Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

Imagine a rat dreaming making love to a cat!

03 Sep 2016 at 09:38hrs | Views
This week I enjoyed two statements sure to enrich the national stock of political sayings. The first one came from Kudzai Chipanga, the de facto leader of the Youth Wing of the ruling party, Zanu-PF. Addressing his peers in the Youth Wing, he dismissed vain hopes of the opposition to make it to State House without bothering about the inconveniences of that small box in which little slips deciding the fate of nations are nonchalantly dropped.

To imagine so, thundered Chipanga, was analogous to a rat dreaming making love to a cat! Oh boy! Oh boy, who can say it any better? The impossibility of the equation does not only subsist in the age-old enmity between the two love-crazed mammals; it is compounded by the vast size differences facilities of biology between the two would-be love mates, all other things having been dreamt equal!

I am sure even economists would hesitate to invoke the "ceteris paribus" notion for such an enormous amorous proposition, however doting the fired rat may be. But hey, careful Chipanga, the rat is my mother's totem!

Nhunzi patsvina
The second saying came from none other than Matemadanda whose mouth nowadays is too busy functioning even for flies to land. Talking to The Daily News about his much hyped meeting with opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, he turned to the beautifully scatological to clinch his meaning: "tiri nhunzi dzasangana patsvina." Phew! Oh Mai, Oh Mai! What do I have to say? Maybe I need to translate this for the benefit of my non-Shona speakers.

Roughly put, Matemadanda says: "we are the proverbial flies meeting on a mound of faeces." By way of background, this is a Shona way of vividly expressing what the British call a marriage of convenience, a chance yoking together of the dissimilar. And just check how the inimitable Daily News translated it for its readers: "we are united by the same purpose." Kikikiki.

Of course if you are a student of the media, you will automatically know what is happening: taking advantage of translation to salvage a cause from runaway meaning! This is a key role of journalism in politics. But what do you expect from an editor who pegs Lancaster House Conference in 1978 and the GPA in 2009!

Where he must count forward, he counts backwards; where he must remember backwards he recalls forwards! Kikikiki, magraduates enyu aya! But gentle reader, I hesitate to assault your already stretched sense of smell.

Suffice it to stress the aptness of the imagery used. For healthy bodily constitutions, we humans expel waste matter for our own good, in the process delivering enough nourishment to flies of all types, colour, sizes and direction.

In no time, they buzz in great gratitude around our exhalations from the other end. Such is the wish-imagery of our pot-pourri opposition, what with the so-called 18 political "parties" zii-ziing atop a mound of fresh poop called NERA!

Another dead Robert Mugabe
Then we have another case of boomeranging inadvertence, once more coming from the same corner. The one key principle President Mugabe holds unshakeable relates to commitment to fixtures of organisations to which Zimbabwe is a State Party.

He will not miss such fixtures come what may, more so for organisations that espouse or represent his long-held world-view. It turns out this week's Sadc fixture clashed with a prior official trip to United Arab Emirates (UAE), or what the oppositional local media reduce to Dubai, all in the hope of contriving unsavoury connotations.

The President flew to Swaziland for the crucial first day of the Sadc Summit and then came back, to leave the country the same day for UAE. Expectedly, the oppositional media indulged in habitual self-excitation which is no longer news to anyone anymore: Mugabe had been taken gravely ill and had been evacuated to Singapore!

Pseudo-scientific flight data was thrown in to anchor a make-believe story they are so wont to playing repeatedly. In the case of ZimEye, the President had in fact "died" mid-air! What a "bull" eye! But all this play of newsroom toddlers is not my focus.

Drawing from the bembera tradition
Real hilarity came from comments attributed to the loquacious Obert Gutu and Jacob Mafume of MDC-T and PDP, respectively. Prefacing their remarks by a phoney show of pity - needless in this case - they decried an "ailing" President who clings on to power, instead of "going to rest and allow the nation to move forward in capable hands", to quote from the indefatigably thoughtless Gutu, Madyira vanoda kutova dzavamwe dzavo dzichimera

In Shona we have what we call "kurova bembera". It is a well-known literary device from our oral past by which the skills of dawn incantation laced with anger and sarcasm are harnessed to shame and lash out at a village witch after the death of yet another child. Or simply to expose an evil deed, but without pointing a finger at a culprit who is already known.

Something like: "Harinyari, miromo yakapapa kunge matindindi ari papfihwa/ Basa kudya vana vangu/ Munhu wepi asingatengi kana kuyanika machira?/ Zvino ndinoda kuzviona rwendo runo/ Ndinokurovera chipikiri panhongonya chaipo/ Zvaunoti kutsvuka sekusure kwehovo."

Where complexion indicts
The bembera is done very early in the morning - when elephants go bathing - both to catch the ears of the community before they are distracted or filled by chores of the day, and of course to take advantage of the general quiet so the voice of the complainant goes very far for a bigger audience.

Usually the complainant pours out his anger atop an anthill. Again for the benefit of non-Shona readers, the afore-quoted lines from the bembera go like this: "Conscienceless monster with big, ugly lips spread out like the bulbous mushroom drooping from cooking stones/ Notorious for eating my children/ You who never buys or wash blankets/ Try it, this time I am ready for you/ I will drive a nail down your fontanelle/ You whose evil skin is redder than the orifice of a civet cat."

Among the Shonas, lightness of skin was indicting: it suggested witchcraft. Equally, witchcraft was practised at night, which is why witches did not need to buy blankets that often. Or even wash them since their blankets were never used. And of course a witch, once caught, would be punished by driving a king nail down his head, from the fontanelle.

Hurrying us into stunning revelations

Getting back to my two political sparring partners - Gutu and Mafume - they know, or should know, as lawyers that President Mugabe is enjoying an elective tenure. He was not young when he presented himself as a candidate in 2013. Still the people of Zimbabwe voted for him overwhelmingly, itself a sore indictment on the candidature of their own principals.

And the two know - or should know if they are democrats - that elections which are coming in 2018, are the only lawful way of challenging Mugabe. Not their needless pity. Not their self-serving interpretation of age which blinds them not just to the wisdom which abounds in Mugabe, but also to the merit-less stature of their principals who cannot win the support or trust of the Zimbabwean people.

So, really the two political men are trying out a "bembera". Not on Mugabe whose placement on the throne of Government is implacably democratic and continuing. But on Biti and Tsvangirai - both ailing - who will not make way for different candidates to try their luck against Mugabe, the serial winner. I am not rationalising.

I know the back-stabbing that has been going on behind the scenes in the MDC-T ever since the ailing Tsvangirai left for South Africa, more dead than alive, for emergency medical attention. Palms were being rubbed in anticipation; lists were drawn and redrawn.

I know where Gutu stood then, stands now, particularly as proposed, all ahead of the much anticipated demise of Save. Much more, I also know why he is provoking a debate on the health status of political leaders: where they get treated and who pays bills for their treatments.

There is a line he wants out from the mouth of the establishment, something he thinks provocation will achieve. It is a revelation which he knows will finish Tsvangirai politically. Hence all this provocation, hoping an angry Zanu-PF Government will hurry to help him harry his ailing boss. Not yet, not just yet Obert.

Misreading indulgence
Still on Obert Gutu. Is he ever reflective? Or he thinks readers have short memories? Not too long ago, he pooh-poohed Biti and his Reeler/Mandaza donor-inspired, hare-brained idea of a NTA, the so-called National Transitional Authority.

Alongside Mafume and some below-naming mouth of Mujuru, he dismissed the notion of NTA as outlandish and elitist. As if foreign-made, financed and driven opposition parties can ever be anything but elitist! Then the opposition was still pinning its hopes on felling the State through lawless brigands.

And after being twice indulged, they thought the way was open for them to snatch power from the elected. My goodness, Zanu-PF munoiziva? Why don't you ask Temba Mliswa who is so near to, yet so far from you? Then the authorities decided the time for play was over. Order returned and all was quiet, leaving the opposition stunned, clueless on the way forward.

Ideas from useless convocations
Bereft of options, Gutu went back to dust up the idea of NTA, this time touting it as his own. He even picked examples in elaboration of an idea he had hardly grasped: Libya and Somalia! Is this man normal, kana kuti aguta waini itsva? Surely a good communicator listens to his own voice before projecting it into the public domain?

Or is it another case of flies on a mound of poop, this time too dry to give any succour? Well, here is penniless advice: we will go through 2017, peacefully and in an orderly manner where governors govern and opposition oppose, both within confines of the law.

Then sometime in 2018, we will dissolve parliament and go for one-horse polls through which Mugabe and his Zanu-PF will get another mandate to govern. Don't allow the Reelers and Mandazas to fatten their pockets through useless convocations meant to provide fiction for the good diversion of otherwise tired servants sitting in foreign offices of western metropoles.

And to steady your hearts, there will never be any need for a state of emergency. Zimbabwe is not about to be invaded, itself the only credible threat one could dream about as necessitating that drastic measure.

Whose pal is he?
Gabon, events there have been somewhat tense, have they not been? So far three opposition people have been shot dead and 1 200 have been thrown behind bars. Jean Ping, former chief of the African Union, has been beaten by Ali Bongo, beaten narrowly. His headquarters had been bombed to rubble.

The elections are disputed and France, the real power behind the throne, calls for calm. Sooner, they will be calm in that land, French calm, with the whole of Gabon coming under a ruler pleasing to Elysee. Zvotopera.

What the local media has not told us - or does not wish to tell us, thanks to Obert Gutu - is whose pal Ali Bongo is. Back in May 2011, some well-known Zimbabwean opposition politician visited Gabon. Ali Bongo had succeeded his father, Omar Bongo, in 2009.

Gabon was in the UN Security Council when this Zimbabwean politician visited and would, alongside South Africa and Nigeria, vote with the West to authorise the invasion of Libya, an African country. Of course Zimbabwe was under GNU, but this politician had not gone to Gabon on government business. Obert, are you there?

I see why these ailing politicians must "make way and rest" so the opposition "moves forward, in capable hands"! A leader who cannot choose his pals well, cannot do his politics well too. By the way, do Canada, USA and EU have embassies in Gabon? Let's wait to hear their thunderous voices!

Where are you Ambassador Thom
Talking about the United States of America, does Ambassador Thomas - so playfully used to tweeting images on good holidays in peaceful Zimbabwe, about Olympics and about pictures with "small" Zimbabweans giggling for his wallet - does he know what is happening back home?

Let me brief him a little. His compatriot - and like him black - one Colin Kaepernick (how do these sons from and of Africa wind up with such names?) a few days ago refused to stand for the anthem of America - in his own words "a country that oppresses black people and people of colour".

Colin boldly, nay, bravely said: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of colour . . . To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.

"There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

He added: "This (his protest) is not something that I am going to run by anybody . . . I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed . . . If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right." Huuu?

Where commoners lead, and leaders plead
I hope Ambassador Thomas can hum by heart "his" country's anthem, the way I hum "Simudzai mureza wedu weZimbabwe". If he can and does, it is a big shame for him as an African-African American, a real shame. How can it be otherwise given the following lines in the hardly sung, but always done third stanza of that anthem: "And where is that band who so vauntingly swore/ That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion/ A home and a country should leave us no more?/ Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution!/ NO REFUGE COULD SAVE THE HIRELING AND SLAVE/FROM THE TERROR OF FLIGHT OR THE GLOOM OF THE GRAVE:/ And the star-spangled banner in triumph both wave/ O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave." (own emphasis). And the ambassador knows this is not the first time this form of protest has happened. Nor is it the last.

He, too, knows and can count the bodies of black people who trigger such protests, all killed by white America's police. And just see where leadership for an orphaned black race in the heart of the beast comes from: mere sportsmen. Or where such sorely needed leadership won't come from: mighty black presidents, secretaries and ambassadors! And a whole ambassador dares chafe about wisps of tear smoke here?

What these highbrow African-African Americans don't know is that it is outspoken leaders like Mugabe who get the American establishment to act against blacks with some modicum of restraint. But they dare pelt their own, all to white cheers.

A very modest proposal
I have a brilliant idea. With so many Mugabe-educated, superfluous, unemployed graduates evincing huge energies in makeshift paper football pitches in our crowded cities, why not take advantage of Command Agriculture for season 2016 /17 to give them bigger, vaster pitches by way of swathes of agricultural land set to be put under maize and soya this season?

Allow them to mount another violent demonstration during which toddlers, children, girls, women, men and ambassadors are molested and robbed of their vanishing morsels, after which you then round up the whole demonstrating lot, herd and pen them in Chikurubi for the 48-hour duration permissible under our ultra-democratic, people-driven Constitution, before bringing them all to Rotten Row (what a name for a place of Justice) for a chorus judgment akin to the oneness needed in singing the American anthem.

Of course the last stanza sung by our impeccable Justices will simply be: "All found guilty!", their toothed gavel pounding the desk in final, resolute judgment.

Hashtag Tadhamba
Whereupon our efficient police, batons in one hand, packs of Nandos chicken in another, will descend on these ebullient graduates, feeding and flaying them in equal measure. Meanwhile, big army trucks imported from India are waiting outside, ready for a quick conveyancing of the said graduates to vast fields of tender maize and soya crops for yet another demonstration in which all the weeds are robbed and devastated, leaving a happy maize and soya crop ever after!

I mean, we will have harnessed the bursting national torso so purposefully that not even American and EU sanctions will stand a chance. In the meantime, the young, tender shoots of a recovering economy will have been allowed a whole season of un-trampled growth.

Of course this proposal is far less modest than kitting our graduate unemployees with full academic garments for purposes of greater visibility in the pitch of play, where the cup goes to whoever emerges as the best importer of drinkable urine.

And of course where the best referee of the year is whoever blows loudest for the rejection of bond notes. After all this has been accomplished - methodically - shall we all kowtow, meekly singing #Tadhamba.


Source - the herald
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.