Zimbabwe has reached the end of history. It is a brave new world!
Events of the last few days following November 15, when the Zimbabwe Defence Forces stepped in to arrest a deteriorating political situation in the ruling Zanu-PF party and Government, have put Zimbabwe on a unique, historical pedestal. The world’s attention is focused on Zimbabwe and everybody is trying to make sense of what has happened in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.
People want to name things and own them. Zimbabwe’s unique historical moment is denying them that luxury. It is scant doubt that the world is grappling with putting a name to what is happening in the country — whether there has been a coup or not — and the implications thereof. To describe what has happened as a coup is very convenient: after all. Zimbabwe is just another African country!
For those of us favoured with the history of Zimbabwe and its journey, though, the case is simple: we are witnessing yet another self-correction of a revolutionary organisation that has always had two contending wings, namely the political and military leadership. The relationship has not always been rosy — for much of the past 40 years — but such contradictions, amid the contestation between politics and gun, have helped shape Zanu-PF.
It is a curiosity and a bit of inconvenience that the party is in Government, raising some uncomfortable questions for those not familiar with our idiosyncrasies. But the world may relax. The military honchos that precipitated this situation have assured us that this is not an illegal usurpation of power from President Mugabe, who remains the Head of State and Government, and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
To their credit, they have not gone to suspend the Constitution or Parliament or other democratic institutions and functions. Normal civilian life is going on in the country — perhaps more peaceful than ever. Yesterday, President Mugabe appeared in public and performed a routine ceremony of capping graduands at the Zimbabwe Open University.
The world is baffled.
The good thing is that Zimbabwe is holding its own in a delicate situation that will be subject of academic inquiry for many years to come.
It’s a calm in the midst of a storm.
It is a great time to be alive. It is a happy moment to be alive. It is such a sad time to be alive. Indeed, there has been a seismic political movement! Where did it go wrong? Let’s walk the journey together. It begins with Zanu-PF.
Over the past few years the ruling party has been degenerating following the capture of the revolutionary party by political upstarts like Professor Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere, Patrick Zhuwao, who had found the agency of the First Lady Grace Mugabe to push through a counter-revolutionary agenda that would benefit them politically and materially.
These “Young Turks” formed a clique that was known as G40, which sought to wrestle the ownership of the party from its roots and source by sidelining and otherwise purging of war veterans and anyone with a sense of history. The celebrated mastermind of the G40 cabal, Prof Moyo, is infamous for remarking that the only way to destroy Zanu-PF was from within.
We saw that unravelling and Zanu-PF was increasingly being weaned from the people and alien practices set in as well-worn methods and tradition were cast aside. Rallies and meetings were conducted for the public lynching of officials. Party minnows such as Sarah Mahoka and Mandi Chimene were applauded for humiliating senior party cadres.
Disciplinary processes were corrupted and used to settle political scores. Precious resources were wasted in political exhibitionism and gamesmanship. Suddenly, there appeared new slogans that were foisted on the party and we were all made to worship a false goddess.
Those who refused were condemned and banished. A new order had taken root. The Zanu-PF of the revolution and independence was unrecognisable in this dirty, corrupt shell. Who would ever have thought?
And who could stop the great counter-revolutionary march?
It is at this point that we recall Saviour Kasukuwere gloating that us at the Herald “have failed to completely understand the seismic political movement underway”.
He went on to threaten that, The Herald “will require a new pair of hands soon.”
The ‘crime’ that The Herald had committed was being unenthusiastic about the immoral, valueless, greedy and ideologically empty takeover of the ruling party.
We all want to be playing on the winning side, what with the temptation of money and freebies such as land being dangled.
Some of us, though, refused to be part of the project, which incensed the G40 cabal who used every trick in the book to find “a new pair of hands” to run the paper.
Not that there was ever a shortage of such dirty hands: we know for certain excitable characters, with sordid history of treachery at it, who were willing to do the bidding of the G40 cabal and were rubbing their hands in glee as Zanu-PF sunk.
Indeed, by November 7 when Emmerson Mnangagwa was unceremoniously sacked as the country’s Vice President, these characters were quick to celebrate with some reminding us about Kasukuwere’s pseudo-prophecy.
Luckily for all of us, the prophecy has actually been turned on its head.
The likes of Kasukuwere and Prof Moyo are now at the receiving end, and as we speak may or may not be in some detention, as their time to answer to crimes of commission and omission against the State and the party awaits them.
It is common cause that these people — and a lot out there associated with them — have been linked to various crimes that have contributed to the breakdown of law and morality in the country.
These criminals had been dubiously absolved at political rallies while legitimate state apparatus and offices were disabled for that.
In the next few days, the rule of law will return, for everyone’s good.
The winner is the revolution.
We have no doubt that the biggest winner in this fiasco are the people of Zimbabwe through the majority party, Zanu-PF.
It would have been sad if the country were to rub onto the madness that was taking place in Zanu-PF amid concerns that the G40 cabal was hell-bent on foisting certain executive changes.
We saw the band playing madly forward.
The likes of Chipanga were beating drums of war and madness. Kasukuwere and Moyo were playing conductor of this madness.
And oh, there was also the Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, who suspended better judgment as a top revolutionary to participate in the dance.
They should have known better, but the spirit; the carnival, was just too irresistible.
The band played on.
Our elders bequeathed us with wisdom about the sound of beating drums.
The madder and more exciting it gets, the more the chances of the drum gashing open.
Much the same result you get when you try to play the same taut drum with an axe.
But in the heat of the season, no one really cared.
In fact, all the spirits of the earth gathered in a mad ensemble and demons manifested.
These are demons that bishops and seers that gathered at some not so happy venue recently should have exorcised, for the better of the nation.
Daring to dream
The nation is holding its breath. The world stands on its toes looking at Zimbabwe.
The seismic political shifts are bound to change this place called Zimbabwe, and many people hope for the better.
The country has undergone an immensely difficult two decades — and this is not to be blamed on President Mugabe alone.
He takes credit, as he should, for leading a determined people who were punished severely for being different and being beneficiaries of systems and policies that were put in place by their visionary leader.
External pressures in the form of isolation and sanctions have been a major contributory factor in the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe and this was down to a personal hate for the leader who remains Zimbabwe’s most revered figure.
We stand at a critical juncture.
It will be useful for those that had differences with the person of President Mugabe to realise that history is not on their side.
Zimbabweans are daring to dream, again, and would appreciate it if they are allowed to live the dream.