out. Given the options on the table, Zanu-PF is an attractive proposition by which to advance uMthwakazi, not to reward Zanu-PF, going forward.

Echoes of the Iran-Iraq War
Forgive me Sisi for piling up different examples of the same point, but this is important. Let me tap from a far-flung country, a distant history – from the Iran-Iraq war of 1980 – 88.

On July 20, 1988, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran when endorsing the UNSC cease-fire under Resolution 598 said: ''Taking this decision was more deadly than taking poison. I submitted myself to God's will and drank this drink for his satisfaction.'' The Ayatollah went on:  ''I had promised to fight to the last drop of my blood and to my last breath … To me, it would have been more bearable to accept death and martyrdom.''

Contrast with what the Ayatollah had said in 1982. In 1982, the Ayatollah had said: ''Even if the Security Council orders, we will not make peace. Even if the whole world gathers, we will not make peace.'' For 'peace with the criminal is a crime against Islam'.

And you have to remember that this decision was taken at a time when Iran was clearly winning the war against Iraq, a war in which Iraq had attacked Iran without provocation in 1982. But does all this not have a closely familiar ring, Mthwakazi?

By making peace with Iraq the Ayatollah hadn't surrendered, given up or given in? You could ask, did the Ayatollah then fight the same struggle by peace rather than war, and win? Looking at Iran and Iraq today, it is not difficult to see to whom ultimate political victory belongs.

Could it be history long put uMthwakazi in a position where she – like the Ayatollah did for Iran - has to swallow a bitter poison for a grander political victory for Mthwakazi years down the political line?

I do not know the future and nobody does, but what we know now is that uMthwakazi is stuck at the moment twirling in circles and going nowhere politically while hogging lethal political power she could unleash for collective political gain. UMthwakazi must tip the outcome of this endgame by deploying its decision deliberately. This is not being a 'casting' vote, and it is far better than uMthwakazi waiting to be 'invited' in later to guarantee someone's rule after this endgame.

I guess my simple point is that in this endgame Zanu-PF needs uMthwakazi as much as uMthwakazi needs Zanu-PF, far more that each needs these political turncoats and this loud and directionless mob currently shouting in shrill voices in the streets of Harare.

A political misreading of uMthwakazi vote
You have said uMthwakazi is a 'deciding vote' Sisi, and gone on explain her as a 'swing' voter. I do not know how much you paid attention to those terms, especially whether you make a distinction between 'deciding' and 'decision', and I would therefore not wish to pin you down on that point. However, for me, 'deciding' suggests swing voters as you rightly point out (in your own argument). I want to suggest that uMthwakazi is and has always been a 'decision' voter, as opposed to a 'deciding' or 'casting' voter. I define 'decision' here as simply a strategic voter.

I remember a Shona writer a couple of years back writing on NewZimbabwe or Bulawayo24 (that's how he described himself if my memory is right) described uMthwakazi as the most strategic voter ever in Zimbabwe. He was right.

The MDC totally misread uMthwakazi, leading them to make outrageous claims such as Matebeleland being their 'stronghold'. But look at the 2013 elections – even if you factor in the Nikuv factor! Are we to reject Mthwakazi – simply because we don't want to hear it – that uMthwakazi saw the behaviour of the MDC under the so-called GNU – sokudliwa – and rejected and punished them (MDC) in 2013 – strategically as strategic voters? I think rejection by uMthwakazi is closer to the truth than the Nikuv factor.

I therefore would like to agree with you Sisi that uMthwakazi are not fools and it is precisely because they are not that I have put out this view out there about uMthwakazi going into 'coalition' with Zanu-PF. But over and beyond this – and for the same reasons – I do not believe uMthwakazi will ever prostitute ubuThwakazi bakhe blindly for anything. We now all know, the MDC has also failed where Zanu-PF has failed (in fooling uMthwakazi). If uMthwakazi agreed with me and saw the merits of such a 'coalition' with Zanu it will only be because uMthwakazi as uMthwakazi sees the merits of my view, not anything else. Equally, if uMthwakazi rejected my view, it will be for the same reasons. But at the very least, let us have this 'outrageous' view out there and being debated. And I hope it is!   

When symptoms are made the cause
Lack of development, the never-ending debacle about MZWP, ZimAsset et cetera, are symptoms of a political problem but not the problem itself.

When all things have been said, when all the dust has been thrown up, when all scholarly expositions have been made about the problems in Zimbabwe, when economic matrices have made, and all lies and blasphemies have been made by prophets and soothsayer - at the core of Zimbabwe's political problems – is a plain and simple problem. And that single problem is Gukurahundi and uMthwakazi. Without these two things, Zimbabwe would not be what it is now and Mugabe would not be a 93-year old clinging to power today, and 'happy' alternatives to his rule would have long been found.

While these two issues remain – and they do – Mugabe and Zanu-PF won't relinquish political power, whether by hook or crook, until all those fingered in it – in turn – have protected themselves by the institution of the State (in practice, dying in office).

So how do you go around this problem? You either remove the cause (expel uMthwakazi or something) or cause the protagonists to be removed (remove Mugabe and Zanu-PF).

In my view, removing the cause – uMthwakazi – as such a cause – is key to changing the entire game politic in what is Zimbabwe today – perhaps forever! And by 'removing' uMthwakazi, I don't mean uMthwakazi ceasing to be uMthwakazi or being 'expelled' – it's impossible – or uMthwakazi prostituting herself to Zanu-PF (another impossibility that Nkomo and Zapu dismally failed in), but I mean uMthwakazi making that strategic political re-positioning of herself in this endgame of which I last spoke in previous articles. And I mean uMthwakazi doing so herself – not anyone - as she determines right!

There are two ways by which uMthwakazi can do this. UMthwakazi can either do so by positioning herself even further away from political power than where she is now (partnering with the 'opposition') or by repositioning herself closer to political power (by partnering with Zanu-PF). In my previous articles I said why I think a 'coalescence' with Zanu-PF rather than the so-called 'opposition' is the better option for Mthwakazi to do now – in this endgame – and I won't rehash that discussion! This brings me to another pertinent point.

Who are Mthwakazi's new political 'allies' now?
You talk phishingly Sisi about this 'new' era of political bliss and plenty that is apparently dawing without identifying with whom uMthwakazi is partnering to bring about this new era, or indeed if such an era is there or really only a strong and passionate wish (no offence intended).

If you ask me, in MDC-T I see Zanu-PF wearing a false, fake, and oversize cloak of democracy (you saw their behaviour under the GNU). In ZPF I see Zanu-PF telling you in broad daylight that they are she-goats, literally (the mischief-making imagery is apt too)!

In so-called war vets, I see an ignoble mob recently kicked out of the feeding trough, lashing out and screaming while clinging onto the rim of the trough.

In #Tajamuka, #ThisFlag, #BeatthePot and similar outfits I see Zanu-PF militias, Green Bombers, etc feigning sophistication today while they remain the same Zanu-PF militias of the past (though now in the hands of different warring factions). It is not who they are, it is the principle (lack of it) that drives them to jamuka.

In short, about all these, I see poor copycats of Zanu-PF stripped of any pretence at respectability. I guess you can conclude what I am saying. I am saying with Zanu-PF you at least have the 'authentic' Zanu-PF and the pretence of respectability than these utilitarian political forceps in the hands of shadowy operators – perennial political enemies of Mthwakazi. At least with Zanu-PF – at the very minimum - uMthwakazi knows her political enemy.

So Sisi, who are all these people? In endtimes as these – a re-enactment of 1979-80 – is uMthwakazi not better off with her enemy as friend than mentally constructed friends? Is this not the same euphoria in which uMthwakazi lost her way in 1979-80, now playing out as 2018?

And tomorrow when you wake up to find history has repeated itself and you have been done another Zanu at five to political midnight by another unknown quantity, what do you do? Start from Ground Zero – again?

Of names, complements, G-40 …
I would hope that at the very least G-40 – whatever that is – would be happy about my being freely donated to them. I am not G-40 Sisi.

If this is so important to you, my name is Vuli Moyo and my ghost name is Xoxani Ngxoxo. The idea about a ghost name - at least here -  is that you address my idea rather than me. I also see that someone called 'Afrikan' has made comments about my ghost name in your article. I don't think my use of a ghost name is as grim as 'Afrikan' would have people out there believe. But I would still hope 'Afrikan' will himself see the comic side of him attacking my ghost name while he himself comments using his pseudonym, 'Afrikan'.

On a more serious note, for me, I hope there is now a debate out there and that some Mthwakazians are beginning to re-think this whole thing objectively without necessarily ascribing ulterior motives to me or indulging in name-calling.

I thank you and 'Afrikan', Sisi, for your compliments. I would still hope that at the end of the day you also still see the strength of my view for itself rather than for the manner or medium by which it has been delivered.

Finally, I agree also Sisi that my view is not a popular one and that there will be Mthwakazians who will find my view 'nauseating' as you put it. However, it is not usually mainstream ideas that leapfrog man to progress, bring in revolutions, or convert crazy ideas into new normals, but rather it is fringe and 'nauseating' ideas such as mine at this time that do. And we also need to be wary, Mthwakazi, of where pride is no longer a virtue but the gestation of a seed that will lead to a big political fall. That, I would suggest, we must avoid!


Source - Xoxani Ngxoxo
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.